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Grand Rapids reduces walk-in visits by 79% after expanding online services to serve residents

City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, MI

The City of Grand Rapids wanted to expand the availability of its services to residents by replacing print-out forms with digital ones. By digitizing their website and offering services online, the city reduced the number of walk-in visits to city hall by 79%.

Topics Covered

Civic Technology
Customer Service
Payment
Process Improvement

Cost

Initial: Zero Upfront Cost

Funding

State and local grants

Project Status

Operational since 2022

Gov Champion

IT Department

Problem Addressed

Grand Rapids' outdated website made accessing services difficult, pushing residents to call or walk in to access services instead.

Like many cities and counties, Grand Rapids had an outdated website.

The site’s many web pages and lack of consistency in presenting information made it hard for users to navigate, and even harder for staff to keep updated. This process made it difficult for residents to interact with the city, as it was inconvenient and there was no way to get updates on the request once it was submitted. Additionally, the sheer number of forms made it hard for city staff to stay organized. Because the process was slow, many residents would instead walk-in or call over the phone to set up service, further taking up city staff time.

Solutions Used

Grand Rapids unveiled a digital services website that makes initiating a majority of transactions easier for residents.

Within five months of partnering with OpenCities, Grand Rapids unveiled a digital services website that allows residents to initiate a majority of the most requested transactions.

For example, "start water and trash service" is one of the most popular service requests, representing 40% of all current 311 interactions. With the new website through OpenCities, the city received almost 1,000 online service requests that before would have been communicated through phone calls or faxed paper forms. Residents can now also submit payment through the website, shortening the processing time for city staff.

Outcomes

1

Residents can now access over 257 city services online instead of printing, manually filling out, and either mailing, faxing or submitting forms in-person.

2

50% of all payments are now made online

3

A 79% reduction in the number of walk-in visits

4

1,000 service requests were submitted online within weeks of launching the website.

Who Should Consider

Communities looking to build digital services that create efficiencies for residents and increase engagement.

Last Updated

Mar 23rd, 2022

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