The Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office won the Thomson Reuters Jurisdiction of the Year Award, which was presented to the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office on September 20, 2017.
Awards are presented to government public sector offices as a means to celebrate those who serve their communities with excellence, leadership, and accountability. Thomson Reuters selects award winners from hundreds of offices throughout the world.
Gus Martinez, Assessor – Santa Fe County, New Mexico
Santa Fe County’s smart use of live chat and social media has earned it huge dividends—not only in greater efficiency, but in public trust, too. Using live online chats—about 35 per day and 30,000 over the last three years—staffers guide taxpayers one-on-one through the county website. Doing so has not only increased public understanding, but reduced phone calls and office walk-ins as well. “If you look at our social media pages and the reviews we get, you’ll see we have a 4.9-star review out of 5,” says department administrator Daniel Fresquez. “That’s amazing for a government agency.” — Thomson Reuters
“All of our hard work and innovative ideas continue to pay off, we continue to receive positive feedback from the citizens we serve. The award affirms that we are heading in a positive direction, it is something I am very proud of as our office continues to strive to be better and find ways to better serve the public,” said Assessor Martinez.
This is the second award the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office has won, in August 2016 they were presented with the Public Information Program Award for similar efforts.
The following statements were made during the September 20, 2017 presentation:
- We’re pleased to announce the Jurisdiction of the Year award goes to the Innovative Office of the Santa Fe County Assessor. They’ve become a model office in the state of New Mexico because of their use of technology to streamline operations.
- They’ve also perfected the old school and highly effective idea of having real people answer calls, so constituents could receive more immediate personal response.
- The Assessor’s Office has reached out to the public through multiple social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, YouTube, etc. Social media has been invaluable with informing constituents about outreach meetings, sharing important information, and soliciting public feedback.
- They have also introduced an on-line live chat. With an average of 35 conversations a day, the 10 chat agents who are all experts in the appraisal field are there to help customers get answers to basic questions, send files and navigate the website.
- The Santa Fe office has also employed advertising, local radio, newspaper, magazines and more to inform the public about how tax rates are generated and how they can lower their taxable value through exemptions and valuation protests. They’ve also used advertising to educate the public on tax concepts such as notices of value.
- The Santa Fe Assessor’s Office has solicited public feedback to ensure they’re always delivering highest quality service. Since they’ve started the new program their average staff feedback score has been an astounding 99.9% positive.
- Their goal is to continually find better more effective ways to deliver service. As one customer said about their website, “All government sites should operate this way!”