Chris Maddox Featured on GovLove Podcast

Chris Maddox (Twitter & LinkedIn), CEO of Seneca Systems (Website), maker of Romulus CRM, was featured on the GovLove podcast to talk about local government and technology.

In his GovLove episode, Chris talked about the process to create Romulus and what it’s like working with local governments. The conversation covered everything from his career in the tech sector to engaging citizens and creating a business environment to encourage the technology industry.

 

3 Metrics for Improving Constituent Satisfaction

Constituent success is a win-win partnership

Constituent success is a win-win partnership

At its core, the Romulus CRM helps public servants provide better constituent services. Satisfaction may seem like a fuzzy metric, but there are concrete steps that any government employee can take to improve every constituent interaction.

We strongly believe in data-driven democracy. This article will cover three crucial metrics behind phenomenal constituent services, as well as best practices and tips on how to improve them.

First Response Time

Constituent happiness positively correlates with increased responsiveness

Perceived responsiveness is significantly correlated with constituent happiness

How it’s measured: The time between when a request was submitted by the constituent and when the staff’s first communication occured.

Why it’s important: There is no worse feeling for a constituent than that they are shouting into the void. A quick first response reassures the citizen that their request has been heard and is being worked on.

Target: 1 hour.

You may see a lot of variation between requests, especially if you receive many after normal operating hours.

How to improve: Send a quick confirmation email confirming receipt of their issue and when they should expect to hear back next. By immediately demonstrating responsiveness, confirmation emails are an easy and comforting reassurance to constituents.

In Romulus, constituents are automatically sent confirmation emails as soon as the request is entered. This provides immediate positive feedback as well as a link for constituents to track the status of their request.

Average Time to Resolution

Public servants using Romulus have reduced the time it takes to resolve casework by over 73%.

Public servants using Romulus have reduced the time it takes to resolve casework by over 73%.

 

How it’s measured: The time between when a request was submitted and when the constituent was notified of its completion.

Why it’s important: While a quick first response is a great indication the level of service a citizen should expect, constituents care most about the end result.

Target: Varies based on request type.

How to improve: This is often the most difficult metric for local governments to improve. Oftentimes, requests and casework span multiple departments. By centralizing information in a CRM, teams drastically reduce communication overhead. Centralization also improves transparency, meaning other staff members can chime in if they have relevant context.

One feature which consistently ranks amongst Romulus users’ favorites is reminders: timed alerts to follow-up on constituent requests or to check in with a citizen. Instead of keeping every open case in memory, they feel safe knowing that Romulus will notify them when it is time to follow up.

Constituent Satisfaction

Everyone gets excited about data-driven democracy

Think of the children.

Also known as CSAT in private industry, Constituent Satisfaction tracks a constituent’s self-reported satisfaction with the service provided.

How it’s measured: Constituent satisfaction is measured by sending a survey to the constituent once a case is resolved. The survey has just one question:

How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service you received?

The constituent is asked to answer based on a scale from 1-10, rating their level of (dis)satisfaction. The average of all responses is your Constituent Satisfaction score. These should be normalized to a scale of 100, so if your scale 1-10 then multiply your average by 10.

Why it is important: Constituent Satisfaction gives you a finger on the pulse of constituent services.

Target: >90.

If you start out lower than this, don’t worry. Having a baseline is the first step to improving your constituents’ satisfaction.
How to improve: The second rule of data-driven democracy: if you don’t know, ask. Every time a constituent gives a score below a 9, send them a follow-up asking what you can do to improve. Not only does this give you insight into how your team can provide better service, the constituent know you care about improving. That alone builds trust in a community.

Next Steps

Have other suggestions for measuring and improving constituent services? Reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook. We love hearing from users and local government leaders!

If you’re looking to improve your constituent services, sign up for a Romulus demo. Our trusted team Government Technology Advisors will be happy to answer any questions you have and explore if a CRM is a good fit for your team.

 

Solutions, Not Features: Demoing Software to Local Governments

Local governments are the gateway to democracy. Public servants have very specific needs and desires when it comes to adopting new technology. Here are the three keys to demoing software to local government.

Understand their current system

Understand local government's current system

Figure out what “works” today

A major difference between working with local government versus consumers is the existing infrastructure. While a new social network or communication tool will be competing with a wealth of existing products, there is a huge divide between the status quo of government and state of the art software.

Take Romulus, our CRM for local governments. Our largest competitors are not other cloud CRMs. Existing “systems” are far more likely to be composed of Google/Excel spreadsheets, Post-it notes, and Outlook inboxes.

Many offices use these in lieu of a CRM because they are flexible and readily available. While the private sector has long since recognized the hidden costs of using 1980s spreadsheets for 21st century information management, the public sector is still in its early days.

Empathize with their needs and goals

Take a walk in their shoes

Take a walk in their shoes

Before the demo even gets started, you should have a solid understanding of what the office’s priorities are. Fundamentally, everything in local government comes back to constituents but there are nearly infinite ways of serving them.

These can be direct, in the case of responding to a specific service request from a resident, to indirect, in the case of promoting local business growth. Every one of the 10.5 million local government employees is impacting their community in a unique way, so understanding their goals will go a long way to determining why they care about your software.

In our own experience, Romulus is a great fit for elected officials in large cities. Their needs — organizing a flood of incoming constituent requests, tracking communications, building stronger relationships with the community, and streamlining operations — are the problems Romulus is best positioned to solve.

Similarly, their goals and vision align with our own. Elected officials, as direct representatives of the people, are natural advocates for constituent issues. Achieving effective advocacy means adopting the best software available without getting tied into expensive long-term contracts that result in diminished capability over time.
Elected officials need to constantly demonstrate that they are modernizing along with their constituency, which means they need tools that can be implemented quickly with affordable pricing and no arduous contracts.

Demo use cases, not features

Demo Use Cases, Not Features

Molding the perfect solution

Early on, we would walk users through creating a new request or updating constituent information. After all, these are basic features of building a CRM for local government, so we should be showing them off, right?

Wrong!

Software is a means to an end. Demos are not about showing off your beautiful product—they’re about demonstrating solutions to real problems for the user.

Romulus offers a solution to the problem of constituent information scattered across spreadsheets, Post-its, emails, phone calls, notebooks, hallway conversations, and locked away inside staff members’ brains. Our customers can immediately relate to this pain.

Similarly, we did not build Open311 integration because open data is sexy (though it is!). We built it because local government offices need a better way to keep themselves and constituents up-to-date on inter-departmental requests. Many major cities either have Open311 implementations themselves or use tools compatible with the standard to centralize service requests. Our integration was simply the best way to extend their current system.

Impact is measured by the difference between your solution and what existed before, and impact is best communicated through stories, not feature breakdowns..

If you’re interested in using modern software in your office, check out Romulus. With transparent, affordable pricing; a delightful interface; and powerful search and analytics, you’ll fall in love with public service all over again.

Sign up for a demo and tell us what you think!

 

How to Advocate for Software in your Office

From social media to a modern Customer Relationship Management (CRM), cloud software is rapidly improving constituent relations across local government. When thinking of adopting new tools, it is important to get buy-in from senior staff members. Ultimately this means communicating the value of new technology as it relates to their goals and objectives.

In this article, we’ve distilled the hundreds of conversations we’ve had with offices into five major values of software for senior staff and leadership in local government. In a followup post, we’ll go over the huge benefit for constituents themselves.

Accountability

Accountability In Local Government Software

They’ll be there for you

Nothing breaks trust like dropped communication. Keeping a digital record of interactions with constituents, whether through social media, email, or a CRM, ensures you’re getting back to constituents in a timely matter. With operational analytics, teams know how they are doing and can set objective goals to improve relations.

Even better, you can share your history of interactions with other staff members to make sure the office never misses a beat due to vacation or illness.

Transparency

Transparency In Local Government Software

Nothing to hide

Where is that piece of paper with notes about a constituent call from eight months ago? What happened to the phone number you jotted down on that pink sticky note? Or was it purple?

Sunshine Laws and Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests shouldn’t be scary or time-consuming. Backing up information in the cloud is a safe and easy way to ensure your records are in order when an audit comes up.

Productivity

Productivity In Consituent Relations In Local Government

Time to get to work

You don’t need MIT to tell you that computers have made us remarkably more efficient (though, if you’re interested, they will).

From spell-checking to synchronization, new technology enables offices to focus on what matters most: serving constituents. You’ll feel better about what you’ve accomplished and your constituents will thank you for it.

Consistency

Consistency In Local Government Constituent Relations

All of these are just like the others

An enormous benefit of adopting modern software is the effect on your staff’s workflow: instead of having each team member reinvent the wheel, your entire staff is working together with a unified process toward common goals. This saves time, fosters morale, and and frees staff from tracking the myriad processes of different staff members.

Visibility

Visibility In Constituent Relations for Local Government

I can see clearly now

The power of software for constituent relations extends beyond day-to-day operations. By providing a consistent workflow and data structure, CRMs enable search and analytics capabilities unmatched by any spreadsheet or inbox. By visually mapping requests, for example, elected officials can develop a nuanced understanding of how constituent interests and concerns change across their districts.

This visibility extends beyond the office, too. By understanding the unique character of their districts, staff engage constituents on the issues that matter most to them.

Conclusion

Modern software is a win-win scenario for elected officials and staff members. The massive improvement over existing processes — currently burdened with paper and spreadsheets — offers a unique opportunity for local government to provide better service to their community.

In our next post, we’ll turn that into a win-win-WIN by diving into the direct benefits for constituents. Stay tuned!

If you’re interested in using modern software in your office, check out Romulus. With transparent, affordable pricing; a delightful interface; and powerful search and analytics, you’ll fall in love with public service all over again.
Sign up for a demo and tell us what you think!