In 2014, the City of Airdrie, Alberta, launched its Customer Service Initiative (CSI). This initiative offered customer payment opportunities that met City Council’s strategic priority of increasing the City’s web-based transaction options for citizens and businesses and the City’s corporate priority of providing responsive customer service. The initiative’s outcomes included transforming the citizen, business and employee experience by using this full-service tool for more than just paying for City services.
The business goal was to save customers the time and expense of in-person transactions, while reducing the administrative workload that is required to enter and process those transactions. One of the outputs of the CSI was MyAirdrie, an online profile for citizens and businesses that would allow them to pay bills online, apply for building permits, business and dog license renewals, and more. The software delivering these online services was built by an in-house development team that faced implementation roadblocks, which led to the launch date being pushed back a number of times. Also, fixed dates for new services were not determined in advance, and instead, new services offered by MyAirdrie were rolled out as the software permitted. This presented a significant challenge for the rollout of an integrated marketing communications campaign.
Another challenge was combating the idea that MyAirdrie was just for online payments. We expected that residents already familiar with online banking might want to simply continue using online banking to pay their City bills, and we didn’t expect to convert those online banking payers to MyAirdrie payers. We did want to encourage them to see MyAirdrie as a full service tool for viewing bills, assessments and notices online, and for online applications.
Success hinged on two key factors. First, proper use of MyAirdrie by customers would offer customers a better service experience by allowing them to process transactions from home, work or on mobile. Second, since online transactions are less costly than in-person transactions, high participation would reduce the cost of providing these necessary services.