Public works projects are getting “app-ified.” Similar to a recent initiative in Boston, the Sacramento, California suburb of Elk Grove recently released a mobile application called Ask Elk Grove  that allows residents to to submit public works requests wirelessly — no more calling up City Hall to complain about the pothole on Main Street.

Requests sent in through the app, which can also include photos and additional comments, are routed to the relevant department. Once the request’s been assigned and a worker dispatched, the person who sent in the service call can receive status updates on the job right on their smartphone. The app was developed by a company called PublicStuff.

It’s a great idea for cities in both streamlining service and leveraging the crowd-sourcing power of smartphones. And it’s something field service organizations should take note of, too. Elk Grove officials say the new program has been a hit with residents, and that fix times have already improved.

By streamlining simple service requests, organizations can not only save money on call centers and other customer support systems, but also provide customers with a quick, painless, easy-to-use channel that they overwhelmingly seem to want to use. And if city government can get it together to get on board and behind a plan like this, certainly your organization can, too.

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Click here to download a free whitepaper, “Five Steps to Make Field Service Profitable.”