Want to report a pothole but don’t have the time to call or email the City? Text Citibot. Need to set up a bulk trash pick-up to get rid of an old sofa? Text Citibot. The City of Williamsburg is the second city in the country to launch Citibot, America’s first interactive text messaging and customer service software system for civic engagement with government. Using text messaging, Citibot will report a city issue, search the City website, send notifications and analyze data.
“Think of Citibot as a personal assistant, like Siri or Alexa,” says Mark Barham, the City’s Director of Information Technology. “Simply text ‘hello’ to Citibot and it will ask you whether you want to search the City’s website for information, report an issue or send a message.” If you tell Citibot you want to search for information on business licenses, it will send you a link to that information on the City’s website; tell Citibot you want to report a pothole and it will take your information and put it on the City’s to-do list; or simply send a message to City staff. When the City fixes the reported issue, Citibot will follow-up to let the citizen know their query has been resolved.
“The implementation of Citibot will help make our city a smarter and more efficient place to do business,” said Barham. “Through utilizing SMS and other existing messaging applications, we’ll be able to easily and efficiently communicate with our citizens. Citibot will provide our city with long lasting solutions to everyday civic challenges.”
See the Williamsburg, VA website here for more information.