5 Principles for Property Services Technology
Part 1 of 2 in our Property Services blog series
If you’re a property owner in any given community, there are at least a handful of activities you need to take with your local government. In most counties, these fall under nearly as many different agencies. This can be a struggle for residents who need to navigate these services, and a challenge for government staff who answer to confused constituents.
For instance, a person would have to know that they need to:
- Pay property taxes with the Treasurer’s Office,
- Combine real estate parcels with the Assessor’s Office, and
- Apply for a mortgage deduction with the Auditor’s Office.
Without ample digging, people may also miss out on benefits they qualify for—like a senior citizen’s property tax deduction.
Residents don’t know where to look for information. When they do find what they need, they’re often prompted to print out a form and mail it in. Government staff can spend nearly as much time redirecting confused property owners as they do handling the services they actually oversee. Paper-based business processes often mean that staff spend valuable hours correcting inaccurate, unclear, or incomplete information their residents provide on forms. That’s why it’s crucial to transform the digital experience for property owners.
Most county government websites have some information available for residents about their property taxes, and they may offer options to pay online. But common tasks like combining real estate parcels or appealing an assessment may still require people to visit government agencies in person.
Make technology work better for property owners in your county by following this list of guiding principles.
Make information easy to find and understand. Create a central place where property owners can find all the information they need, and use plain language to explain government processes. Feature the most commonly searched for information, and make sure to stay relevant depending on the time of year.
2. Organized by Topic
Most people don’t know which agency oversees the information they’re trying to find—they just know what they’re looking for. Arrange information by topic instead of by agency. Once a person finds what they need by browsing topics or through a simple search, then let them know which agency they can contact for more information or extra support.
Owning property is a serious business. Earn people’s trust by providing a common interface for all activities, including taking payments, all native to your government domain. Improve the user experience for property owners by making every service feel familiar across every agency, and on any device.
4. Digitized End-to-End
Integrate digital services directly with underlying databases or tax payment software. This means a person’s information is validated as they type it in, avoiding incomplete or inaccurate information, like a partial address. With responsive forms, a person only sees the fields they need to fill out. On the back end, information is automatically entered into databases, so staff can get to work on the bigger picture instead of manually entering data.
5. Flexible and Scalable
Use technology that’s solving for your current and future needs. Government ordinances change over time, and constituent needs will, too. Modular technology that breaks information into its smallest parts makes it easy to swap out one piece of the puzzle while keeping everything running smoothly. Secure, cloud-based technology allows you to replace underlying source systems without interrupting the user experience.