By Caroline Smith

The City of Virginia Beach, VA needed an integrated solution to centralize their internal work order systems, while providing their 448,479+ residents with better external public services. Since 2014, Virginia Beach has been using SeeClickFix to integrate into both their Public Works and Code Enforcement work order systems, as well as their centralized CRM for their 311 call center. With better reporting and data from SeeClickFix, the city has been able to increase customer satisfaction while reducing costs.

Sometimes government organizations get caught up in the enormity of change. We could have built our own mobile app with our mobile development team – but instead we asked ourselves: is that what we really need to do? Or are there already existing services like SeeClickfix that we can take advantage of? ~ Kevin Fairley, IT Services of City of Virginia Beach, VA

Multiple Integrations

The City of Virginia Beach started looking into integrated solutions when they had a request to get into the mobile application service area. At the beginning, they had many potential options. With their own mobile development team on staff, they had the ability to build their own solution.

After further investigation, they decided against building their own solution in-house for two reasons: 1) to get out to market faster; and 2) to avoid creating multiple applications for multiple departments. In their efforts to move quickly and to find a tool that could work across many of their departments, they started looking at SeeClickFix.

As part of their RFP process, they asked for three integrations within the first three years:

“Our goals was to bring everyone into one platform,” said Kevin Fairley, CxO of IT at the City of Virginia Beach, “To create one citizen portal for citizen users instead of multiple mobile, web-based, or internal applications.” SeeClickFix could integrate into all of these current and future systems, providing the city with a fully centralized way of managing their public services.

Better Customer Experience

Not only could SeeClickFix integrate into all of Virginia Beach’s current and future internal work order systems, but it could improve their external communication and interactions with the public as well.

SeeClickFix was chosen because most of our requests were email and phone call-driven (just like most government agencies across the country) and we thought we could do a better job of handling them without a highly manual process. ~ Kevin Fairley, IT Services of City of Virginia Beach, VA

Prior to SeeClickFix, if a Virginia Beach citizen were to call 311, the office would proceed through a complicated, opaque process: The 311 office would create an email and send it to another city staff member (Public Works, for example). That staff member would then take that information and manually enter it into their Public Works work order management system. They would also have to call the citizen back on the phone to collect all of the information required to complete the ticket for that particular request type. Then, if the 311 office received a call back from the citizen, they had no visibility into the Public Works system to provide a status update and would have to provide another number for the citizen to call. “We were essentially forcing our customers to pick up the phone and call someone else in the city,” said Fairley, “We were not able to own that request for them.”

Different mobile views from the Virginia Beach SeeClickFix app.

In addition, prior to SeeClickFix, Virginia Beach’s 311 call center did not have an electronic way of capturing request from citizens, or tracking and managing their interactions with those citizens. The 311 center was using anything from paper or pen to excel spreadsheets to try and track these interactions. “They didn’t really have any way to build a history of what residents were calling for, what services might need to be refined, and what communications needed to be improved to match what the citizens were reporting,” said Fairley.

With SeeClickFix, Virginia Beach’s 311 center can utilize the tool as a CRM instead of purchasing a completely separate CRM tool. Now, Virginia Beach’s 311 call center has two customer service options:

  1. They can direct the public to SeeClickFix through mobile phone or send them to the web interface online at vbgov.com.
  2. They can enter the request in SeeClickFix themselves, as well as enter the public’s contact information so the public can still receive updates on the request.

These options allow for not only a smoother, more simple process for the 311 center, but a better customer experience for the public. “We use SeeClickFix to help alleviate the public having to call the city for core service requests,” said Fairley, “We replaced our web form with SeeClickFix so requests could go immediately into our work management system and workflow.”

Better Data, Better Decisions

With SeeClickFix, Virginia Beach has access to organized data and statistics to facilitate decision-making. They send monthly statistics to leadership delineating what request came in, how many, and which were closed. In addition, they have paid close attention to requests made on SeeClickFix in the “Other” category allowing them to use statistics to determine the future of the application: what requests need to be included, what requests types are difficult for the public to understand, and what requests do the public care about getting addressed the most.

A desktop view of the Virginia Beach SeeClickFix app, showing a list of all reported requests.

“The ultimate goal,” said Fairley, “Would be for the public to be able to tell us what they need and want in the tool.” Virginia Beach wants to use SeeClickFix to be attentive to the public’s needs; as Fairley continues, “We now have a picture of what the public is looking for, what they need, and be able to determine from there what needs improving or changing overall for the service request system.”

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