When a constituent wants to contact their elected representative, commonly they are directed to use a web form. Webforms were introduced decades ago as a way to minimize the risk of viruses damaging the secured government network and identifying constituents, but the clunky design creates a barrier between constituents and their representatives. In today’s world of mobile phones, many constituents don’t use a desktop computer that webforms were optimized for, making even basic communication a hardship. In fact, recent statistics show upward of 95% of webform submissions are petitions created by auto-filled campaign forms, eliminating the potential for elected officials to have impactful conversations with constituents.
Congress is suffering low public approval from constituents, with 73% of constituents not trusting that their own congressional member represented them the best. While this is logically understandable when the congressional member does not share the same partisan identification, it is still common even with a shared partisan or racial affiliation. Given this challenge of trust, it has become even more vitally important for elected representatives to find ways to break down barriers and establish engagement with constituents. The Congressional Management Foundation has found that Effective engagement, such as a single online town hall meeting in 2020, can increase the number of constituents who trust their representative by 150% among those participating. There were similar dramatic increases in those that described their representatives as accessible, fair, and compassionate. These are significant increases based on a single interaction with constituents.
So what are the barriers that we need to break down to make that engagement happen? Primarily, Representative’s offices need to be flexible in the communication channels that constituents use, as each potential channel opens up an additional audience based on their needs. In many cases, email is still preferable over phone messages in the ability to share complex ideas and interests. In other situations, video conferences are ideal as they provide the ability to see and act on non-verbal communication, which adds texture to the information. In an ideal world, constituents would be able to use their platform of choice to communicate while still providing offices the real-world protection currently needed to continue operations (and avoid zoom bombing) in an insecure world.
iConstituent has found a way to deliver that ideal world today. Using iConstituent’s Smart Text Message, constituents can use their mobile phones to communicate directly with their elected representatives via text messaging. This is a win-win-win for elected officials, staff, and constituents as direct one-on-one communication can be established to respond in minutes instead of days. All with the simplicity of tracking, managing, and responding to communications built into the iConstituent Engagement Platform.
Text messaging directly with your office creates credibility and transparency in constituent interactions. It provides both convenience and increases the speed of communication so that your office and constituents get information faster. It provides a method to collect constituent opinions and requests in an interactive fashion with the ability to have an easy back and forth without having to pick up the phone. It still leverages all the messaging intelligence tools of the Constituent Engagement Platform, automatic tagging, filtering, reassignment, etc, with a much more constituent friendly interface.
iConstituent provides an engagement platform that helps digitize constituent services while being specifically designed to value personalized engagement. It provides a single platform where you can easily connect, manage internal and external communications, collaborate on casework, and proactively reach constituents with a user-friendly interface usable everywhere. It has the ability to reduce workload responding to constituents while simultaneously increasing the opportunities for one-on-one communications. This one on one engagement with constituents has been proven to enhance citizen satisfaction with your office.
To learn more about Smart Text Messaging click here! To schedule a demo or ask how iConstituent can help you overcome the challenges of constituent engagement contact our Customer Success Team today!