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Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) in full transformation within local authorities: our guide

Citizen Relationship Management: deploy innovative approaches, strengthen ties with citizens, optimize the processing of requests and enhance the user experience.

Introduction: understanding the concept of Citizen Relationship Management and its context

In concrete terms, how do you define Citizen Relationship Management?

Citizen Relationship Management (CRM), or Gestion Relation Usager (GRU), corresponds to the commitment of administrations to improve service quality and simplify the processing of procedures and requests from citizens, thus developing a relationship of trust and proximity with users.

Through a user-centric approach, GRC aims to reinvent administrative processes, making them more intuitive, responsive and personalized. To achieve this, it relies on dialogue and exploits digital solutions to respond precisely and efficiently to citizens’ expectations, thus promoting a more human and connected administration, which is therefore accessible!

The environment and changing customer relations

Since the launch of the Public Action 2022 program in October 2017, the Public Sector has been strongly encouraged to accelerate its digital transformation. It must reinvent its practices and operating methods by relying on innovation and digital technology. The aim is threefold: to ensure a better quality of service for citizens, to lower public spending by optimizing internal resources and processes, and to improve working conditions for public employees. The concept of “citizen experience” to define a user’s experience of a service is becoming increasingly important.

It is against this backdrop that Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) in France is undergoing accelerated change, driven by citizens’ growing expectations for more responsive, transparent, accessible and omnichannel public services.

The impact on local authorities is twofold. On the one hand, there is the need to adapt to an ever-changing regulatory framework, which aims to strengthen personal data protection and promote digital accessibility. On the other hand, we need to seize the opportunities offered by new technologies to rethink our relationship with citizens, making it more efficient and enriching it with new online services.

What’s more, while in the majority of local authorities, the digital transition is carried out primarily for the benefit of users, it also concerns the staff themselves. The transformation you have to carry out is therefore global!

Citizen Relations are part of a regulatory environment and government initiatives

In this complex context, for local authority General Managers, Customer Relations Directors, CIOs and elected representatives, these changes in customer relations represent both a challenge and an opportunity to thoroughly rethink the relationship between public services and citizens.

The RGPD strengthens the protection of citizens' personal data and imposes specific obligations on local authorities in terms of consent, transparency and data security.

The Law for a Digital Republic encourages the opening up of public data (Open Data) and improves access to digital public services, thus impacting the modalities of citizen relations.

The RGAA ensures that local authority online services are accessible to all citizens, including people with disabilities, influencing the design of user interfaces.

And these aren’t the only elements that have an influence! We can mention, for example, the Loi d’Orientation et de Programmation pour la Refondation de l’École de la République, which includes provisions for digital development in education, and therefore the relationship between local authorities, schools, students and families, the FNE (France Numérique Écologique) initiative, which includes reducing the environmental footprint of digital services, FranceConnect, the identification and authentication platform enabling users to identify themselves on online public services using a single account, and numerous other initiatives (CADASTRE, API Particulier… ).

The challenges and benefits of effective, transparent customer relationship management

Implementing transformation is a major challenge for many local authorities and public sector organizations. To be effective and deliver the best possible citizen experience, this transformation is based on a number of complementary challenges :

Omnichannel experience

The citizen must not perceive any dissonance in his journey (search, agent counter, teleservices, e-mail…).

Simplified, accessible procedures

Access and follow-up must be simplified, and the same information must not be requested several times.
Digital services must be available 24/7, whatever the medium.

Autonomy and processing speed

Users want to be as autonomous as possible in their procedures, and reduce processing times.

They also want to be able to track the progress of their requests.

Agent availability and added value

While part of the customer journey can be completed digitally, exchanges with agents are intended to provide greater value, dialogue and a personalized response to complex needs.

Security and trust

The majority of citizens are fully aware of cybersecurity risks. Trust, which is essential to the community-citizen relationship, implies both compliance with regulations (RGAA, RGPD) and the guarantee that personal data provided and exchanges are secure.

Key points for understanding the criteria and benefits of optimizing Citizen Relationship Management

Offering the possibility of carrying out procedures online is a significant first step. Your reflex might be to use an existing software package to respond to the first teleservice to be implemented, then a second one for the next online procedure, and so on.

This is a mistake: this approach will further reinforce the separation of your Information System and your data into silos, to the ultimate detriment of the citizen experience! There are therefore two opposing logics: the multiplication of specific applications, which are quick to implement at the outset but which ultimately complicate your Information System, and the implementation of a complete, scalable, cross-functional CRM solution integrated into the IS, which will build the foundation for years to come.

The public transformation program and the implementation of a high-performance CRM strategy and software offer local authorities the opportunity not only to respond more precisely to users’ needs, but also to optimize their internal processes and their Information System for a more efficient public service.

Criteria for efficient, long-term, IS-integrated Citizen Relationship Management

  • Industrialize the deployment of teleservices and standardized online procedures within a Citizen Portal: Digitizing the relationship with the user means first and foremost providing a single portal for entering and tracking requests. You need to offer a user experience that complies with the RGAA guidelines. This is the BPM (Business Process Management) dimension.
  • De-silo and urbanize your internal IS: you need to control the exchange of data relating to constituents. Your applications must also communicate with each other, so that the management of interactions with citizens is unified and fluid. This is the application bus or urbanization dimension.
  • Set up a user repository: you need to centralize and enhance the quality of user-related data from teleservices, but also from multiple applications and software. This is the dimension of MDM (Master Data Management).
  • Integrate the challenges of “Tell us once” and the opening up of the Information System. As a local authority, you need to open up your IS and facilitate the circulation of data with other public bodies. This is the API Management dimension.
  • Support continuous improvement with dashboards: continuously improving the citizen experience means consolidating and analyzing information (processing time, data export, indicators linked to public policy, etc.).

Use cases for Citizen Relationship Management solutions

For citizens, of course:

  • Make a variety of online requests: register for municipal services, book an appointment, apply for a grant, declare a vehicle session, apply for planning permission, request a birth certificate, buy a tax stamp, report credit card fraud, Histovec…
  • Access your personal space to track procedures, receive notifications and consult precise, contextualized information.

Not to mention the benefits for agents :

  • Centralize tasks and priorities across all contact channels.
  • Track files, search and access request history.
    Get a 360° view of requests and dashboards.
  • Dialogue with citizens, to detect needs and understand sources of dissatisfaction.
  • Automate the transmission of information between different departments.

Our beliefs at Blueway and our GRU Forum offer

At Blueway Public Sector, we’ve been working with local authorities and government agencies for many years, helping them to meet the challenges of transformation and agility.

We are well aware of your specific constraints :

  • The multiplicity of applications within your Information Systems, often with dedicated software for each need.
  • A high level of technological debt and outdated software.
    Difficulties in recruiting technical experts and ensuring adequate IT resources.
  • The need to move forward quickly, and in particular to deploy high-performance teleservices and bring new services and an innovative experience to citizens.

FORUM GRU, our Customer Relationship Management solution, offers you a turnkey solution specifically adapted to the needs of the public sector, to enhance the customer experience.

Take a fresh look at your Customer Relationship Management!

Forum GRU, the User Relationship Management solution for the public sector

Our solution introduces a real logic of industrialization to the deployment of online procedures. You capitalize on a common base that consolidates with each new teleservice offered (connections with internal applications, portal and screen graphics, etc.), guaranteeing a fluid, consistent user experience.

The solution becomes both your citizen portal and a veritable “teleservices factory”, incorporating all Public Sector requirements as standard: API France Connect, API Particulier, RGAA (Référentiel Général d’Accessibilité pour les Administrations). The off-the-shelf processes offered in our solution save you precious time by enabling you to build your own workflows from a database capitalized on by public-sector players like yourself.

Easy to use, with no need for development skills (No Code), FORUM GRU is quickly adopted by your teams, notably through our training courses, and meets the limited availability of your technical resources.

Forum GRU is fully integrated into our product range, dedicated 100% to local and regional authorities, and benefits from the full complementarity of Data&Process technologies.

Our articles and interviews about customer relationship management

Our FAQ : Frequently asked questions about GRC

A citizen, in the community context, is more than an inhabitant; he or she is an active individual within the community, with rights and obligations. A user, on the other hand, encompasses every citizen who interacts with public services, whether in the form of requests for documents, administrative procedures or any other request requiring a response from public institutions. Thus, every citizen becomes a user as soon as he or she needs a service or information provided by his or her local authority, marking his or her active participation in local and democratic life.

Personalizing communication with citizens via a Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) solution relies on the detailed analysis and strategic use of data. By collecting and processing information on citizens' past interactions, preferences and requests, local authorities can tailor their messages, services and responses to reflect the specific needs of each user. This means, for example, sending notifications or targeted information via the user's preferred channels, offering services tailored to their personal situations, and anticipating requests thanks to interaction history. The key is to use this data to create a consistent, relevant and engaging citizen experience, thereby boosting satisfaction and trust in government.

The implementation of a Citizen Relationship Management solution like Blueway's Forum is structured around four main stages:

  • Analyze your needs and prioritize your city's objectives and use cases. What are the first steps to be deployed? What are the expectations of citizens and employees? What are the main areas for improvement?
  • Choosing the solution that best meets your initial needs, and is also capable of evolving with your new challenges.
  • Deployment and training of your agents, which is all the faster, and with a high adoption rate, when the solution is dedicated and packaged for the public sector.
  • Communication with citizens, and the implementation of satisfaction indicators to continuously improve your CRM approach.

We recommend that you start with use cases that will have an immediate impact on both citizens and your agents, either because there is currently a lot of friction, or because they bring significant innovation and added value.

Typical use cases are :

  • The most frequent administrative requests, such as requests for civil status certificates, electoral roll registrations, or registrations for extracurricular activities.
  • Reports to facilitate response to problems identified by users (roads, defective lighting, damage, etc.).
  • Make appointments with elected representatives or town hall departments, to reduce response times and optimize the organization of your services.