New & Exciting

HeyGov has tons of benefits (and makes citizens happier!)

Mystique Macomber
August 6, 2021

As a city administrator, you know how important it is to connect with residents. You, your staff and your elected officials are there to serve the public, but it’s not always easy to know what they want or what they think, right?

What if you had a way to engage with them? A two-way communication system? Something easy to use for both of you that would let you stay in touch?

We’ve got what you need: the HeyGov app, which lets you and your citizens connect about important topics in your community.

HeyGov is a free app, available for iOS and Android, that you can also add to your municipal website. It lets people send requests in their community (like a broken street light, a damaged sign, a pothole, a fallen tree branch) and receive messages when a request is fixed. You can send News and Notices alerts to citizens, and HeyGov offers a Straw Poll option to gauge public interest in a topic.

Why use an app like HeyGov?

It can be hard to get people to engage. You’ll always have a few people who show up to meetings, call and write, but most citizens remain in the silent majority. They have thoughts and opinions, but you’ll rarely hear about them.

They see and hear things, but they probably won’t reach out. It’s not convenient to look up a number and call. And who should they call? If your city is like most, there are a lot of departments that maybe don’t mean much to the average person. You may know what Public Works does, but will a busy mom on her way to pick up kids from school know that’s the number to report a missing stop sign?

If requests go unreported and unfixed in your community, people can get frustrated. It’s probably only when someone reaches a breaking point (like when their car is damaged because of a pothole) that they call you. And now, they’re really unhappy and maybe downright angry.

You can prevent that by giving citizens a way to stay in touch and send requests as soon as they see them.

We’ve identified a number of benefits to using HeyGov:

Send requests

The main focus of HeyGov is to give citizens a way to send requests and find out when they’re fixed. Citizens download the free app to their smartphones, snap a photo and upload it. They can add their email address or submit it anonymously. Those who add an email will receive a notice at completion.

This simple tool goes a long way to making people feel like they’ve been heard. It’s easy to use, and when they hear back from you via the HeyGov platform, they’ll feel better -- maybe even happy! They certainly can feel satisfied and content when the see something they noticed is repaired, replaced or taken care of in a timely fashion.

Direct them to the right place

HeyGov is a great 311 tool for cities, villages and towns. This is a number dedicated to municipal services, and you can create a database or add to an existing one with your community information. It can include your departments, what they do, staff listings, phone numbers, email addresses and more. Then, you can point citizens to this 311 listing via the HeyGov app. You can add a ChatBot to let them ask questions without using staff time to communicate. These easy-to-use popups are growing in popularity and offer a quick way to get people to the right place.

Think about when you use a phone system or a website to seek out who you need to talk to. The quicker you can connect people to the right department, the happier they will be.

Answer questions

You can add a Frequently Asked Questions (or FAQs) page to the HeyGov app. As you know, people tend to have the same questions about who to call and what to do. If you answer the most common questions and make it easy for them to find, you’ll cut down on staff time answering the same questions over and over and instead have time for unique cases that arise.

People who can get their questions answered succinctly will feel good about the experience.

Ask their opinions

HeyGov offers a Straw Poll option for cities. This is a simple way to find out public opinion on a variety of topics. Maybe you’ve got a big project you’re considering or you want to know what people think about different options. You can ask them in a Straw Poll. It’s a quick way to get a feel for what people are thinking or how they’re feeling about a topic.

Simply asking someone their opinion can make them feel you care about what they think. You know how that makes you feel. Your citizens will feel happy, too.

Keep them updated

The free app also lets you keep residents updated about News and Notices in their community. The HeyGov communication platform lets you send them important updates, which can be especially helpful during a global pandemic, a destructive weather event or some sort of disaster. The big events aside, you can also let people know about things like parking restrictions or changes in how to get a permit – anything that will impact them.

While people may not be happy about the news you provide, they will appreciate getting it quickly on their phone or via email.

Happier citizens

HeyGov is a free app for your citizens. You can subscribe to have access to our HeyGov dashboard. This engagement platform is a great way to connect with your citizens. They’ll be happier when they can communicate easily with you, and we think you’ll be happier, too.

Get in touch and send us an email to heygov@heygov.com to learn more about getting HeyGov for your municipality!

Mystique Macomber
I'm Mystique Macomber, a blogger, editor and communications expert. My website is https://mystiquemacomber.com/ I’m a Wisconsin native, and I want to explore the world.

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