eFountain Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Citizen Request Management software?
A: Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) software helps local government agencies be as responsive to citizens as possible. Citizens can request a government service by using the phone, the web, by fax, or in person. Compared with the way many agencies still handle citizen contacts (simple email, handwritten forms, or verbal messages), CRM, which requires no new Town hardware or software, is a huge leap forward in efficiency. eFountain is the name for the CRM software developed by the Town of Fountain Hills’s vendor, Government Outreach, Inc.
Q: How does CRM work?
A: A citizen calls a Town Department to request a service. Let’s say someone calls the Town Clerk’s Office to request that a branch be cut back from in front of a stop sign. Rather than transfer the call to the Public Works Department, the employee who takes the call clicks on the eFountain logo on her computer screen. This launches a simple electronic form, which asks for the caller’s name and contact information, if they want to provide that – or they can remain anonymous. The address and description of the service request is entered. A tracking number pops up on the screen, and the employee provides that to the caller. It’s as simple as that. The request is then sent to the Streets Division scheduling coordinator, who prints out a list of service requests by area so that a crew can be dispatched to trim the branch. Once the crew finishes the work, the supervisor goes into the eFountain system, notes the work done, or provides an explanation of why the work will be delayed or can’t be completed. That information is then sent to the citizen who requested the work, if they want to be notified.
Q: How will eFountain help the Town?
A: eFountain allows Town officials to better analyze needs and trends while increasing the amount of work accomplished by staff. The system includes numerous features, including automatic reports delivered to managers describing the status of citizen requests, customer satisfaction surveys, and follow-up communications to citizens.
Q: How will CRM help citizens and business operators?
A: eFountain offers many benefits to those who live, work, or do business in the Town. The system ensures that no citizen request will get lost or sit on the desk of a supervisor who is out of town. Citizens can also track their own complaints or requests and receive updates. The system can automatically send updates on issues of interest to individual citizens and educate citizens using “Frequently Asked Questions”. Requests can be submitted with the actual name and contact information from the requesting party, or they can remain anonymous.
Q: How long will it take to implement the CRM system and is it hard to learn?
A: The system is easy to set-up and learn by Town staff and very simple for citizens to use. It can be up and running in each Town Department in as little as two weeks, requires very little staff training, and uses web browsers already on Town or home computers. Government Outreach, Inc. staff will remain in constant touch to ensure smooth operation and a seamless transition.
Q: What about employees and citizens who don’t have computer access?
A: The system can be used by anyone, since contacts can be made using the phone, the web, by fax, or in person. Those who contact the Town by phone, fax, or in person will have their request entered by a staff member and will be offered a choice of how they would like to be updated on the status of their request.
Q: Will the Town keep records of those who make contacts? What about privacy or confidentiality issues?
A: Those who submit a request are offered a choice of providing their contact information for tracking and follow-up or remaining anonymous. The Town recognizes that some citizens or business operators may wish to provide information anonymously, and the system allows them to easily do so. Those who choose to provide their contact information are offered several communications options for tracking and follow-up.