-Aron Watanabe, Information Technology Coordinator
Adapting for the future and evolving with a developing community are challenges shared by many government agencies. Selectron’s work with the City of Pleasanton, CA’s Community Development Department demonstrates how technical solutions from a trusted vendor can help manage these challenges. Selectron has worked with the City of Pleasanton for over a decade, developing several solutions to help improve their inspection-scheduling process. “Business has changed so much in terms of how we communicate with our customers, how our customers pay bills, and the services we provide,” said Aron Watanabe, an IT Coordinator who’s been with the department since 1999. Selectron’s solutions have helped the City evolve with those changes, providing more options for contractors and homeowners to conduct business efficiently.
The City of Pleasanton’s needs were common: inspection scheduling was handled manually by a customer-service representative, either over the phone or in person. Continued growth and development in the City made this increasingly time-consuming for staff. The City needed some kind of automated solution that could balance service with efficiency: reducing the burden on staff while still providing for the community’s need to schedule inspections quickly.
In 2011, the City of Pleasanton contracted Selectron to develop an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution for inspection scheduling. More recently, the City added SelecTXT, a text message system that allows users to automatically schedule inspections with text messages just as they would over the phone. These systems automated the existing process, allowing contractors and other permit-holders to schedule inspections automatically by phone without needing assistance from a representative. The solution integrated with their permitting system to log and update scheduled inspections automatically, reducing call volume and administrative work for staff, while expanding options for customers.
The addition of SelecTXT also involved moving from an on-premise solution (hosted locally in the City’s IT facility) to a Managed Services solution, where Selectron houses and maintains all system hardware within a secure data center. This involved an added level of due diligence for the City, as Watanabe explains:
“When we move to someone else hosting, we have to look very closely at what vendors do to protect data. What is the environment? What are the support hours? How reliable is the system, and what security measures are in place? Ultimately, Selectron gave us the right combination of functionality and security.”
Selectron’s systems have been a huge success for both customers and staff. “From a user standpoint, contractors and homeowners love it,” said Rob Queirolo, Chief Building Official for the City.
“The IVR has been a staple for us for a long while, and everybody texts nowadays so SelecTXT is really handy.”
The Selectron systems handle roughly half of the City’s daily inspection requests, helping automate the vast majority of inspection scheduling. This represents huge savings for the department, and frees up staff to assist customers with other requests, while accommodating the evolving needs of a growing community.