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Responding to a Citizen

Reference Number: MTAS-1447
Reviewed Date: 10/12/2018

It's important to keep in touch with citizens who have asked for service or have complained. If the request is made in person or on the phone, the first contact is to acknowledge receipt of the request and thank the citizen for the information. Some cities also contact the citizen upon completion of the work.

When acknowledging receipt of a service request by letter, e-mail or phone, it's typical to give a date the request will be handled and to name the department handling it. In a centralized system, it's a good practice to have the department give the citizen a call back the same day, since many problems may be resolved before a letter is received.

Callbacks and e-mail are significantly less expensive than letters for towns with a lot of citizen service requests. Charlotte, N. C. aims for a one-day callback. The citizen is told when the work will be done, that the work is completed, or why it can't be done at all. Most cities will track work progress for any citizen who asks.

Many cities make contact with a citizen only when the request is satisfied. Towns with smaller budgets and those with a large amount of service requests should remember that a phone call or e-mail is cheaper than postage. Another option is to leave a notice at the citizen's door after the work is done.