How to reinvent citizen collaboration with CRM

21 April 2014 | Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe, Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

CRM for governmentCities around the world are collaborating more closely than ever with citizens and employees, and for good reason. Tighter relationships result in world-class cities that attract people, businesses, and investment. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is almost a dream come true for cities—a way for them to improve collaboration, save money, and operate more efficiently. I say “almost” because, at its heart, CRM is a business tool designed for sales and marketing, not a government solution designed to support cities of the future. But with new capabilities specifically for governments, that’s changing. Now city leaders can use CRM to empower citizens and employees, and create better places to live and work. Here’s how it works:

Citizens can serve themselves

People today research everything on websites, mobile apps, and Facebook. Just as they expect multi-channel care from businesses, they also expect it from city agencies. In a citizen’s mind, the city of Seattle should serve them just as well as, one of its largest businesses, does. So when citizens are looking for information—like when a new park will be complete—they want to find it now, online, on their own. The only way for public-sector agencies to provide this level of service is to implement CRM solutions. That’s just what 34 offices of the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. did, providing efficient support portals for the American public. Cities can do the same. When you try CRM, you’ll turn your citizens into happy customers in two ways: by providing self-service access to information and by using citizen tax dollars wisely. 

Employees can provide better service more easily 

Inadequate staff. Redundant systems. Paper-based processes. Your employees face a lot of roadblocks to handling citizen requests efficiently. To help, CRM solutions like Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 include agency-specific case management, citizen service request, grant management, and license and permit compliance processes. They enable people across your organization to work together to manage citizens’ cases through a common dashboard. All workers now can see what’s been done, such as when notifications were sent, how they were sent, and to whom. This provides unprecedented visibility, which in turn, makes it easier for city workers to resolve cases.

This applies to city workers serving other employees, too. Merseytravel—the local government organization responsible for public transport in northwest England’s Merseyside county—implemented Dynamics CRM to provide employee self-service and automate the way its HR department manages employee training. Check out the case study for more on their efficiency gains.

For everything from repairing potholes to keeping track of prisoners, CRM solutions have tremendous potential to reinvent the way governments collaborate with constituents and employees. To see how public-sector agencies are using it, read 4 Governments that Are Doing CRM Right by my colleague, Gary Wachowicz. And read his post on the 3 Keys to Launching a Citizen-Service Revolution for tips on how to jumpstart your CRM initiative.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or e-mail us at

Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe
Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

About the Author

Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe | Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

In her current role, Kirsten helps government organizations of all levels develop out-of-the-box solutions to address their unique challenges. Kirsten was formerly a marketing VP in Deltek’s GovCon unit and global VP for public sector at CA Technologies. Read more