The City of Grande Prairie embraces digital-first customer service.

Discover how one city modernized its customer experience.

Time to read: 6 minutes

Meet the industry's next trailblazer.

“It’s about being a citizen advocate— you have to create consistency and transparency in order to create value. It’s also about being an organizational champion— being able to understand the flow of our customers' relationship and creating the tools to help navigate that path is key to keeping our citizens informed and connected to the city,” said Douglas McGuire, Corporate Efficiency Advisor and Citizen Experience Supervisor, The City of Grande Prairie.

Grande Prairie, a Canadian city in the province of Alberta, is one of many Municipalities with a population just under 70,000. Beyond its own population, Grande Prairie acts as a regional hub serving an additional 281,000+ people from across Northern Alberta, North Eastern British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. The organization includes an administrative team consisting of over 25 departments each belonging to an overarching service area: Infrastructure and Economic Development, Protective and Social Services, Community Services and Corporate Services.

Fostering a system and culture that encourages and honors excellence in customer service is of great value to the City of Grande Prairie. Their mission is to develop a high-performing, professional organization that strives for a culture of excellence in service delivery, performance effectiveness, industry best practices, and the utilization of innovative technologies. The City of Grande Prairie is grounded by the standards outlined in their mission to which they hold each other accountable. These Guiding Beliefs are part of what helps them do right by the city and do right by delivering big value to their citizens.


As a vibrant community of rapid growth and prosperity in Canada, Grande Prairie is a community of excellence that follows 5 Guiding Beliefs:

  • Service 
  • Integrity 
  • Fun
  • Cooperation
  • Flexibility

In other words, Grande Prairie is a values-driven organization -- one of many best practices they demonstrate in their work


Connecting Citizens to the City

During the pandemic, the City of Grande Prairie quickly discovered they needed to change the way they delivered services to support both the growing number of Gen Y citizens, also known as Millennials, and their thriving city. McGuire and team recognized that in order to be both an organizational champion and advocate for the citizens, building a solid dynamic internally was critical for meeting citizens’ expectations. “We were at the height of crazy — volumes were through the roof, we didn’t have easy access to resources, everybody was working from home, and everything was insane,” said McGuire. The team found themselves struggling to manage call volumes that had tripled in the month of June through September. The need to retire a labor-intensive legacy system with an out-of-the-box solution that was scalable, easy, and flexible was exactly what Grande Prairie sought out to do. “We want to be able to optimize processes and capture them digitally so that we’re not wasting resources,” said McGuire.

In embracing a digital-first means for customer service, static websites would no longer serve to provide the information citizens were expecting from their cities. The City of Grande Prairie saw this as a call to action to begin leading with a new approach of delivering government services— one that involved empowering and arming citizens with the right tools and foundation to be self-reliant and able to take action. “Customer service lives in predictability, we needed to be efficient, consistent, and customer-driven,” said McGuire. The need for automation and process conformity not only would reduce technological debt but also would provide their teams with the tools needed to deliver quality service to their citizens’. Having a holistic picture of live data presented in a user-friendly environment would allow the City of Grande Prairie to connect different departments and work together with real-time updates, creating more accountability, and increasing the completion rate of service requests and customer satisfaction. Additionally, simple reports, dashboards and analytics would help the teams make smarter decisions and scale to deliver services more rapidly. 

The City of Grande Prairie recognized that with a cloud-based CRM and case management system in place, they would have the tools and data  available to meet and even exceed citizen expectations. Motivated by their objectives, the team needed a contact center solution that would automate and optimize processes, maximizing both the citizens’ connection to the city and service delivery. “We want to be the one-stop shop for the citizens, and to do that there’s a need for technology, a partnership that points us directly to Salesforce,” stated McGuire.


Delivering Digital First Services on the Cloud

The team launched AccessGP, a digital engagement center with case management capabilities on the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform for Government. It is a CRM platform that serves as the central contact point to reach the city for information about programs, services, and non-emergency issues. In leveraging the cloud, the team is managing customer calls, emails, counter transactions, and web submissions at its multi-channel contact center to help enhance citizen service and drive operational excellence with a citizen-centric hub. AccessGP gives the team a modern, digital solution that empowers people and processes across the organization with adaptable tools, omni-channel approach capabilities, and reports and dashboard functionalities.

Check out the system:

Customer-First Experience

The customer experience starts as citizens of Grande Prairie enter the AccessGP customer portal via Experience Cloud. When customers visit the portal, they are presented with omni-channel capabilities, whether that be dialing 311, SMS, email, chat, social, or in-person, so the team can deliver service anytime, anywhere from the call center to the web. Self-service options are also readily available for customers to search for knowledge, access previously submitted cases and submit service requests, make complaints, or report problems without contacting a support agent. This helps them achieve more first contact/case resolutions across different channels. In the future the Community login will authenticate citizens to other city apps online providing a single door for citizens to engage with the city.

Case Management

With a case management, tracking, assignment and entitlement engine, Service Cloud enables the organization’s service and support personnel to achieve more first contact resolutions, better maintain Service Level Agreements (SLAs), manage work orders, and increase customer satisfaction.

Automated routing and guided steps walk employees through the workflow, moving from intake to servicing to resolution. Integrated workflow capabilities allow the team to effectively handle and monitor service requests and/or hand-offs to operational staff in the field for faster case resolution time. Knowledge was layered on to serve up top rated articles, FAQs, and need-to-know information to the agent, which then can be incorporated into status update messages and email notifications pushed to citizens automatically– all from their home office.

Digital Engagement

The team deployed Einstein Chatbots to extend their chat features, giving customers more ways to ask questions and engage services using their preferred communication method. This solution helped take down basic information, suggest self-help resources, categorize questions so that they can be tagged and routed for follow up, and more.

The City of Grande Prairie can collect customer support requests from all traditional, digital, and social channels, automate routine processes, route work orders, and open self-service knowledge bases or other help-related tools. Digital engagement capabilities helped the team collaborate and share sources internally with unified data while self-service options for customers were allowing for faster case resolution time. 

Pulling in Data

Grande Prairie built custom apps using Salesforce Platform to unlock GIS Data, assign tasks to different departments, drive efficient processes, and automate workflows. Analyzing and combining datasets using maps and mobile applications have allowed departments like transit and engineering to receive work orders, complete tasks, and close cases without having to log into another system.

Having a CRM allows us to take our citizens in hand, carry them from the time they ask to the time we get to resolution.” “We have been able to walk that path with our customers the whole way through”

Douglas McGuire, Corporate Efficiency Advisor and Citizen Experience Supervisor, The City of Grande Prairie.

Municipalities Deliver Big Value to their Citizens

AccessGP has produced some especially noteworthy metrics:

  • Since implementing Knowledge base and 311, the team has seen a 21% reduction in time spent interacting with citizens over a 3-month period.
  • Since implementing Salesforce CRM, the team has seen an additional 38% reduction in time spent interacting with citizens over the span of 6 months
  • Over 60% reduction in time Operational SMEs spent interacting with citizens
“As we continue to release pieces of the omnichannel, we can start to see the slow shift away from phones,” said McGuire. ”The team is now engaging with customers across devices and delivering exceptional experiences with each interaction. We're leveraging the little resources we have to make massive changes.” 

Questions? We’ll put you on the right path.

Ask about Salesforce products, pricing, implementation, or anything else. Our highly trained reps are standing by, ready to help.