In 2019, how can you generate a real citizen dialogue, bidirectional and without filter? How can you be sure to get your citizens’ attention or, at least, to reach as many homes as possible in your municipality? The idea of setting up a digital platform on smartphones is increasingly being studied and seen as the best method.
Some people might argue that much larger investments need to be prioritized, such as infrastructure or parks, and that this implementation, while being « nice to have », is not a priority. And yet…
How to establish a real citizen dialogue?
There are many ways to connect citizens with their municipality. But according to several experts, the implementation of a digital platform is the most important revolution in citizen communication since the arrival of websites. It is the most direct and efficient communication tool available to the municipal sector for enabling civic dialogue.
Websites, communication tools that are losing value
Let’s go back to this essential creation that are websites. They have allowed the municipal world, but also governments, businesses and organizations in general, to communicate with consumers. For more than twenty years, it was the main tool to promote communication. On the other hand, since a few years, they became less useful. Today, these sites are mostly databases for Google, which is responsible for providing in a box the answers to questions asked, without the sender of the search necessarily having to go to the site. Google keeps your citizen captive, reducing access to the information he could get on your site during a visit.
How can you capture the attention of the citizen directly and without any filter? How can you best transmit information to him? Facebook is not the solution either. If your citizen is not a regular on your page, it’s a safe bet to say that the Facebook algorithm will rarely show him the « posts » you publish. Again, one of our communication strategies fades and loses interest.
A smartphone is the most used tool by citizens
The concept of citizen dialogue, so much sought after by municipal leaders, is today facilitated by the mobile phone. The English expression, »handheld device », which has no French equivalent, perfectly expresses the strength contained in a smartphone. This device is contained in one hand and is accessible at all times. No effort is required from the citizen. He receives and can transmit in real time all the information he wants.
Moreover, as we know, the favorite way to communicate in all strata of the population is the mobile phone. And this trend is not about to crumble: most mobile owners look at it several times an hour. It therefore becomes the tool to favor in order to establish a civic dialogue.
What makes the strength of mobile is that the link established is direct and without filter. It is a unique and intelligent tool that channels a citizen forum to a given place. This platform allows you to establish a two-way dialogue with your citizens. No need to hope that the citizen goes on your website, that he takes his messages on his voicemail or that he opens the local newspaper. The information is delivered directly in the hand of the citizen, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without any effort on the part of the citizens, you can send them a notice, an alert, an invitation, or a press release. All the news and the municipal activities are there, in the palm of their hand. For example, a city may issue a boiling water alert and increase its chances of accessing as many citizens as possible in real time.
Combine communication and useful applications
In addition, you can combine the information inside a single application with multiple tools, such as a calendar of events, notifications, etc. This ensures greater citizen buy-in, as well as greater retention within the application.
The digital platform, by really responding to specific needs, becomes an essential tool that will be kept active. By receiving notifications from the platform, citizens are thinking about connecting to it and sharing their comments and needs. The citizen dialogue then opens.
To reach your citizens more easily, it is advisable to join them with a tool they use every day: their smartphone. Websites and Facebook pages are no longer as effective when it comes to communicating with users. Whereas a digital platform, easily accessible via an application, will allow municipalities to open the citizen dialogue and ensure a significant collection of information! Do you feel ready to take the first step towards the smart city? With bciti, you’ll be on the right track!