Officials involved in Buffalo's CRM project include 311 call center manager Robert Kreutinger; Daryl Springer, supervisor of MIS operations; Oswaldo Mestre, director of citizen services; GIS specialist Christopher J. Conlee; and Save Our Streets Task Force coordinator Paul Perez. Credit: City of Buffalo
Like other municipalities, the city of Buffalo, N.Y., fields calls from concerned citizens that come in through a variety of channels, including the police, social services and public works departments, plus a number of other city offices.
Problem was, city leaders had no way to consolidate data from those calls, and they couldn't analyze the data and use it to better support the community.
To address the problem, the city deployed a customer relationship management system from KANA, a Verint company, for citizen engagement and service case management and resolution. Using the system, officials can now track problems and categorize and map calls, says Oswaldo Mestre Jr., director of citizen services.
It's beneficial to compile and analyze information from various agencies, Mestre says. For example, analysis of the data enables the city to organize "clean sweeps," where teams of public employees visit a neighborhood to pick up trash, make repairs and provide outreach services.
In 2014, Buffalo completed 29 clean sweeps and 191 neighborhood beautification projects.
Daryl Springer, the city's MIS supervisor of operations, says the biggest technology challenge was integrating the CRM system with other systems in a way that balances big data computing with the need for leaders to easily access information.
"You want something lightweight enough so it's not a big learning curve," Springer says, "but you want it to effectively and efficiently do the work."
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