Municipal customer service is in a league all its own. When it comes to overseeing building departments and public works offices, providing excellent customer service to your community requires flexibility, strategy, patience, vision, and so much more to meet the demands of the moment.
Here are just a few tried-and-true tips for upping your customer service game, delivering successful public sector projects, and keeping your residents happy.
1. Look ahead and put the right supports in place
No matter the project, understaffing and inadequate resources lead to inefficiencies, budget creep, and delays. On their own, each of these things leads to frustrations — and combined, can make your job incredibly difficult.
It’s important to identify early on the places where you will need strategic and practical support to ensure your budgets are stable and you are operating at maximum efficiency.
For some municipalities finding the right talent fit for a full-time staffing gap is ideal (but, unfortunately, tends to be time-consuming and costly). But for others, scalable, flexible interim staffing is a practical, effective solution for staying on budget while supporting immediate needs and fluctuating workloads.
2. Think of everyone on your team as a customer service representative
Everyone involved in your project is a potential point of community contact. That means everyone is responsible for delivering customer service.
When you are confident that every professional working on your project upholds the same high standards of customer service that you do, you can be confident in a project’s eventual success. It’s not unreasonable — in fact, it’s a good idea — to ask potential project partners about how much experience or training their team members have in customer service. This will help make sure you’re delivering the end experience you want to be known for.
3. Expect the unexpected
Even when you’ve taken all the right steps, assembled the best team, and considered every angle for your project, things don't always proceed as expected. Anything from a natural disaster to a simple inspection delay can greatly impact your community, your project, and your reputation.
But when you have the right partners in place, there’s a plan already in place for what to do when things don’t go as planned. For example, our disaster recovery assistance can get your community functioning quickly after catastrophic events, just as our expedited plan review and inspection services can help you navigate tight delivery timelines.
4. Equip your community with easy-to-use tools
Paper processes can be quick to slow a building department down. But these processes are familiar and established, making them difficult to change. So, how can you move into the digital era and keep up with rising demands without creating complications for residents and developers?
The key is to ensure that the technology is intuitive, easy to use, and provides new benefits to the user. Take electronic permitting and inspector software, for example. This technology allows community members and contractors to track permit projects from start to finish.
This type of transparency is no longer a luxury — it’s becoming a necessity to streamline projects as high-impact growth continues to affect communities of all sizes.
5. Be transparent and over-communicate
These days, you might not have the time to issue a press release or hold a town hall for every budget update. Meanwhile, your community members want to know how their tax money is being spent.
Bringing in a partner can not only help you keep projects moving forward but can also help keep your community involved and informed. From organizing community workshops and forums, to creating surveys to get resident opinions on future projects, you don’t have to do it alone. A third-party partner can help you stay in touch with residents to improve satisfaction — and improve the final outcome of your next project.
SAFEbuilt has what you need
Whether you need supplemental staff, a full-service embedded department, increased efficiencies, or innovative tools, SAFEbuilt will help you deliver a higher level of customer service at every touch point to help your projects (and your community) thrive.