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Services Under One Roof

ServicesIf you happen to be a Caseworker or an individual that primarily works with Tour and Flag Requests in iConstituent’s CRM, then boy do we have a treat for you this week! As part of iConstituent’s continuous effort to bring the user the best experience possible, we are happy to announce a dedicated Services Inbox.

What does this mean for you?

Our developers have listened to your feedback about messages sent to your services email address. Previously, these messages went to the Mail module with an interest code of “Unassociated_CW_Mail” along with legislative correspondence that someone would then need to sort through. With the new update, these messages will now automatically be sorted out of Mail and directed to Services for you!

How can this update save me clicks?

Time is extremely valuable, especially for our dedicated caseworkers. With the Services Inbox however, your day just got tremendously easier!

This new feature will:

  • Capture all unassociated casework mail and bypass the Mail module completely.
  • Allow users to quickly convert messages into new or existing service records.
  • Allow users to send messages unrelated to Service to the Mail module.

Check out our Help Center Article that will give you the complete breakdown and some nifty screenshots of what to expect from the update!

We upgraded our CRM features, interface, and doubled productivity!

We just announced a major upgrade to our CRM product, based on research with government customers throughout the U.S.

Our CRM release 1.4 product puts email interactions at the center of constituent casework with email threading that organizes communications throughout an office.

Common issues for our customers include helping veterans get their benefits, assisting immigrants’ families with complex legal issues, and ensuring those eligible for public benefits receive care.

“Government offices manage hundreds or thousands of emails a day – and organizing those communications into critical case files can make logistics the focus, instead of helping the public,” said CTO Jeff Green. “Our customers tell us that managed workflows double their productivity, and solving email efficiencies was the greatest thing we could do to create a surge in results for constituents.”

Aaron Stowers, support and product manager, said our new CRM 1.4 product now supports features of desktop email such as attachments and multiple addressees, as well as the added bonus of merge fields that allow caseworkers to reuse workflows critical to complex cases.

Our CRM 1.4 product organizes all the notes from a case into a simple interface where phone calls, in-person visits, and email interactions all tell a constituent’s story for anyone in the office to review.

“Our goal is to totally replace the pink notepad where constituent staff have traditionally jotted case notes,” Stowers said. “…CRM does that.”

Our research shows that while the overall CRM market is growing by 12 percent a year, many government offices still use a mix of paper files and written notes alongside legacy IT systems and desktop email. “This is faster – everything in one place, with search.” Stowers said.

Our CRM 1.4 product works seamlessly with government email providers such as Outlook, but each email is automatically associated with related notes and case journals.

Green said the new product also includes features that make digital government easier across the board, including:

  • HTML letters for case management
  • A streamlined design for adding phone notes to a constituent record
  • Custom handwritten signature blocks for all office staff
  • Improved workflow tracking for case notes, and
  • A robust incoming casework viewer

“Our customers have already resolved more than 1.3 million cases for constituents,” Green said. “The new government CRM will save local, state and federal governments thousands of hours of work.”

Are you prepared for the inauguration?

“Inauguration Ticket Madness” as it’s sometimes referred to in these parts is just around the corner. The truth is it can become overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a plan. Never fear! Your friends at iConstituent are here to help you undertake this huge project.

Managing expectations:

Stick to one method for accepting submissions: Having one clear method for accepting ticket requests lightens the burden immensely. Pointing everyone requesting tickets to your web form ensures that you get all of the important information you need in one place and that you don’t lose track of any requests.

Cut-off date: Set a clear cut-off date for accepting requests. This allows you and your staff time to process everything and time to provide timely notifications to requesters.

Notification date: Just as important as setting a cut-off date is setting a public notification date – and sticking to it. This should limit the calls to your office, and will keep everyone on staff on message.

Processing the requests:

Using the CRM: Web form submissions can be directed into your iConstituent CRM platform, which makes tracking requests a breeze. These submissions can automatically be routed to the appropriate staffer and assigned an Inauguration code for easy retrieval. Filtered folders can be created to track processed and unprocessed requests. The added benefit is that this method keeps all of your constituent data in one place.

A shared Outlook Mailbox: If you choose, our hardware team can create a shared mailbox that requests are sent to and you can manage them from there, creating subfolders for processed and unprocessed. Another option is to export the mailbox periodically to a spreadsheet and deal with the requests there.

Other strategy considerations:

What are the rules? Will you allow requests from outside of the district? If so, will they have lower priority than constituents? Will requests be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, or will they be randomized and selected from there? How will constituents pick them up? How will you identify your VIPs and manage their requests?

We can help you!

We’ve got three pre-created options for your inauguration form along with informative language and an FAQ. All you’ll need to do is choose one of them and we’ll add it to your website. For more information on this, email our web team at support@iconstituent.com.

Did you miss it?

Posted by Becky Baylor; Help Desk Support Manager

Last week, we presented "Signal CRM: What's Next?" to Signal CRM users in DC to highlight the new efficient mail processing features that will be available in Signal 1.3, which is currently being rolled out to offices. Our staff will be reaching out to offices on an individual basis to schedule your upgrade date.

This was an informative session providing a detailed breakdown of the features, as well as highlighting a few developments on the way. Everyone will be upgraded to Signal 1.3 over the next few weeks, so if you work with mail processing or are simply curious about the changes, this is a session you definitely don't want to miss.

If you didn't get a chance to participate in last week's session, don't worry, we've got you covered! "Signal CRM: What's Next?" will be presented via webinar every Tuesday for the next several weeks to coincide with the rollout. Click the button below to sign up!

Other resources include our previous post: "Signal 1.3 Is on It's Way!" and our Help Center article "What's New in Signal 1.3?" If you have any additional questions, please email support@iconstituent.com

Signal 1.3 is on its way!

Posted by Becky Baylor; Help Desk Manager

We're excited to share our latest release Signal 1.3! This release is focused on streamlining mail processing, so you'll notice there are fewer clicks, more grouping and selecting options, and new efficiency features like macros and shortcut keys. As always, we've been listening to your feedback, so we've included quite a few requested features, as well. Overall, we think you'll find that our latest release has made Signal an even more powerful tool for managing constituent communication. Signal 1.3 will be released as a staggered roll out to offices over the next few weeks, so join us for on February 12th at 3:30 pm ET for "Signal CRM: What's Next?"

10 Ways Signal 1.3 Improves Mail Processing

  1. More viewer options because not everyone is a primary mail sorter. A standard view will present a more comfortable view of the mail for users that just need to see the basics – the contact's name and message. A custom view is available for those who need to see a lot of information at a glance.
  2. No more pop-up windows for assigning and editing activities, which results in fewer clicks and an uninterrupted view of your mail.
  3. Multi-level grouping and breadcrumb navigation to more easily drill down to the specific records you need.
  4. Saved grouping for each folder since you have different goals when sorting new mail in the inbox than you do when working with your assigned mail.
  5. Keyboard shortcuts that allow you to quickly perform common actions with a few keystrokes.
  6. Personalized macros that save frequently used assignments for future use.
  7. More automatic merge fields for casework that provide a new set of options for including information in your letters to constituents.
  8. More intuitive letter writing process with relabeling of common editing actions and dynamic changes to the editing screen based on your current step in the editing process
  9. Signal CRM and Gateway eNewsletter integration that includes automatic updates to contact records in Signal based on e-newsletter interactions and a new Mailings module that allows you to create and send digital, high volume, email communication natively from Signal CRM with managed IP addresses, full and real deliverability tracking, and all the benefits of the Constituent Gateway eNewsletter platform.
  10. Email interaction tracking so you have more information about email addresses in your database such as the date the email address was last validated, when and who made changes to the email status, and when an email may have bounced.

To learn about these improvements and more, see our Help Center article What's New in Signal 1.3?

New Webinars for September

iConstituent provides regular webinars on a variety of topics to help you get the most out of your communication tools.  Check out this month's webinars:

  • NEW! Casework Email Notificiations in Signal CRM
  • Tips and Tricks for E-Newsletter Content
  • An Intern's Introduction to Correspondence in Signal CRM (Part I and Part II)
  • Hiding, Pushing, and Embedding Website Content

Learn more about this month's offerings and register for webinars at http://iconstituent.com/webinar-schedule.

New Webinars for June

Welcome summer interns! This month's webinars include our popular Intern offering "An Intern's Introduction to Constituent Correspondence in Signal CRM" and a best practices session for those of you who work with the Constituent Gateway eNewsletter "Building Contact Lists for the Constituent Gateway eNewsletter."

Check all of this month's offerings and register for webinars at http://iconstituent.com/webinar-schedule.

Is there a topic you'd like to see presented in a future webinar? If so, add your suggestion in the comments below or email it to training@iconstituent.com.

New Webinars for May

iConstituent provides regular webinars on a variety of topics to help you get the most out of your communication tools. This month's webinars include "What's New in Signal 1.2?" highlighting the updates of our most recent release, as well as two different sessions on Signal's Analytics module and the new report subscription feature. Check the rest of this month's offerings and register for webinars at http://iconstituent.com/webinar-schedule.

New Congressional CMS Pricing Model Changes the Game

We’re going to let you in on a secret: you could start paying less for CMS services. How, you ask? We’ve recently changed our CMS pricing structure. A typical congressional office can save thousands of dollars per year utilizing a variable-rate plan designed to enable Members to pay only for the user accounts they need to support their constituents.

“iConstituent has developed two new pricing plans that will help members of Congress save money on their CMS plans without compromising service or quality,” says Zain Khan, CEO of iConstituent. “It is important to note that our proposal is not unprecedented; all major CRM vendors, including SalesForce and others, use the same (or similar) pricing model: they license their software on a per user pricing plan,” he adds.

Benefits of the variable-rate pricing include:

  • Pricing will not exceed the current, published rate for Signal CRM.
  • Congressional offices will have increased control over their expenses, with the ability to add or subtract users as needed.
  • The proposed modification is simple to understand and implement.
  • All costs include training and support.
  • There are no hidden or additional fees for users.

What does this mean for you? To start, it means that your office will only pay for the services it needs. Secondly, by pairing hardware and CRM services, your office could save a ton of money that could then be used on other needs in the office. Finally, by utilizing iConstituent’s flagship product, Signal CMS, your office will save time by using our new and improved CMS interface.

For more information and to take advantage of this new pricing format, contact us today at http://iconstituent.com/getsignal.

Signal CRM Updated to Version 1.1

Posted by Christopher Brooks; Manager, Web Production & Marketing

You may have noticed a few changes yesterday morning. Monday night we successfully launched a package of updates to users of Signal CRM in the House environment. These changes are either direct answers to your enhancement requests or updates to improve your user experience.

We hope that our users – especially caseworkers – find some of these new features useful, including:

  • Ability to create a new contact when adding a contact to a casework or organization
  • Drag and drop attachments on a case to upload AND upload multiple attachments at one time
  • An updated reporting mechanism
  • A new text editor

For a complete list of new features and enhancements, check out our help center article