CRM and the Public Sector
June 30, 2016

We’ve been talking about Customer Relationship Management a lot recently, but what if, like most public sector agencies, your organisation doesn’t have customers? Enter Citizen Relationship Management! Public bodies don’t always have the same priorities as private companies. They focus on providing great services, rather than increasing profits or market share. A tailored CRM solution to manage interactions with citizens and service users could revolutionise the way this is done.

In our blog Customer Relationship Management and You, we discussed what makes a CRM solution into a lean, mean business improving machine. But in the public sector, a great CRM solution will look slightly different. Let’s take a look at some important concerns when selecting a public sector specific CRM system.

Data Security

Many public sector organisations store and process a lot of potentially sensitive data on citizens. This means that the potential repercussions, both monetary and reputational, of a data leak from such a body are extremely high.

Additionally, data protection laws are changing in 2018, but the new law contains certain exceptions and additional rules which will apply to public bodies involved in healthcare and education. To ensure compliance with these new regulations, it is vital that any new systems which process citizen’s data are developed with an understanding of the user’s requirements.


Cost Efficiency

It’s no secret that public services are underfunded. Just like in a private company, an effective CRM solution in the public sector can help to reduce costs by simplifying processes. It can also decrease the need for costly and laborious functions, allowing authorities to focus on providing great services for their citizens.

Ease of Use

The best CRM solution in the world isn’t going to be any use if no one can use it! This is doubly true for the public sector, where many of the users will be ordinary members of the public, who may not have strong IT literacy. For this reason, User Experience should be a top priority for public bodies considering a CRM system.

Okay, so now that we know what we’re looking for, we can take a look at a few examples how a great CRM solution might affect some different public sector organisations.


With growing expanding caseloads, and shrinking budgets, few organisations stand to benefit more from reducing administration costs than healthcare providers. As an illustrative example, a healthcare specific CRM solution might feature a user friendly patient portal, allowing registered users to carry out certain tasks, including booking and managing appointments, and submitting enquiries. It could also automatically notify users of upcoming appointments, or the need to book a follow-up, through their preferred communication channel.
CRM could also be of great use to staff on the ground. A unified platform containing all relevant patient information will help inform the staff’s approach to caring for individual patients. Access to a central information system will also improve inter-departmental communications, simplifying the process of handing patients over to other members of staff. In this sense, CRM can be extremely valuable in improving patient experiences.
An effective CRM solution will enable management teams to monitor the delivery of care and patient outcomes, allowing them to replicate best practices and address any issues in performance. Additionally, the ability to capture patient feedback or complaints, to further inform their decision making on how to improve patient experiences, while maintaining transparency and accountability.


Perhaps more than in any other are of the public sector, for educational bodies, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between citizens and customers. This is particularly true of universities and colleges, who need to decrease operational costs, while maintain teaching and research standards and attracting the best students and staff. However, many universities and colleges have a reputation for poor ICT systems, which can be off-putting to potential students.
A single, unified CRM solution, with different user classes for staff, students, management and alumni could help most universities improve operational efficiency, and improve the experience of all users. This could allow staff and students to manage all aspects of their academic life on one modern platform, including enrolment, facility booking, scholarships, assignments and pastoral care, to name just a few examples.
University management could use the same platform to monitor the performance of staff, students, or even whole departments, and allocate resources accordingly. Similarly, they could use insights into corporate and alumni relations to inform their decision making on non-academic matters including graduate careers advice, grant allocation and community relations.

Local Government

Local authorities currently face the challenge of shrinking resources, coupled with growing expectations from tax payers. In addition to reducing costs, an effective CRM solution can allow local councils to increase transparency and accountability, and as such improve civic engagement and trust.
A portal for registered users will allow citizens to easily report issues in their local area, including damage to infrastructure, security concerns, or maintenance problems. They may also be able to carry out other functions more easily, including applying for permits or licenses, as well as updating their personal information.
Council staff will then be able to efficiently follow up on these actions, and notify users who report them on the outcome. A cloud based CRM system will allow operatives in the field to receive up to date information on a mobile device, shortening response times for urgent requests, such as burst pipes or malfunctioning traffic lights.

Interested in CRM? Seeing really is believing, so check out our recent Click Energy CRM Case Study! If you’d like to discuss a custom CRM project or simply want to know more feel free to call us on 028 9087 2222 or drop us an email.

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