As a public servant, how can you create better experiences and improve outcomes for constituents who owe fines and fees?
If you’re the Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller in Sarasota County, Florida, you start with empathy, a passion for public service, and—equally important—a steady flow of data.
The Honorable Karen E. Rushing and her staff understood that a more human-centered approach to nurturing compliance could reduce the number of driver license suspensions in the state. The cost of citations had risen sharply in recent years; Floridians who already struggled to pay for basic necessities and weren’t aware of available payment options and plans were less likely to be able to pay amounts owed in full.
To meet its #1 goal of enhancing public stewardship and driving positive impacts back to its communities, the Sarasota Clerk and Comptroller’s office needed to understand its constituents better—their circumstances, needs, and preferences. With enough of the right data painting a clear picture and helping the team improve their decision making and outreach, the Sarasota Clerk and Comptroller’s office could effect significant change.
“We want to facilitate compliance beginning on day one. We only have 90 days to make a difference; we want to make the most of it. We want to empower our constituents across all of our customer base with service offerings that are convenient and easiest for them to use to fulfill their court obligations. And we want to decrease cost, both for our customers and for our office.”
The Honorable Karen E. Rushing
Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller, Sarasota County, Florida
2 Steps to a More Service-Oriented, Successful Government Operation
The Sarasota Clerk and Comptroller’s office believed that key to helping constituents succeed was to give them the experience they as consumers want and expect—i.e., various communication and payment options, 24/7 self-service, and a tailored approach that meets individuals where they are. Here’s how the Sarasota team made this possible across the board without overwhelming its budget and staff.
Step 1: Modernize internal processes and constituent engagement
The Clerk and Comptroller’s office implemented an end-to-end automated workflow solution that interfaces with its case management system to manage and execute compliance communications and PCI-compliant payment processing. Fortunately for staff, and for the taxpaying public, many time-consuming manual tasks have been eliminated as a result. This subscription-model solution is budget neutral and requires no outlay of capital.
By introducing this technology, the Sarasota Clerk and Comptroller’s office has expanded its capabilities to include:
- Automated workflow, correspondence, docketing, payment capture and processing, and more, with case updates recorded within their case management system
- The ability to view and analyze performance data—including data from its outside collection agency partners—via customizable dashboards and reports
- Guidance and tools that help reduce regulatory compliance risks
These capabilities have changed everything from the constituent’s point of view. Engagement is proactive, personalized, and responsive. Notices now accompany payment plans. Outreach campaigns are specific to case type and respond to constituent activity. With improved awareness of their options and easy ways to comply, constituents are better positioned to resolve their cases in a timely manner.
Step 2: Mine performance data for insights and opportunities
The Sarasota Clerk and Comptroller’s office is fully leveraging the new data they have at their disposal—along with the new ways they have to view and report the data—to get a clear picture of where they stand in relation to their compliance goals and how they can accelerate their progress.
The Sarasota team relies on three dashboards to view and analyze data in accordance with their specific needs: 1) contact effectiveness; 2) payment plans; and 3) recovery performance. Data can be viewed by any desired date range and filtered to monitor status by core division, charge, campaign, contact method, payment terms, payment type, and payment method. Data can also be sorted by active, noncompliant, and paid in full.
Because the team can dissect compliance data in numerous ways, they can easily pinpoint the most successful compliance approaches, fine-tune their outreach strategies per case type, and identify any negative trends that need addressing.
Government at Its Best: A Data-Rich Environment That Drives Continual Improvement
Within months, the Sarasota Clerk and Comptroller’s office operational transformation resulted in significant improvements across the board. Instituting multichannel outreach campaigns (emails, letters, and phone calls) increased both constituent contacts and recovery across all debt types by 20%. Across 4,300 accounts, 79% of constituents had made compliant payments or payment plans.
The Sarasota team’s next steps will further increase both the simplicity and sophistication of its compliance processes. The team plans to introduce a web-based dashboard platform, texting campaigns, new ways for constituents to initiate payments, and perhaps even a full-service contact center.
Meanwhile, on an ongoing basis, the Sarasota Clerk and Comptroller’s office intends to fine-tune its outreach campaigns, further customize its messaging to inspire action, and meet constituents’ changing needs as they arise—all made possible by a wealth of new insights and new ways of gauging success.
Get a Firsthand Look at How Automation and Insights Can Transform Compliance
After a simple integration with their case management system, the Sarasota Clerk and Comptroller’s office now has the insights and tools they need to enhance constituent service with fewer staff burdens and no ongoing expenditures. With this change, they are helping more constituents avoid noncompliance—and the personal hardships that often result—at less cost to taxpayers.
To see their software solution in action, request your demo today.
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