Government Office Manages Voter Conversations and Legislative Issues with Insightly
The New York State Assembly is one of the two houses of the New York State Legislature, consisting of 150 members representing the citizens of their respective districts. The office of Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend uses Insightly to manage all correspondence and relationships with constituents. Assemblyman Friend represents the 124th Assembly District in the Southern Tier of New York.
Since Assemblyman Christopher Friend was elected in 2010, Chief of Staff Scott Esty recognized the office needed a system to keep track of constituent conversations, concerns or proposed legislation. More than 18,230 people and 5,200 organizations have contacted the office since Friend was elected, so the team desperately needed something to keep track of all the conversations with these contacts and groups. Esty spoke with his colleagues to see what other government offices were using, but found that others hadn’t found an effective solution either. He tried a few different kinds of CRM systems, including Salesforce, but found that it was too focused on financial functions and sales management rather than relationship management, plus its cost was not compatible with the office’s limited budget. That’s when he found Insightly. While Insightly also focuses on sales management, Esty was able to customize the solution to track relationships, issues and concerns as opportunities and projects.
Once he determined how to adapt Insightly to best fit the office’s needs, Esty set up six of the office’s employees on Insightly and began to measure all of the assemblyman’s constituent relationships, including all calls and correspondences, plus the lobbying efforts of different groups presenting their positions. The team was already using Google Apps, so Insightly’s integration made overall processes and workflows easier. Mobile access was also important in choosing a CRM; Esty and his team are frequently out at meetings and town halls speaking with the public and need to be able to access a constituent’s record and history of interactions while they’re meeting.
Esty and his team record all constituent and outside contacts and emails in the Insightly database, citing details from phone or email communication in each individual’s records. Then, those notes are translated into tasks so it’s easy to track how constituents’ requests and needs are met. Beyond individual records, the team also tracks issues within Insightly. For example, citizens write in about dozens of different issues, from reducing taxes to animal rights concerns, so the team will note the specific concerns in Insightly along with contact information for each citizen. As legislation is passed, the team can update each person, or if the team has questions about any of the tracked issues during the research phase, they can go out and contact these people.
Since tracking all of its work with constituents, organizations and lobbyists, the office is much more effective in how it assists each of those groups and assesses legislation before the Assembly. When anyone calls the office, the team member answering the phone can quickly pull up the contact’s record, which sets a positive impression and helps address the caller’s issue more effectively. All correspondence on legislative issues is tracked according to bill number, so when it comes to a vote or debate in a committee meeting, Assemblyman Friend has an advantage in that he’s able to quickly pull up and present constituents’ positions on each bill.
As an office of the New York State Assembly, our overarching purpose is to help solve the problems of the people in our district. Whether it’s getting tax refunds, sorting out DMV issues or getting new legislation passed, we’re able to manage all of the conversations and subsequent progress with all of our constituents through Insightly, which helps us more effectively achieve our purpose.