Catherine Geanuracos
July 20, 2021

What can governments learn from a govtech startup about customer support?

One of the things that makes CityGrows different from many other software companies for government is our commitment to customer support. Our goal is to respond to any online chat inquiry within 10 minutes (during U.S. business hours). There's a little green chat box at the bottom right of the screen whenever someone is logged into CityGrows as an admin, and we're very proud that our average response time to customer requests is around 5 minutes! How do we know that? We use Intercom to respond in real time to questions and coaching requests, and it automatically tracks how long it takes us to respond. It's also how customers can search our knowledge base of articles to find information about how to use our software to set up permitting and licensing for their towns and counties.

Governments are also in the business of providing "customer support" for residents and businesses in their jurisdiction. Of course, we think the best way to manage customer support is to have smart digital workflows tools We've built out several aspects of CityGrows software to make communicating with constituents easy:

FAQs: Each workflow on CityGrows has a place for FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). This is a great place to share information with applicants, for example, which types of items can be left out for a Bulky Item pickup.

Discussion feature: Applicants and admins using CityGrows workflows communicate via our Discussion feature. Applicants can ask questions, and admins can request clarifications, changes, or more information. There's even an option to start an internal Discussion with your colleagues about a specific process in the system. And best of all, all these questions and answers are visible to the whole admin team, reducing duplication of effort and keeping everything in one place for potential public records act request inquiries.

Always-available status updates: With CityGrows, applicants can check the status of their permit and license applications themselves, and the system sends automatic updates when a process moves to the next step. That means your staff does much less customer support, because applicants can find the information they want on their status on their own.

Just as our Customer Success team here at CityGrows uses a variety of tools to work with our admin users, governments may also want to consider using one or more technologies to improve their ability to work efficiently with stakeholders, especially because there are many parts of a government's website and services that aren't going to be on CityGrows! Here's a quick rundown of what we use:

Intercom: Online chat that includes AI-driven response options and page-specific settings, as well as a knowledge base of articles that can be searched by applicants.

Calendly: Automatic scheduling for meetings. When you book a meeting with our team, it's through our Calendly scheduling option.  Test it out (and meet our team if you haven't already :-)

Loom: Customer support videos. If you've checked out any of our help docs, you've probably seen at least one of our customer success videos. We make these with Loom to capture narrated screen videos.

Need more to deal with a high volume of customer support requests? Check out Citibot.io, a government-specific texting and chatbot tool.

If you'd like to learn more about how CityGrows and Citibot manage customer support, check out the video of our recent webinar.

Catherine Geanuracos

Catherine is the CEO and a Co-Founder of CityGrows. She's dedicated to supporting local governments and helping them improve outcomes for their residents and staff members. She is a former VP of the City of Los Angeles Innovation and Performance Commission and co-founder of LA's Code for America Brigade Hack for LA. She's based in Los Angeles.

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