Warren purchases apps to improve communication with residents

By Ethan Hartley
Posted 8/18/22

The products, offered by GOGov, include their Citizen Notification and Citizen Request Manager (CRM) products, and come with a price tag of $11,520 annually.

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Warren purchases apps to improve communication with residents

Posted

The purchase of two new apps meant to improve the flow of information between residents and town officials were approved by the Warren Town Council last week, with the hopes they will improve communication regarding issues spotted around town and notifications of important, upcoming events pertinent to Warren citizens.

The products, offered by GOGov, include their Citizen Notification and Citizen Request Manager (CRM) products, and come with a price tag of $11,520 annually.

“I really think it’s going to meet the needs that the council has identified as far as providing better information to the public in a timely way and in a simple, and easy way, both through the notifications and through the work management system,” explained Town Manager Kate Michaud to the Town Council during their Aug. 9 meeting.

The CRM would enable a resident to upload a ticket to the system with a photo — such as a pothole on a road or a pile of debris that needs to be cleared on a public sidewalk — which will be sent to the corresponding department head, such as DPW Director Brian Wheeler, and then delegated to an employee. The resident who uploaded the ticket would get updates throughout the process notifying them it has been assigned, and ultimately completed.

Michaud said that the app will not only enable residents to feel better about when issues are being taken care of throughout town, but also optimize limited staff resources.

“On the back end I think we’re going to save staff time because we’re going to be able to track these complaints more closely and to give feedback to the people who filed the request right through the app,” she said. “So instead of someone calling three or four or five times to figure out the status of the thing that they have an issue with, it’s all going to be right through this app.”

The Citizen Notification app was presented as a solution to an earlier request by the council to provide more frequent, timely delivery of notifications to residents who might otherwise not see information pertinent to them through the traditional channels (such as postings on the town website or in the newspaper) — such as the scheduling of public hearings for projects they may have a stake in or want to provide input on.

Michaud said that the app would be a tool in addition to those traditional channels.

“It also doesn’t take the place of our website. So we can have some information on there linking through to the website,” she said. “The purpose of the app is not to provide detailed information, it’s to provide quick information and a quick notification, and if you want more information, here’s a link. The goal is to be simple and straightforward and easy to use.”

The Council approved the purchase agreement, but held off on delegating where the money would come from in the budget until the September meeting, at which point Michaud will make a recommendation.

According to GOGov’s website, their CRM product has helped resolve over 6.2 million issues for “hundreds” of agencies across the country.

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