A couple weeks ago, SeeClickFix rolled out our Summer Release of our Customer Relationship Management backend (CRM v2). Our CRM is the backend system of SeeClickFix that our government partners across the country rely on to manage and address service requests.
We're proud to say that the CRM v2 Rollout went extremely smoothly! Now, our over 230 partners are currently up and running with a CRM that will continue to allow them them to do their work more efficiently and effectively for their citizens.
Here at SeeClickFix, we are in a continual process of learning from others about how we can do better work for our partners. That's why after every successful project such as the CRM v2 Rollout, we like to take the time to debrief on what exactly made the project and process a success.
As a civic technology company, most of our successes come down to two components working intimately together: technology and people. The CRM v2 is no different.
I sat down with Ren Provey, Director of Technology at SeeClickFix to hear about the technology and people that made this rollout a success.
CRM v2: The Rollout
With over 230 partners and a small team of about 25 folks, the CRM v2 Rollout took the time and energy of more than half the SeeClickFix team. It was a true married effort between Engineering and Client Services.
From the first day of release, it was clear that the preparation paid off. "Typically, before any big release like this, I don't sleep," says Ren Provey, Director of Engineering at SeeClickFix, "but for CRM v2 Rollout, I slept fine." The team was so prepared for the day, in fact, that they ended up leaving work an hour early after having gotten in early to deploy.
Ren listed two main components of the CRM v2 Rollout that made it run smoothly:
The team put in place smart monitoring tools to be able to see errors happening in real time.
By putting monitoring tools in place during the release, SeeClickFix knew when users on an accounts had hit an error state. In many cases, the user didn't even notice the error as the server picked up and moved on. This allowed the Engineering team to communicate quickly with the Client Services team when a partner had run into an error -- arming the Client Services team with the necessary information for when a partner called to troubleshoot. In many cases, this gave the Client Services team the ability to proactively email with support even before the partner called. This was a true paradigm shift, as the team was able to learn from users about trouble they were experiencing in real-time and to be ready for any fixes that they may need.
By driving CRM v2 off the SeeClickFix API, the Engineering Team could simultaneously test multiple versions of CRM v2 in production.
CRM v2 was driven off the SeeClickFix API. This allowed the Engineering Team to test multiple versions of CRM v2 while in production mode. By having multiple versions of the CRM v2 in production, the Engineering team could give the Client Services team a unique copy of the CRM, allowing them to verify that an issue or problem had been solved. Then they could test it out in real-time against production data -- promoting that copy to be the default copy that all users received. This avoided much of the timely and confusing back-and-forths, and instead ensured that our partners were delivered the right solution the first-time through.
CRM v2: Features
The new SeeClickFix CRM v2 helps our partners on a number of levels. Starting broad, it is completely API-driven, which allows SeeClickFix to start unifying the SeeClickFix feature-set across platforms (i.e. web, mobile). Also, because it is API-driven, the Engineering team can iterate much faster -- thereby releasing new features or improving older features more quickly. This new process now sets the foundation from what tools we want to grow at SeeClickFix -- putting us in a better position to build for and respond to our customers' needs.
"That's the big one for me", says Ren, "Because our customers are our partners. We want to build tools that allow them to do their work better, which translates to a better world to live in. That's why I'm here at SeeClickfix: I want to help make the world as great of a place to live in as we can. And at SeeClickFix, that starts with a strong technological foundation -- which is what we rolled out with CRM v2."
Narrowing in, let's check out some of the new features of CRM v2:
Simple Duplicate Issue Marker
With CRM v2, it is easier than ever to handle duplicate issues that are reported. Our partners can now easily combine repeated issues by selecting and marking as duplicates of another issue.
CRM v2's revamped Search Bar allows for flexible keyword search, making it easy to find issues by address, keyword, ID, etc.
CRM v2 is completely accessible regardless of the device your city staffer is using.
Clear internal and external communication flow
When a city staffers opens up an issue in the CRM, they'll be able to have full, clear access to both the external and internal communication flow between citizens and city staff, as well as between city staff and other city staff. This issue timeline tracks the conversation that the public sees, while including private notifications and assignments related to internal workflow.
------We have been thrilled by the responses we've received from our partners. And we are proud of our Engineering and Client Services teams for the product they have built and the release process they have implemented. The CRM v2 Rollout has established a foundation for us to continue to make SeeClickFix a better tool for our partners to be able to do the work that they love to do.