How to Improve Citizen Experience with Online Services

You’ve committed to improve citizen experience, now what? A natural starting point is to assess the state of your existing digital landscape. Begin by asking these questions.

  • Are you presenting a cohesive, customer-focused website?
  • Is it easy for users to find the information they need?
  • Are there opportunities to move paper processes to digital ones?

After all, your residents now spend the majority of their time online. Whether for work, school, social networking, or simply enjoyment, they are more familiar than ever with the digital world. You can uncover new opportunities to improve their experience by understanding how residents are interacting with digital resources.

It is high time to ditch inefficient and opaque paper processes.  Read on for more. Then, check out our  guide to modernizing permitting and licensing.

Improve Citizen Experience with This High-Impact Touchpoint

For many communities, transitioning to an online permitting system is one  of the easiest digital upgrades. Not to mention one of the most impactful changes for digital transformation.

Municipal leaders in Franklin, MA and Orange, CT jumped at the opportunity to make this high-impact investment. They found that upgrading their permitting system not only instilled greater public trust in service delivery, but also improved the daily lives of staff members. When Jamie Hellen, Town Administrator of Franklin, MA, started thinking about the most effective ways to improve citizen service, he arrived at a simple question:

What’s the easiest way to touch the most lives in a cost-efficient manner?

While the majority of city hall transactions are serving “power users” (i.e. contractors, developers, veteran business owners, etc.), even the least engaged residents will eventually need to do business with their local government. Hellen realized that over a five- or ten-year span, a modern permitting solution would make the biggest impact on the most people. impact on the most people.

Automation + Self-Service = More Productive Departments

A customer-centric permitting solution doesn’t just mean happier customers—it also means less burden on department staff. Empowering online, self-service means staff can spend less time answering questions, processing paper forms, and entering data, and more time on their most important priorities.

Before going digital, the Town Clerk’s office in Franklin, MA sent out 5,000 paper dog licensing forms with their annual census. After receiving them, they manually entered the handwritten responses into their database. Using their new platform to streamline dog license renewals, the Town Clerk’s office can now do digital license renewals in large batches. This saves precious time that can be allocated to higher-impact projects.

Unexpected Returns on Investment

Implementing cloud permitting means more than just the ability to process permits online. In Orange, CT, Fire Marshal Tim Smith found that taking the time to examine their internal processes meant they were able to consolidate permit forms and workflows.

“We looked at all of our permits that needed to be updated, and ones that were completely obsolete. Some of them were eliminated and some combined into one. We didn’t just update the software, we really streamlined our whole permit process when implementing OpenGov,” says Smith.

In addition to greater form and workflow consolidation, cloud permitting facilitates better communication between departments. In Orange, increased visibility and multi-department workflows meant more revenue.

“Now, for instance, if someone owes back taxes, they can’t get their building permit until they pay their back taxes,” explains Smith. “We’re seeing a big increase in revenue, especially outstanding revenue, because of that.”


Learn more about making a high-impact, big-ROI move to improve citizen experience.

For more information on how online permitting is an easy way to impact a large number in your community, download our guide to modern permitting. It has everything you need to get started. Plus, learn about the features to look for in an online permitting software. 

Categories: Community Engagement, Permitting, Licensing, & Code Enforcement

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