City of Kitchener re-imagines customer service with a citizen-centric online experience
Kitchener is a mid-sized in the heart of Waterloo Region that is quietly and consistently nurturing sparks of genius and cultivating innovation on all kinds of fronts.
Through a comprehensive Customer Service Review in 2018, more than 5,500 citizens and staff told the City that one of the most important service improvements the City could make would be to make more services available online and preferably, in one central place. Staff at the City of Kitchener were tasked with creating a centralized municipal self-serve platform where citizens can find information about their unique needs in one centralized and easy to use place.
After reviewing out-of-the-box service portal solutions, staff were determined to create a more customized and personalized user experience. The City required a digital platform that could deliver a customized user experience based on a citizen’s address and specific interactions with their local government, as well as a tool that would integrate with the City website and other applications used to deliver service. The City required a simple and secure login process that would also leverage existing user accounts like Google or Facebook, and a user interface that would display services and information important to each individual user.
In the spirit of innovation, staff knew they needed to design and build their vision from the ground up to meet the unique needs of Kitchener residents. The platform would need to be easy-to-use, while providing a seamless and secure digital experience.
Citizens have always been the driving force and guiding principle behind every decision made on the new online experience. Staff collected user input, both in person and virtually, through user testing sessions to verify design and functional concepts. Through these public engagement opportunities, staff learned that 70 percent of Kitchener residents prefer to complete transactions online but could not always find what they were looking for. With these considerations in mind, a small team of City staff put their heads together to come up with a plan on how to make information and services more digitally accessible.
By seamlessly integrating with the digital tools and services that the City of Kitchener offers through its website, eSolutionsGroup and the digital transformation team at Kitchener developed a customized Citizen Portal dashboard that Kitchener residents could modify based on their interests and needs. Bringing all the municipal information and updates they care about into one convenient place, the secure, single sign-on dashboard uses existing user data to tailor municipal content related to existing preferences, behaviours and interactions.
The MyKitchener portal offers a streamlined path to city services, products and engagement. Municipal information is now more discoverable, accessible, and relevant through a centralized and personalized experience, and content is delivered in a way that not only increases transparency and trust, but also encourages engagement among citizens.
"The MyKitchener portal will forever change the way citizens interact with the City," said Kitchener Mayor, Berry Vrbanovic."
With the MyKitchener portal, citizens can:
- Customize their dashboard with content that is relevant to them
- View information about multiple properties in one place
- Receive notifications when new information is available like new skating and swimming events, road closures and school bus delays
- View and pay property tax and utility bills
- View news and upcoming events
- View what events and road closures are occurring near them based on their address
- View their nearest community centre, pool, park and easily access program registration
- Watch a council meeting and download meeting minutes and agendas, and so much more.
Kitchener, through its Digital Kitchener initiatives, has become synonymous with cutting edge technology and now our online service experience will match. Information and services are now more accessible and interactive than ever.