Boston understands customer feedback (and iPhones)

On the radio this morning (thanks NPR) I was thrilled to hear how the city of Boston is making it easy and convenient for their citizens to give them feedback. They have created an iPhone application called Citizens Connect that enables iPhone and iPod users to send instant feedback to the city about issues that need attention.

From their web page:

The application, part of the brand new suite of online services called “Citizens Connect,” provides constituents with the ability to send service requests to the Mayor’s 24-hour Hotline complete with pictures and location at the push of a button. Constituents then receive a tracking number in return as a way to keep a tab on their requests.”

This is an exciting example of how a large organization ($2.4 billion annual budget) is engaging their customers better. Rather than force people to use the phone they offer them another, often easier, way to communicate with the city. And this method allows people to track the outcome of their feedback. So they don’t have to keep calling back. And they know their efforts were not ignored.

Customers have a lot of useful information. If we make it easy for them to connect with us, they will give us all kinds of help managing our organizations better. In Boston they have now enlisted thousands of people to help keep the city looking and running better. I the NPR article is any indication, it seems to be paying off.

I hope other cities are paying attention. Maybe Boston will make the code for this application available to other government units.  How about it Mayor Menino – a little help here?

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz