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May 12, 2008

CRM Hits the City of Covington, Virginia



By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor


This reporter's a big fan of municipal CRM, and applauds the city of Covington, Virginia for being the first in the commonwealth -- yes, we Virginians call it a "commonwealth," not a "state," just because we're better than you -- to offer the QAlert service to its citizens through its recently redesigned Web site.

The QAlert Municipal CRM System, is a Web-based tool that lets citizens place non-emergency service requests from anywhere with Internet access, 24 hours a day. Claire Collins, City Manager for the City of Covington and somebody who's obviously doing her job, says the city "welcomes all comments and input regarding this new service."

With QAlert, service requests or complaints are entered online by citizens and tracked by city staff. Each entry is assigned a ticket number and routed via e-mail to the department responsible for handling the request. Citizens can be notified by e-mail or telephone each time an action is taken, or just when the service request has been addressed and is closed.

The city of Covington collaborated with the state to create the Web site design. Virginia.gov has formed a partnership with QScend Technologies, a vendor of Web-based software for municipalities and the developer of the QAlert system.

Earlier this year QScend Technologies was selected to provide the City of Newark, New Jersey, with its QAlert citizen relationship management (CRM) software.

The product is described by company officials as a dynamic Web-based tool which lets the city "log, automatically route, and manage all citizen service requests." In addition, QScend and its partner, VUEWorks, will provide Newark with the VUEWorks Work Order system to "further manage all public works tasks."

With QAlert, citizen service requests or complaints are entered by city staff or citizens themselves. Each entry is assigned a ticket number and routed via e-mail to the department responsible for handling the request. Citizens can be notified each time an action is taken, or just when the service request has been addressed and is closed.

QAlert also lets city department heads generate a variety of reports, from issues resolved to issues outstanding to length of time outstanding to issue type, and others. The system will allow Newark staff to generate work orders by tagging service requests entered through QAlert. When those work orders are complete, the VUEWorks system sends the information back to QAlert, where responders can trigger update notification to citizens about their service requests.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.


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