The smartest cities and towns in Europe are discovering how to use technology and redesign internal operational procedures to deliver more efficient and effective services to their customers. Some municipalities may have to reengineer their business processes, some may choose to centralise their customer service activities. Sometimes they may have to think more strategically about the channels they use for customer interactions.
Whatever changes a municipality must make, customer-centricity – the true essence of ‘smart’ – comes down to people. Technology is a means to an end, but a clever new e-service will all but fail if people don’t like it or won’t use it. Municipal employees, whether they are inconspicuous administrators or face citizens every day in a neighbourhood office, must understand that their work must always focus on servicing customers. Customers, meanwhile, must be ready to engage with their city authorities and work in partnership to make every e-service deliver on its promises.