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Digital Expert's Panel: Upgrades - A Chance to Clear the Decks

by Kimberly Samuelson
Post Date:10/17/2017

Communications Director Sarah Macdonald firmly believes that the City of San Marcos’ resident and business audiences expect that municipalities offer the same sophisticated digital experience as the private sector. She joins us for this week’s Expert’s Corner where she assures us that many municipalities aren’t late-adopters to technology.

Why is it so important that the city’s website and underlying CMS stay current?

The website is one of our biggest communication and engagement tools, and if it’s outdated, it gives residents a negative impression of our agency.
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Technology is ever-evolving; how does the city keep up?

We are collaborative with our IT department, and this keeps us on the cutting edge of technology. Additionally, we talk to colleagues in other areas, and our leadership and city council is always looking for improved ways to connect with residents. Also, it’s important for us to listen to our residents to keep a finger on the pulse of what they want. Finally, having a strong partnership with Vision keeps me informed about new features and functionalities that I might not be thinking about. The partnership works both ways. I’ve requested features and have been pleasantly surprised how quickly Vision incorporates them into the product. It’s been a two-way feedback loop.

strategyPage2-01.pngI also like how many departments Vision has focused on client success. I’ve been following the development of the client success department, and it’s encouraging to know Vision is making this investment.

Insofar as the actual CMS, the fact that’s its subscription-based keeps our technology up-to-date. I also really like the features the Intercom tool offers like message center, notes, suggestions and ideas. All of this reinforces to me there is a genuine partnership between the client and the vendor.

Before you chose to upgrade, did you go out to bid?

We did. It was important to see what was out there. We needed to identify the best fit for San Marcos. I was on the reviewing committee. We resigned with Vision as we found that a lot of the changes that Vision built into their latest products and services were extremely customer friendly. Their new support system is really top-notch.

How have you partnered with Vision through your website lifecycle?

We are getting ready to launch a rebrand. Regarding where this intersects with the website is that — essentially — we are flying a plane while we are building it. In the past, we’ve never had formal brand elements. BUT, we needed a new website.

Normally, a website is one of the products of a rebrand. We knew the rebrand was in the works, so we purposefully designed our website so that elements of our new brand can be easily adopted. I’ve already been in contact with Vision about some updates to the homepage and the internal layout. I was talking to my customer success manager, and he’s been implementing these changes promptly.

Overall, this level of service is reassuring from a tech perspective but also encouraging to know that Vision is also on our team for new efforts like the rebranding.

 

Please describe your customer experiences with Vision.

First, anytime we’ve had a technical issue. It’s been followed up on quickly. Those issues that take a bit longer have continual follow up. Second, when I’ve needed help navigating a new tool or using a different component of the system, Vision is always there to help. Third, I’m getting a lot of support on the design-side with our rebrand. It’s good to have technical help; it’s really good to have help with tweaking a website that was just recently redesigned.

I’ve also been a member of pilot groups for new products. Knowing that Vision is always working on identifying customer needs and transforming them into new tools and products is important. For instance, the two-way community engagement offered with the visionPulse product is so relevant to the needs of digital municipalities.

Ready for a Redesign?

Thanks, Sarah! If you are looking to upgrade your website, check out this webinar recording that will help you get a handle on what to do and what not to do.

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