Customer Relationship Management systems are useful tools for local governments. But not when it comes to resident surveys. Find out why.
In the era of tech-driven governance, Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) are indispensable tools for local governments. These all-encompassing online databases streamline services and create better resident interactions.
However, governments must tread carefully if they want to integrate resident surveys into their CRMs. These integrations lack a critical component that could make or break a community survey.
The Pros and Cons of CRMs
CRMs are incredibly useful to local government operations; They allow organizations to send out important announcements like utility-related emails to homeowners, manage records, simplify form-filling processes, and much more.
Some local governments are integrating user identification tools (UIs) with their CRMs. UIs ensure that the person interacting with the CRM is who they say they are through a verification process. The purpose of UI is to combat fraud, such as unemployment scams that occurred in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Looking at UIs and CRMs together, one might think, "If I have all these verified residents in my system, why not use that to collect community feedback?"
However, you may not know that these CRM survey integrations do not prioritize resident confidentiality.
CRM-integrated surveys tie responses to individual people. This invasion of individual privacy can harm both resident safety and the accuracy of the community survey results.
The Importance of Privacy in Surveys
Survey confidentiality is essential for multiple reasons. First, confidentiality encourages more participation and honesty. Without anonymity, residents might fear their responses will be used against them for political reasons or otherwise. Some residents may not feel comfortable sharing their true opinions if they don’t fit with the status quo.
Confidentiality usually results in more responses and more accurate feedback for local governments.
Unlike CRM surveys, Polco never reports survey results or demographic information on an individual level. Instead, local governments only receive anonymous, collective data. Nothing reported is tied to a specific person.
"We did everything we possibly could to protect people’s privacy," said Polco CEO Nick Mastronardi. "I don’t think any other gov tech survey tool has done it. There are no protections like that with CRM."
Collective data also adds a layer of protection from security breaches.
"You can imagine the disaster looming if there's a gold mine of unprotected individual data," Mastronardi said.
Information like this, in the wrong hands, can be used nefariously for online targeting, identity theft, and other dangers.
Confidentiality also strengthens trust when used with transparency. If residents know that their feedback is private and how and why it will be used, this reinforces government-resident relationships.
Transparency is more important than ever because trust in government is steadily declining. Mistrust makes it difficult to gain support for projects and initiatives and function properly as a government.
Resident Survey Solutions That Prioritize Confidentiality
Risking resident information could be a major blow to any government's reputation and harm community members. So, while CRMs are useful for local governments operationally, they must look elsewhere when it comes to resident surveys if they want to prioritize trust and safety in the digital age.
Launch a Community Survey Your Residents Can Trust
Reach out to learn more about how Polco can help you safely and effectively collect community feedback to improve decision-making and planning.