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Citizen Relationship Management

A Study of CRM in Government


Alexander Schellong

This study explores Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in government. Based on an interdisciplinary literature review and multiple-case study design, a model of Citizen Relationship Management (CiRM) is developed and discussed. The case studies explore the perceptions of CRM/CiRM by administrators, elected officials and consultants as well as its implementation and impact on the municipal level and in a multijurisdictional environment in the United States. Although the explorative part of the study focuses broadly on a theoretical conceptualization of CiRM, the immediate empirical referent of research are the 311 initiatives in the City of Baltimore, the City of Chicago, the City of New York and Miami-Dade County. Thus, the results help administrators and researchers to convey the idea and challenges of 311 well. The study shows that CRM is to a certain extent only partly able to make novel contributions to currently active reform movements in government. In addition, the study’s findings support the idea that CiRM provides the means to a different kind of public participation.


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4 Results 79


79 4 Results Based on the methodology described in Chapter 3, a detailed synopsis of each of the cases included in this study is presented in this chapter, along with details about the implementation, impact and understanding of CiRM of the case. Each case analysis is divided into three sections: Implementing CiRM, Impact of CiRM and Understanding of CiRM. When describing the implementation of CiRM, I essentially give a detailed account of the 311 project as well as less detailed information on the channels and other customer service activities. The section on the impact of CiRM focuses on any kind of impact of the 311 initiatives. These may include citizen-orientation, organiza- tional processes and roles or relationships of elected officials, administrators and citi- zens. The last section summarises the interviewees’ opinions on various aspects of CRM and its major differences in government, as well as their definitions of CiRM. To ensure rich detail—and to prevent alterations of the meaning of interviewees’ statements by my summarising their quotes in my own words—this chapter includes a large number of direct quotes. Guiding my selection of quotes was my intent to cap- ture ideas that either represented a common, reappearing idea or were particularly unique. The case studies are presented chronologically by their date of engaging in their CiRM activities. 4.1 CiRM in Baltimore 4.1.1 Implementing CiRM On October 2, 1996, the City of Baltimore became the first municipality in the United States to study the effects of a 311 non-emergency...

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