Having just passed the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown, it is clear that local government (like most things) will never quite be the same.
Unprecedented lockdowns, economic burdens on businesses and people, and governments forced to work remotely have left constituents across the United States struggling to get in touch with state and local government officials, Unfortunately, this comes at a time that demand for government constituent communication is at all time highs.
Luckily, the government is overdue for a digital transformation, and can tap into cloud technology known as complaint management software to improve online engagement between government workers and their constituents. Learn what complaint management software is, and how it can help your community report concerns in 2021.
What is Complaint Management Software?
Complaint management software (otherwise known as online engagement software and citizen engagement software) acts as a digital means for community-members to reach out to local government officials. For constituents, a platform on their phone or local government website allows for easy participation in civic engagement by reporting complaints and non-emergency issues.
This streamlined reporting system makes government workers’ lives easier as well. Local government officials can reply to their concerned citizens much more quickly. The report-a-concern software will also collect meaningful data in real-time, meaning local governments can get exact geo-location of where complaints are being filed, and can seek out informative trends in the data.
Why Does State and Local Government Need Citizen Engagement Software?
Local government has an obligation to its constituents to be responsive to citizen concerns and requests. That said, many state and local governments receive complaints from multiple antiquated channels like phone calls to city hall, walk-ins, or mailed in forms, making it challenging to efficiently receive and process complaints, let alone analyze trends in the data.
Now, via cloud-based complaint management software paired with a citizen engagement mobile application, like GovPilot's GovAlert, constituents can become the eyes and ears of their local government by reporting non-emergency or code enforcement concerns like potholes, overgrowth, uncollected trash, broken street lights, etc. in real-time via an online engagement platform. The citizen engagement tool will automatically pass the information to the correct department so that they can address the situation quickly.
Streamlined communications between government officials and their constituents improves the health and safety of the entire community. What better way to prove to constituents that their voices are being heard by local government? Government taking quicker action via cloud-based technology improves the quality of life in the area, and encourages community members to support their municipality and government officials.
How Does Complaint Management Software Work?
Complaint management software is easy to implement in state and local governments of all shapes and sizes.
Here’s how your local government can get cloud-based government software for your community:
1. Sign Up for Government Management Software
In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, ensuring state and local governments will receive stimulus funding from the federal government. And, unlike its predecessor the CAREs Act, the ARP gives local governments direct funding to improve upon their existing infrastructure.
That means local officials can sign up for government management software with their Federal relief funds.
2. Set-Up the Online Engagement Platform on Your Website
Now that you intelligently used some of your federal funding to purchase government management software, you can integrate your citizen engagement software directly to your website.
Constituents can now go to their local .gov URL to quickly and efficiently report any non-emergency complaints. Filling out this digital form will act as a streamlined way for the relevant government officials to access reported concerns and respond quickly.
3. Set-Up Your Citizen Engagement Mobile Application
Could it get any easier than a streamlined online engagement platform to report concerns? It can! Report-a-Concern software is paired with a citizen engagement application, so that constituents can download a mobile app to report concerns and non-emergency situations in real time.
The citizen engagement tool is readily accessible from any cell phone meaning that community members can report hazards and other issues immediately. Their submissions are geo-tagged making it easy for government employees to find and resolve.
4. Inform Your Constituents
Your constituents have the opportunity to get their voices heard by important government officials and departments that can get things done better than ever before. Now, they just need to be notified.
Send out email blasts, letters, or whatever it takes to let your constituents know that they can get on the local government website or download a mobile app to report any notable issues.
5. Take Action
With the whole community on board, you’ll see an uptick in citizen engagement. Now, it’s time to take action and resolve citizen concerns.
Incoming concerns are automatically sorted and, based on the type of concern, assigned to the appropriate department and workers. Without the inefficient processing strategy of the past, the departments can quickly intake, track, and address problems in real-time.
Each concern will be timestamped, and an online record with ongoing status updates will be accessible to the relevant department and concerned citizen from the first report through resolution.
6. Collect Data
The data collected via report-a-concern software can be invaluable for departments across a local government.
Here are a few ways your data from complaint management software will be helpful:
- GIS Map Software: This data allows government workers to see exactly where an issue or code violation was reported, and allows constituents to see where the government is making progress via the mobile application.
- Cross-Department Communication: government management software is designed to be transparent across the scope of a local government, meaning that all departments will be able to analyze data to work together to combat issues.
- Citizen Engagement Trends: Which issues tend to be popping up most often? Where should funding be allocated based on constituent opinions and complaints? Using data to answer these types of questions helps local government officials make big decisions that have an impact on the community and their constituents.
Overall, the need for cloud-based community management software is clear. As more governments move remote and citizens continue to social distance, portals - both online and via mobile phone will allow community members to have direct correspondence and interaction with important government officials and departments.
Get a free consultation to learn how to make your government more responsive to citizen concerns.
Complaint Management Software FAQs
What in Online Engagement Software?
Online engagement software, otherwise known as complaint management software acts as a digital means for community-members to reach out to local government officials.
What is Citizen Participation?
Citizen participation is the way or ways in which citizens engage themselves within the community. This can include attending community meetings, reporting concerns, joining the PTA, or more.
How Can Local Citizens Report Concerns?
With GovPilot, local governments can enable citizens to report concerns directly to them via online digital forms hosted directly on the government’s website or via a convenient mobile app which will geo-tag the location of the concern and route it to the appropriate department to be resolved.
Why is Digital Public Engagement Important?
Digital Public Engagement is important because in today’s modern digital first world, constituents expect convenience and responsiveness from their government and the services it provides. For local governments, digital public engagement provides actionable data which can be used to improve the efficiency, productivity and operations of the government thereby making their geography a more desirable place to live and work.
How Can Local Governments Improve Citizen Engagement?
Local governments can improve citizen engagement by investing in the digital tools and infrastructure that make it possible. Modern government management software can provide a significant improvement in data insights, constituent services, and government operations that will sustain citizen engagement and improve quality of life for residents.