What’s the only thing between the mayor of the Municipality of Coamo, Puerto Rico, and his constituents? Why, his BlackBerry, of course. To keep tabs on citizen affairs and mayoral requests, the Hon. Juan Carlos García Padilla is able to access feedback and records instantaneously through his handheld device.
But it wasn’t always so easy. Not only was the mayor lacking at-the-ready information about his citizens, but his office had huge gaps in its customer service solution. Before implementing Microsoft Dynamics in November 2007, the government offices lacked visibility into citizen affairs—as was obvious to any individual trying to get through to the government agency with a service request, query, or complaint. Citizen requests and feedback floated through various departments without accurate tracking. Often Coamo citizens had to call multiple times to find out the status of a request.
The municipality retained Rock Solid Technologies, a reseller of Dynamics products based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to solve the challenges and conduct the implementation. Angel San Miguel, Rock Solid’s project manager, led the process and worked with the mayor himself as well as with the municipality’s directors of services, finance, and technology. San Miguel reports that, before Dynamics, Coamo logged everything but with no communication between different departments.
“Since they had no official way of tracking the requests and where they were in the life cycle, the citizens kept calling over and over again,” San Miguel says, adding that he recommended Dynamics for the product’s flexibility and the ease of customization required to fit an organization’s specific needs.
Specifically, Coamo needed to shape the application to hold not only citizen (customer) records, but property locations as well. Customization also involved getting the software into the mayor’s hands for when he meets with citizens about their requests.
The problem was solved by assigning each request a tracking number. “If a citizen approaches him, the mayor types [into his BlackBerry Dynamics application] the citizen request number, and minutes later he gets a response with the status of the request,” San Miguel explains. “He has the visibility and can actually show it to constituents—that’s really a political advantage.”
For the first time, the municipality developed and began logging citizen and property profiles. Repairs to a basketball court, for example, previously required multiple request submissions. The reports were kept separate and the municipality had no knowledge of the history of the property or its upkeep. Dynamics centralized all profile data, removing any duplication and enabling all relevant government employees to access that data.
Zoraida Reyes, the municipality’s citizen service director, says that, although the implementation was initially challenging—few municipality employees had computer training—the rewards have been outstanding. “Now we can [keep] track of the service requests, have more visibility of the status of completion, and are able to identify which municipality departments are not responding correctly to their citizens.”
Citizen complaints shrank nearly overnight—plummeting by more than 80 percent since the go-live date in January 2008, and citizen queries can now be addressed within two minutes. By being able to respond to requests more rapidly, Coamo has dramatically improved citizen satisfaction.
Some of the remaining calls are actually welcome. “In some cases, people called just to thank us for the promptness of their case completion,” Reyes reveals. —Lauren McKay
KEY RESULTS: Municipality of Coamo, Puerto Rico:
• Citizen complaints dropped by 80 percent
• The average citizen query is now addressed in two minutes, down from five
• All citizen requests are tracked in a record system to create profiles of citizens and properties
• The mayor is “in the know” and able to access citizen requests nearly instantaneously through a mobile device and a tracking number
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The other three recipients of the 2009 CRM Service Elite Award are:
- Retailer Bath & Body Works, for a knowledge management system developed with Astute Solutions;
- CBS Interactive, for its slam-dunk handling of the NCAA basketball tournament, among other events, with the help of RightNow Technologies;
- identity-theft watchdog LifeLock, for an initiative with on-demand contact center provider LiveOps.