Citizen Connections - Digital = Emotional
by Andrea Pohlman, on Mar 31, 2020 10:43:07 AM
We are operating in unprecedented, unchartered times . . . COVID-19 times, to be exact. As we scramble to ensure that our staff can do things they’ve never done before—like working from remote locations—many of us are finding ourselves overwhelmed by just enabling the technologies that are required to make ‘work from home’ the new normal! This is a giant hurdle in innovation for many states, counties and cities to get over right now; something that was on a future state roadmap became our #1 priority. But, as we transform the way our staff interacts with technology, we must also consider how we transform the way our citizens interact with us through technology. We must ensure there are not barriers between the services they need, and that we provide them with digital access to those critical resources.
Which begs the question: Are we set up to ensure we’re providing our citizens with what they need to be connected, both digitally and emotionally? As we shelter in place / stay at home / quarantine, here are some key things for you to consider in this time when our citizens need us the most:
- Multi-Channel Services: ‘In-person’ services were rapidly becoming a challenge to deliver before ‘stay at home’ mandates were even a thought versus a startling reality. At the same time, our government offices are increasingly being asked to deliver services as ‘experiences’ that we, as consumers, are offered. With these demands come the diversity of devices that our citizens use to connect: Desktops, laptops and handheld devices, like notebooks and iPads, along with mobile phones. These all must be considered in how we ensure that our constituents access the diversity of services we provide.
- ‘Virtual Proof of Identity’: ‘I need to file for benefits [let’s say unemployment or SNAP]. It looks like I have to attend an in-person interview at City Hall, but . . .” The ability to change processes and access quickly to allow for virtual attestations / verifications of identity and easy access to the information provided in these former ‘in person’ sessions is vital to deliver the support your constituents need without barriers out of their—and your—control.
- Knowledge Access: 24/7 . . . yes, I said it: 24/7. Office hours have been dissolved in the blink of an eye. The need for information—for interaction—has been amplified. Providing information when needed, day and night, is critical. Providing real-time access to announcements, articles, forms, communities and beyond are now table stakes in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our population.
Sure, the bullets above address how we digitally connect to our citizens, especially our most vulnerable populations who, as an example, may only have access to their mobile devices (cell phones). But, guess what? As we provide the ability for our communities to access the services and information provided by our government easily, quickly and in/on their own time, we provide emotional connections—virtual care, kindness and peace of mind—to our citizens when and how they need it the most. So, in the end, digital connectivity equates to emotionally connectivity. And, in this uncertain time, it will be the most important thing we’ll ever do to make sure no (wo)man is alone.
Accelare has launched its "City of Innovation" application to quickly and easily stand up multi-channel, digital solutions that provide your constituents with 24/7 access to governmental services – connections when they need it the most. Your source for pioneering solutions to digitally serve your citizens.
Using the ServiceNow Platform, The City of Innovation provides municipalities with a digital platform to serve and meet the needs of all constituents. We invite you to watch the Accelare Video Series: "The City of Innovation".