From programs that track public sentiment trends across time to streamlining town hall invitations, the expansion of iConstituent’s services to federal and state executive leadership is a hallmark of the company’s client base growth, according to CEO and co-founder Zain Khan.
iConstituent’s data tracking products allow a Congressional staff, or a state executive’s staff, to track trends in voter sentiment across time. The use of integrated heat mapping, which uses color (rather than height or width as in bar graphs) to visualize trends and comparisons, provides a common reference point for staff to come together and use such data to predict upcoming political battles, form strategic narratives, and check their assumptions against the reality of aggregate data on constituent sentiment.
The use of visual communication is not new for iConstituent. Maps have played a unique and interesting role in the company’s CRM product navigation, with the platform’s dashboard displaying a map that connects the top tags of the week to the geographical location they came from—a similarly accessible visual representation of trends and geography.
The company has also announced new text messaging functionality for inviting constituents to upcoming town halls and other functions. Recent news stories of lawmakers “ditching” town halls has caused concern that these important meetings may be in decline, a bad sign for democracy.
“We think town halls are important for members of Congress to attend, but you know, we generally always think constituent communication is a good idea,” said Aaron Stowers, Client Success Manager. “We’re happy to make it easier.”
Helping staff where help is needed most: The company’s clients now include the lieutenant governors of two of the country’s most populated states, and a growing number of federal clients. Incoming constituent communication can be overwhelming, and must be handled quickly, often with scant staff resources.
One of the biggest challenges for both federal lawmakers and state government offices is caps on staff—sometimes fiscal, sometimes statutory. Staff limits, whether by federal law applying to federal positions, or the laws of particular states, can tempt chiefs-of-staff to deprioritize constituent communication. Budgetary limits can have a similar consequence. So iConstituent services can help even two or three staffers handle large amounts of incoming communications quickly. Similarly, iConstituent speeds up communication with local agencies like the DMV, social services, DOT, and more. iConstituent also emphasizes helping staff move off of shared email inboxes. Those shared accounts can create inconsistency issues in cases of staff leave or turnover. The company’s products similarly consolidate otherwise disjointed forms of tracking (think of miles of different spreadsheets). If done right, the end result can be quicker response times, quicker data retrieval, and more efficient use of precious work time.
“Experienced staffers will tell you that slow communication slows everything else down,” says Khan. “We help speed things up.”
iConstituent was founded founded in 2002 to help public officials communicate with their constituents. The company’s expanded services for federal and state government offices and elected officials are part of an overall expansion in its profile of service reaching tens of millions of constituents across the country, said Michael Cohen, VP, Sales and Product Strategy.