A Publication of WTVP

Cities are embracing the latest in technology to stay in touch with their citizens.

Technology is literally in our hands every day. It makes staying in touch and finding out information as easy as tapping the screens of our mobile devices. Around the country, city governments are adopting new technologies in order to create better relationships with their citizens, and the City of Peoria is one of them. The City teamed up with CSE Software on a technology project that puts a powerful communication tool into citizens’ hands. Its goal: to collect citizen feedback, distribute information and create a two-way conversation.

Peoria Cares
When the City of Peoria revamped its website two years ago, they called on CSE. At that time, the goal was to streamline navigation and content while offering a better user experience. Hundreds of webpages were condensed and redesigned into a fresh-looking site with dedicated areas for residents, businesses and visitors, as well as news, meetings and events. The City then wanted to develop the next step in citizen outreach—a mobile app that would put citizens in a position to make requests and give firsthand reports of issues they encounter around the city.

The Peoria Cares mobile app allows citizens to request city services and report community issues using their mobile device. Through this app, citizens can very easily create a report, take a picture, identify the location and get results, while those without a mobile phone can report issues by accessing the City of Peoria website. In addition, the City wanted a reporting tool so it would be accountable to its constituents and taxpayers for results. The Peoria Cares uReport web application is the management tool used by City employees to house all of these issues, assign projects, and manage and resolve cases. For example, if graffiti is reported, the proper person is automatically assigned the details of the case. That person must resolve the issue and report on its resolution. Citizens can then access the report to find out how the issue was resolved.

Support Services
Another way in which technology is impacting city governments is through support services. For example, the City of Naperville just chose CSE to provide its help-desk support. CSE’s team of live analysts will manage multiple software programs and implement processes to track and report calls to the City of Naperville. With around 1,000 users, CSE will connect with them to answer software-related questions on Microsoft products, which is fairly unique in today’s environment of sending call centers overseas or using automated menus and prompts. When calls come in, they are answered within three rings, while emails are answered immediately. All issues are tracked and recorded so they can be reported back to the City at designated times. CSE even has the ability to remote into the user’s desktop to quickly resolve issues. This support allows City of Naperville employees to stay focused on helping their citizens. It keeps costs down and citizen satisfaction ratings up.

State and local governments around the U.S. are implementing tech strategies like mobile apps to stay in direct contact with their community members. Not only are they delivering timely information, these governments are getting feedback that help them deliver services and life-saving information, and create a better quality of life. iBi

Annette Gentry Bailey is the marketing strategist for CSE Software and Simformotion.