Client Testimonial: One City, One App
Take a guess at how many apps are on your phone right now. 40, 50? Now, take a look at your phone. If you’re anything like the average American, you’ll find more than 80 apps to scroll through*. With an estimated 237 million users in the U.S.*, the smartphone has arguably become the most valuable real estate per square inch to interact with people across the country.
Based on those statistics, it’s no surprise many local governments have chosen to jump on the app bandwagon, launching apps for a multitude of programs around their cities, including utilities, parks and rec, events, parking, emergency communications … the list goes on. But, is this a realistic, sustainable way to engage citizens? After all, it’s unlikely citizens will download 5, 10, or 15 city apps, increasing their chance of missing out on important information. And, if citizens do download an app, it’s likely to be deleted within three days … 77% likely, to be exact*.
That’s why the city of Temecula, California, leverages Tyler Technologies’ MyCivic™ solution to avoid app sprawl and give citizens a single platform to connect with their community
Committed to Citizen Connections
Nestled in the heart of Southern California’s wine country, Temecula is the perfect mix of history and modernity. From Old Town Temecula, full of antique shops and western-era architecture to the city’s five breweries and numerous festivals, Temecula is a prime candidate for a relaxing vacation or a place to call home.
Temecula’s appeal comes not just from its charming atmosphere, but also from the community of more than 110,000 citizens who bring the city to life. The best part is the city government knows the value its citizens bring and prioritizes their involvement in everything from reporting public works issues to providing classes, programs, and events.
“We are always about our citizens,” said Sara Seng, senior IT specialist and six-year veteran of the city of Temecula IT Department. “When citizens feel connected to government, it makes government better.”
A quick glance at Temecula’s city website makes their commitment to citizens obvious. Their homepage spotlights two initiatives aimed directly at citizens: a #LOVETemecula social media campaign and a monthly video series aimed at capturing the true spirit of what it’s like to live in the picturesque community. There’s no doubt Temecula does a great job of making sure its residents are kept in the loop, and they’re utilizing various forms of technology to do so.
“Residents can visit the city website to get all the information they need about Temecula,” Seng said. “We also have a Temecula government TV channel that plays city council meetings and content created by our staff specifically for our residents.”
Temecula even has a live webcam showing what’s happening in the town square in real time. For those who don’t often visit the city website, their social media channels, or their news and event calendars individually, all those things (and more!) can be found on their app.
Citizen Engagement in the Palm of Your Hands
In late 2017, armed with templated marketing materials and a comprehensive launch plan, the city of Temecula released its app for iOS®, Android™, and Windows® mobile devices. The city’s existing news, YouTube channel, calendars, and Facebook and Twitter content was made available on the app via RSS feeds, while links to community initiatives like the Homeless Outreach Program were populated as well.
Through the app, residents can now report and monitor issues, submit service requests, explore news and events, email council members, and more — all from a single location. And, as information and initiatives continue to change, staff can quickly and easily make updates to the app in real time. The success has been undeniable from the start.
“Within the first month of releasing the app, we had almost 1,000 downloads and 300 issues reported,” Seng said. “Previously, we had a website email contact form where we were seeing 50-60 emails come in a month.”
That’s a 400-500% increase! Add that to the nearly 1,000 YouTube subscribers and higher turnouts at groundbreakings and community events, and it’s clear the people of Temecula are engaged like never before.
Empowering Both Citizens and Staff
While the increase in issues reported since the app’s implementation does mean more work for city employees, it also means faster resolution times and the ability to view in-depth analytics, both of which empower staff to perform at a higher capacity.
“Before, it was antiquated,” Seng said. “They’d route a piece of paper when new issues came in. But now they receive them on their smartphones via MyCivic.”
MyCivic’s back-end content management system and staff app have given Temecula employees the ability to track performance and other analytics, providing insight the city simply didn’t have with its previous approach.
These metrics open doors for the city to enhance their staff’s overall performance, and everything the city workers do directly affects the environment of every Temecula citizen. By ensuring everyone is operating optimally, Temecula is boosting the comfort and contentment of its citizens. Everything Temecula’s government does ties back to its citizens and how to keep them happy and engaged so the community continues to thrive.
A Connected Community
The future really is now for the city of Temecula. They’ve truly leveraged the power of technology to deliver not only the tools the city needs to function, but also the tools citizens need to be engaged.
“I think that most citizens want transparency,” Seng said. “So, when you’re opening yourself up to all of these ways that they can contact you and reach you, they feel more connected.”
*Statistics provided by App Annie Retrospective Report, eMarketer, and SimilarWeb.