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Corona Taps Platform to Decode Resident, Employee Feedback

As a direct outcome of the responses, the city implemented a four-day workweek, which significantly reduced attrition rates and elevated overall employee morale, according to Chief Information Officer Chris McMasters.

The city of Corona recently shared insights on the tenfold increase in residents’ feedback relating to IT services and existing needs. New tools are helping officials gather better input and react accordingly.

Chris McMasters, chief information officer for the city, said it was necessary to first pinpoint areas of need by analyzing where gaps were in order to fill them. To do this, the IT department deployed the Qualtrics platform to make sense of the input residents were providing.

“I believe the initial realization that we needed to enhance our ability to collect feedback from residents stemmed from my prior experience in the private sector, where there’s a lot of interaction with customers to be successful,” McMasters said. “When I got into government, this was not always the case — with us mainly being passive listeners, except at open forums like City Council meetings, and those meetings are typically attended by the same few people.”

With this in mind, McMasters came away with one key question: “With just a fraction of the 160,000 residents being represented at public meetings, how do we complete this feedback loop to gain more insight into how our services are impacting residents?”

McMasters said the CX (Customer Experience) Maturity Assessment program administered by Qualtrics provided a good starting point toward this end. The system employs a collective approach, combining quantitative techniques like customer attitude indicators, surveys/questionnaires and predictive analytics with qualitative feedback obtained from residents and employees.

The introduction of the platform has yielded multiple benefits for the city, extending its positive impact to the realm of employee work experience enhancements. The employee feedback acquired through the system promoted investments in new technology, resulting in a 28 percent increase in employee satisfaction with technology resources. As a direct outcome of the feedback, the city implemented a four-day workweek, which significantly reduced attrition rates and elevated overall employee morale, according to McMasters.

“One of the biggest advantages of the system is the feedback data being housed within a singular database that’s interconnected so that we are no longer operating in a vacuum or silo,” added McMasters, who was featured in a January 2022 “One-on-One” interview with Industry Insider — California.

Artificial intelligence has also played a key role in Corona’s data management strategy through the platform’s AI capabilities, which analyze and compile unsolicited feedback residents provide about government services through social media, the city’s website and other channels.

That resident feedback is integrated with a geographic information systems (GIS) analysis tool to reach previously underrepresented segments of the community.

The GIS resource played a pivotal role in shaping the allocation of $100 million within the city’s budget for an important city park project. In this case, feedback from residents within one mile of the park was given greater consideration than input from those living farther away by using the platform to source the location of feedback. As a result, funds were effectively earmarked for the park’s transformation, which included enhancements for community sports, the establishment of an aquatic center and the creation of a venue for music festivals and various other events.

“We always want to make sure that we are addressing the right audiences and getting feedback from those most affected by any given project,” McMasters shared. “Qualtrics has helped shape that, in addition to a cohesive strategy of how we leverage all our feedback data holistically and analyze our residents to understand what people want, how and where they’re engaging with the city, and then acting on that information.”

“The city of Corona has really gone through transformational changes,” Chelsie Bright, head of public-sector industry for Qualtrics, said in a press release. “They started by fixing pressing problems like better enabling city employees with technology by repairing broken and frustrating resident journeys on the website, and have since become a pioneer in adopting new and innovative digital solutions to transform the entire experience of engaging with government.”

This article first appeared in Government Technology, sister publication to Industry Insider — California. Both are part of e.Republic.
Ashley Silver is a staff writer for Government Technology magazine.