An artist’s rendering of the service center that is now operational at Redmond City Hall. Photo courtesy of the city of Redmond

An artist’s rendering of the service center that is now operational at Redmond City Hall. Photo courtesy of the city of Redmond

Redmond commits to customer service

A $3 million program is helping citizens navigate City Hall, in person and online.

After six months in operation, the Redmond City Hall Customer Service Center (CSC) is making progress on its goal to be a “one-stop shop” for residents.

Staff members at the new CSC desk greet City Hall visitors, and can assist them with everything from business licenses to permitting.

Through the CSC, residents can report issues, make requests, find answers to common questions and stay updated on city news topics. More than 30 city transaction types are administered by the center, and CSC staff are also certified notaries.

It’s both a physical space and a virtual help center. In addition to the new desk, the city also constructed seven first-floor conference rooms for the public to meet with city officials and employees.

It also launched a customer request management system (CRM) and mobile application in March.

“We’re connecting, getting to know our customers, helping people find the resources they need,” said Customer Service Manager Ryan Spencer. “Whether it’s [provided by] the city or other organizations in the city, we’re helping our customers connect with who they need to.”

The total cost of the program is estimated at $3.2 million, Spencer said.

Of the 500-plus requests fielded by the center so far, 7 percent came from the app, and 26 percent came from the web portal. The others came by more traditional means: email, phone or over the counter.

The Redmond City Council heard an update on the CSC on June 19, with council members praising the public-facing program.

“It is providing a level of service that we have longed for in this community for a number of years,” said City Council member Hank Margeson. “In going to other communities and other City Halls, and being greeted, it’s always a good thing.”

The center fields over 50 percent of request types in Redmond’s system, and either resolves them or sends them to the appropriate staff, increasing capacity for other city departments, divisions and workgroups.

Since the center opened on Dec. 29, 2017, hundreds of customer service requests have been resolved and more than 5,300 business licenses have been reviewed, approved and issued, Spencer said.

“We’re seeing a lot less people starting in the wrong spot, if they’re starting with us,” Spencer said.

The online program has improved communication with customers, and generated data on response times, most submitted request types and monthly activity, Spencer said.

“We’ve finally got it all coming through one system, rather than so many individual spreadsheets spread throughout the city,” Spencer said.

According to the city, the opening of the CSC has improved both the customer experience and operational efficiency in Redmond.

“It’s such a different experience now walking into City Hall, and seeing happy faces welcoming people there,” said Angela Birney, council president. “It’s really amazing that we can take a space that wasn’t necessarily tuned toward the public and change it into a space that really is.”

See www.redmond.gov for more.

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