Tag Archives: mobile app

Getting kids involved in local government – Philly311 Youth Engagement Program Kick-off

I am happy to report that we have officially hosted two very successful sessions of our Youth Engagement Program (Y.E.P). On Thursday, July 16, 2015, we launched our first session. The session was dedicated to what Philly311 is and how young people can use it as tool to better their communities. Daniel Ramos, our Community Engagement Coordinator, focused on teaching the students about Philly311’s mobile app. After Daniel’s lesson students were able to take our mobile app into the field and report issues.

Prior to the session we passed around a survey asking students if they were familiar with Philly311, and what they knew about City government. It was important for us to gauge their understanding. What we could learn about what they know is just as important as the information we are teaching. Asking for their input, and what they wanted to learn, will be an asset when we consider future youth programming.

As you can imagine, the responses to our survey questions were all over the board, but for the most part mentioned education, trash collection, and snow removal. Some of the students had no idea what local government did, and wrote on our survey that they would like to know what city government is. The most common response, when we asked what the children would like to learn from this program, was how they can make a difference in their community.

That’s a powerful question: How can I make a difference in my community? The mobile app is one of the many ways anyone can directly influence their surroundings. Using the mobile app, they were able to their report pertinent information about their neighborhood. After our first session, the students submitted a total of 25 service requests. The issue reported the most was graffiti, followed by illegal dumping. It goes to show how educating youth about municipal services can inspire younger citizens.

Last Thursday, at the second Y.E.P session, the Police Explorers Cadet Program presented their program to the Y.E.P students. Twelve Cadets and three officers came to Harding Middle School and talked about how the Explores program works to get young people ready for the academy. Through hard work, including 300 hours of community service and 700 hours of training, the Police Explorers program helps prepare young people who want to go into any kind of law enforcement or paramilitary career. The Police Officers talked to the Y.E.P students about how an officers job is more than just catching a bad guy, and includes helping people, educating them about the law, and preventing crime from happening.

The Cadets each spoke about why they joined this program and what they have received from it. During one particularly moving moment, all of the Y.E.P children stood up and talked with the cadets. It was great to see them all interacting. There is a great need across the country to build stronger, trusting relationships between the community and the police. This presentation was incredibly valuable for the youth. We hope that series and our partners continue to bring value to our students.

Want to know more about who we are partnering with? Follow us on Facebook for photos and updates from the program each week. Please visit, like, and share the Philly311 Youth Engagement page with your networks. We want to get the word out about the great work we are doing with the Education Works Summer Program.

I hope that you will stay tuned and keep up with this program as it progresses. This program will continue to grow and we are observing where we have room to improve in the future. But, so far, I am very pleased with its progress.

Rosetta Carrington Lue is the City of Philadelphia first Chief Customer Service Officer. She is a dynamic leader in the fields of Customer Experience, Contact Center Operations, Social Media, and Community Engagement management in both public and private sectors.

6 Trends Shaping Government/Citizen Relationships by Timothy McCormick

I found Salesforce Timothy McCormick’s blog post on the citizen engagement initiatives within the City of Philadelphia, including the launch of the new 311 non emergency Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, was on point as it pertains to the growth of excellence citizen engagement and experience in the public sector.

Below is an excerpt from the blog and link to the entire blog post for your review.

Citizen engagement is less than desirable–with long lines, lots of paperwork, and the confusion of a bureaucracy make it hard for citizens to access the right information. How often are citizens reporting issues vs. commenting (or complaining) on a soap box over social? How many elected positions ran with uncontested candidates in your last election?

Timely responses. How many times have you thought, “What more can we do to make this move faster? Why does progress on XYZ project seem to move so slow compared to everything else in life? How can we possibly do more with stricter budget and fewer resources all around?” Not only does this make it hard to motivate teams, but also it causes citizens to lose faith as they see responses lag and vague delivery commitments, impacting the government’s respectability from the perspective of their customers.

Transparency is difficult to deliver. Without transparency into the decision making process, progress against a request, or delivery impactors, citizens are left to make assumptions, that when paired with a lack of trust, tend to have a negative impact on relations with their governing bodies. Do you feel like this has impacted citizen relationships with your organization(s), such as relations with local politicians, or the police department?

So why all of the sudden are these pain points more prevalent? Why is citizen engagement stagnant, or in some cases dropping? Why does the gap between timely delivery and citizen expectation seem to be growing, no matter what? Why is providing transparency so much more difficult today?

The answer is easy: impact of technology trends and transformation. Here are some trends to consider:

Mobile

Mobile gives citizens the power to connect to their government anywhere, anytime–and they have come to expect that level of engagement now that mobile is commonplace. This is good for government, as always-on citizens give organizations the ability to collect more data in context, enabling leaders to prioritize with more accuracy and be more aligned with what citizens care about all around.

Social

Anywhere, anytime citizens tend to be anytime, anywhere customers. This means they have come to expect social interfaces as the user interface as much as they expect mobile accessibility, giving them an always-on receptacle for comments, inquiries, and request status. Social Platforms help governments meet these demands in a scalable, cost conscious way by supplying a transparent and collaborative platform for engagement that is friendly to Q&A at the pace of conversation.

Apps

With technology expanding an organization’s potential reach, apps are becoming more and more popular as an internal asset. They are easily adapted to the next big mobile or tech trend (think apps for the Apple watch), helping organizations modernize/rationalize dated infrastructure at the pace of their citizens.

Connected Products

More and more devices are coming online, revealing data that could never before be captured. While many organizations we talk to see this as a daunting, overwhelming force to be reckoned with, it’s not! By connecting ordinary objects, such as busses, trains, or stoplights to the internet, (made easier to service with apps on a common platform!) citizens will start to expose behavioral patterns that…

Data

Unlock all kinds of data never before detectable. With increased data availability, variety, and context around everyday activities and citizen behavior patterns, officials can better inform government strategy and resource planning. If you are interested in learning more about how to apply and benefit from a data strategy, join us for Philly Innovates. Mayor Michael Nutter and his team are hosting the first-ever Innovation Summit live in the city, and will share how they addressed these tech trends to realize bottom-line benefits.

1:1 Journeys

Customer experience–and therefore citizen experience–is the new differentiator, as new technologies enable customized, personal, more meaningful experiences with a given organization. Just look at how taxi services have morphed so quickly with companies like Lyft and Uber breaking down barriers between private and public sectors, changing the competitive landscape like government has never before seen. There is no reason why agencies can’t take this same approach to citizen services.

Click here to read the entire blog post: http://blogs.salesforce.com/company/2015/01/6-trends-shaping-governmentcitizen-relationships-.html

10 Things Revolutionizing Customer Experience in City Government

As the year 2014 closed, I can’t help but to reflect on all that the City of Philadelphia has accomplished in the past year. With the implementation of a new Salesforce customer relationship management system (CRM), new partnerships, and program expansion, it has been a long year. It has also been a year that has brought us at the City’s 311 Contact Center closer to fully realizing our big goals. We are on the cusp of a movement. We are aggressively steering away from what traditional government has been, revamping our customer service strategy, and leading the nation with an innovative approach. By incorporating private sector methods, and platforms, to better our customer experience, we have been working to revolutionize the way government operates.

Here are a few things that are changing city government, and in a very big way.

1. The Customer. Understanding that the citizen is our customer, and using those terms as synonyms, has reoriented our general framework. Our customers are unique because they are citizens! The citizens’ customer experience expands beyond providing city services. Every improvement we make for our customer affects their quality of life.

2. Executive sponsorship from the City’s Mayor and Administration. Having people who share your desire to create a city environment of customer excellence, has been imperative to the process.

3. Citywide Senior Leadership follows suit in understanding and supporting our movement towards a progressive and transparent city government. Support from senior leadership influences and facilitates change in every step of the journey. These folks are more than okaying improvements, they are standing by them, and pushing them to the next level.

4. The City’s Customer Experience strategic goal: “Government Efficiency and Effectiveness.” A focus on efficiency and effectiveness is imperative for city government, and the Mayor’s goal is a constant reminder of what type of experience we should be crafting for our customers. Keeping this in mind, sets a mindset of progress.

5. The Innovation Lab meeting space. The Innovation Lab encourages creativity and gives us a designated space for our citizens to generate new ideas. The Lab is another extension of how the city is bringing the customer further into the conversation, and also helping them lead the conversation.

6. The Neighborhood Liaison Community Engagement Program. A community engagement program is just one example of programming that we have implemented to give our customers self sustainable tools. In the last year the program has doubled in size from 600 to 1,200 contributors. This increase demonstrates an increase in trust towards city government. Citizens are seeing results and relying on us more and more.

7. Having a Staff that Cares. Public servants should always there for the citizens, and realize that they are a direct reflection of the city they work for and love. Understanding our common objective, fosters a motivated and caring internal environment.

8. Customer Service Officers. Customer service is no longer limited to City Hall. With people like Customer Service Officers, we are out in the internal city agencies and departments and impacting people where it counts.

9. Partnering In and outside of the City. Especially with the implementation of the new customer relationship management system (CRM), private partners have played a significant role in helping us move towards our goals this year.

10. Taking Notes from business and tech communities. Paying attention to what private sector companies are doing, and translating them into our own practices, sets us a head of the curve.

The list could easily go on, and will as 2015 unfolds. I am excited about the future and so are the citizens.

Tell me what’s changing your industry and what you look forward to in the New Year.

What Can You Learn From Government Customer Service?

government

Many of us are acutely aware of the quality of customer service in the private sector, whether it’s in retail or B2B. However, one area that people often don’t think of themselves as customers is in their relationship with local government. Yet that is exactly what we are.

“Customers’ experience in government should be the same or even better than what they’re getting in the private sector,” says Rosetta Carrington Lue, chief customer service officer for the city of Philadelphia. “We shouldn’t treat them any differently because they’re dealing with a government entity.”

Lue says the relationship is actually deeper than in the private sector because these customers are more invested over a longer period of time — they own homes in the community and work and send their kids to school there. This presents a challenge, however, as it’s not easy for customers who don’t like the service they’re getting to “switch” to another provider (at least, not without moving out of town). Historically, government agencies have moved slowly in addressing customer service. “There was no urgency to get the ball moving when it came to making customer experience better,” says Lue.

Digital Age Holds Governments Accountable

The digital age is helping local governments improve. For one, new tools hold bureaucrats accountable. Like any business, the government has a brand to protect — with the goal of creating a happy community viewed as an attractive place to live. But one negative tweet could harm a city’s image.

“Back in the day when you had a complaint it would just stay within that community or department or person,” says Lue. “Now that same complaint can be spread internationally. Many public sector entities are seeing that they have to change. They have to be proactive when it comes to connecting with their customers.”

Social media has been instrumental in improving government customer service, especially for important announcements during emergencies. The key now is for local governments to have a presence on multiple channels. (The city of Philadelphia is on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and has a mobile app.) This not only helps officials reach a greater number of people, but also allows for better engagement. For example, The Philly311 Show on YouTube introduces citizens to the government employees who deliver the city’s services. Videos also highlight new tools for customer service, such as city-specific apps.

Social Media, Web Forums Coordinate Collaboration

One other area that digital communication makes an impact is in helping governments coordinate customer collaboration. Through social media and Web forums, citizens can now easily find like-minded people to work on projects, such as cleaning alleyways, planting trees in parks, and starting mentorship programs. This method of organizing generates faster and longer lasting results when compared with relying solely on government to make fixes.

“We’re working with communities so they have a vested interest in sustaining those changes,” says Lue. “We’re really targeting folks to come together and help solve a problem.

“The traditional way of governing is changing because customers are demanding that change,” she adds. “The days of one communication channel and 9 to 5 service is gone. We’re seeing that from federal to local government.”

Interview from Real Business Online Magazine dated December 1, 2014 written by Sachin Shenolikar and sponsored Xerox Corporation.

Reference: http://www.realbusiness.com/2014/12/customer-connection/what-can-you-learn-from-government-customer-service