Hillsborough County needed to make it easier for its residents to submit requests for service and find information. The county also wanted to manage service requests more efficiently and reduce time to resolution. By partnering with Adxstudio to create a mobile-friendly web portal, the county improved customer service, reduced costs, and ensured that customer requests were being handled quickly and efficiently 24/7.
Hillsborough County, Florida, is home to 1.2 million residents and encompasses the Tampa, FL metropolitan area. The mission of Hillsborough County government is to provide effective quality service at a reasonable cost with courtesy, integrity and accountability in a manner that protects and enhances the quality of life of their diverse population.
To do that, the county needed to improve the quality of its customer service. Citizens contact the county for a range of services—public health and safety, utilities, parks and recreation, social services, and other forms of civic assistance. But the county’s system wasn’t as efficient as it could be. Customers sometimes had to call more than once to get an issue resolved, and administrators lacked visibility into the process, making it hard to improve the system.
The county knew it needed to make a change for the good of its citizens, so it contacted Adxstudio for help.
To provide effective, prompt service, the county needed to improve the quality of its customer service. Customers sometimes had to call more than once to get an issue resolved, and administrators lacked visibility into the process, making it hard to improve the system.
The county intended to significantly improve customer service, simplifying access to county services, providing consistent and accurate information, and increasing the number of service requests that are resolved on first contact. The county wanted to improve how customer service representatives (CSRs) interact with citizens as well as how the citizens interact with the county.
The county also needed thorough visibility on how CSRs were handling service requests (SRs) and how long it took to get to resolution. Hillsborough County sought to help its staff better manage routine calls and allow operating departments to focus on more complex work, so that they could provide more one-on-one time with citizens who needed it.
Finally, the county required a solution that would provide ongoing cost savings. Administrators expect the county’s call volume to grow over time, increasing pressure on budgets. As a good steward of its residents’ resources, it was critical that whatever solution the county selected be cost-effective.
The county needed help, and it needed it fast—administrators planned to improve their customer service operations as quickly as possible. Hillsborough County approached Microsoft about a citizen request solution based on Microsoft’s CRM Dynamics platform. After interviewing multiple vendors, Hillsborough County selected Adxstudio through SHI International Corp. via Florida State Term Contract 973-561-10-1.
After working with Hillsborough County to understand its issues and design a solution, Adxstudio built a web portal for the county using its Government 311 solution in combination with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015. That combination enables the county to join its customer database with the portal’s customer service features, collecting all customer data in one place. The portal is called At Your Service.
Adxstudio was able to design and build the portal in just 12 weeks, surpassing the county’s expectation for a cost-effective solution on an accelerated timeframe.
Using the portal, citizens can use multiple channels to contact the county and get service. The portal is designed for easy use by customers and administrators alike. If a customer wants to report a pothole, for example, the customer simply opens an online form and clicks on the corresponding service. The request is automatically routed to the appropriate team, which replies within one business day. County administrators can track new issues and ensure that service level agreements (SLAs) are being met.
The county has made it much easier for citizens to submit new requests and check the status of existing requests. The portal is directly integrated with Hillsborough County’s website, making it easy for users to find from the county home page. It allows users to submit requests anonymously, include their contact information as necessary, or create an account with the county to track all their service requests. Users who do include their contact information can opt to receive email updates as the request is resolved. “We wanted to empower citizens by making it as easy as possible to get information on the status of their requests,” says Liana Lopez, Chief Communications Administrator for Hillsborough County. “Our desire was to reduce dependency on our call center staff, so that they’re available to respond to issues rather than providing updates on existing requests.”
Figure 1: Hillsborough County At Your Service process using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Adxstudio Portals
The county also uses geo-location tools that are integrated into the Portals 311 solution to display a map view of service requests. Using Bing Maps, users can pinpoint the area that needs service on a map. That helps the county and the cities within its boundaries quickly determine which work crews should respond. The mapping system integrates with the county’s ESRI geographic information system (GIS), as well. Integrating Microsoft Dynamics 2015, Adxstudio’s Portals and ESRI’s ArcGIS Online creates a data-rich geolocation platform ideal for analyzing relationships and patterns. This integration also allows county personnel to easily identify county-owned infrastructure and better manage requests for services that cross jurisdictional boundaries.
All service requests are aggregated on a publicly available incident map, posted on the county’s home page. By using that map, the county can identify hotspots for specific issues and coordinate its response, sending one or two crews to handle multiple similar issues rather than sending one crew per issue. The map also reduces duplicate submissions by showing incidents in real time.
Once a service request is submitted, a unique service request number is assigned to it. That number stays with the service request even if the request type changes, and can be referenced by both the website and by the CSRs at the call center, eliminating confusion about multiple case numbers for the same incident.
The solution has created a more efficient system for CSRs, and also gives administrators better oversight into the county’s customer relations processes. When a request is submitted, whether by phone or online, the county’s business rules identify which team the request belongs to and automatically assigns it to that team, sending a notification email to let the team know a new request has come in. Dynamics CRM also keeps track of each service request’s status, and alerts administrators when a request needs to be escalated. (Escalations occur when the submitter hasn’t been contacted by the county in 3 business days, or when an issue is complex or requires high-level input.) In addition, the county has improved its auditing and business rules so that administrators can track how service requests were closed, and who closed them. The system retains those details even if the request is reopened and closed again.
“By using At Your Service, our residents can get the information and services they need the very first time they contact us, 24/7,” Lopez says. “They don’t need to worry about calling between 8am and 5pm. No matter when they have an issue, they can just report it online and we’ll address it the next day.”
The site also allows customers to upload photos of service requests, cutting down investigation time by customer service representatives (CSRs). Customers can review prior service requests and annotate them, as well.
By using Government 311’s reporting capabilities, Adxstudio made it possible for the county to generate metrics and map-based reports on service delivery. The information will help the county fine-tune its operations and streamline administration, delivering services more efficiently and improving the county’s overall productivity and citizen satisfaction performance.
With Adxstudio’s help, Hillsborough County has been able to expand its customer service capabilities with its online customer service center—quickly and efficiently. “Adxstudio really came through for us—they even finished the project before our deadline,” Lopez says. The mobile-friendly website works with all devices and allows residents to submit a service request and track the progress online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The county has seen cost savings, as well—reducing the number of calls per service requests is driving customer satisfaction up while reducing call-center costs. And because Adxstudio built the county’s portal to work on the Microsoft platform, the county can maximize its previous investments in Microsoft technologies and minimize the learning curve for its staff.
County Administrator Mike Merrill is pleased with the outcome of the project. “By using Adxstudio’s innovative Government 311 portal, Hillsborough County has taken a significant step forward in providing excellent customer service satisfaction to our residents,” Merrill says.
For more information about the Adxstudio Government 311 solution, see our Public Sector Citizen Service Requests page.