BTOES Insights Official
March 31, 2021


Courtesy of DC Government's, Ernest Chrappah wrote a synopsis of her speaking session discussing 'Going Digital to enhance the Customer Experience'. 



Over the past two years the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) has implemented technology enhancements focused on creating value for our customers while improving transparency, accountability, and responsiveness. While there was no way of knowing the pandemic was coming, the agency’s digital transformation had the added benefit of allowing us to seamlessly transition from providing our services in-person to offering them virtually.
Upon taking the helm of DCRA in late 2018, Director Ernest Chrappah set out on a listening tour aimed at learning how best to improve the agency from a range of stakeholders. Using what he learned, Director Chrappah developed a roadmap to the agency’s digital transformation, which we call Vision 2020. Below are highlights from DCRA’s Vision 2020 plan that have resulted in easier and faster experiences for our customers:
1. Launching the Resident Inspector Program: To keep up with a growing population and increasing demand for inspections, DCRA launched this innovative approach that applies successful elements of the on-demand, gig economy to three of the most requested types of inspections performed by DCRA. Put simply, DCRA trains District of Columbia residents to perform housing, illegal construction, and vacant building inspections, and then pays the trained inspectors whenever they successfully complete an inspection. As a result of the program, DCRA has more than doubled its inspection capacity, allowing the agency to respond to inspection requests faster, sometimes almost instantaneously. Since the launch of the Resident Inspector Program in June of 2019, DCRA has certified more than 170 resident inspectors that have completed more than 2500 inspections.

2. Revamping the Customer Experience: We developed an online customer relationship management platform to manage all our customer interactions. Now, whenever and however someone contacts DCRA, their inquiry is logged into our system. From there it’s routed to the appropriate staffer with expertise on the issue. The employee is also timed, ensuring that the issue is resolved within three business days. Customers are also sent satisfaction surveys after their issue has been resolved, allowing us to track our progress and address where we’re falling short. As January 14, 2021, 90% of DCRA customers rated the agency excellent or satisfactory.
30-Feb-05-2021-03-36-18-71-PM3. Developing Accelerated Building Plan Reviews: As the city agency responsible for reviewing building plans, we know how eager developers are to have their projects reviewed and approved so they can start building. To speed up this process, especially for smaller projects, DCRA developed a virtual plan review program that brings all of the necessary players together in real-time via WebEx. Once together, the agency’s plan reviewers can show architects issues they’ve spotted, and then allow the architects to address the issues on-the-spot.

4. Creating an Online Performance Dashboard: The goal was develop an online platform that would allow the public to see all of DCRA’s performance metrics, in order to objectively show where we’re improving and where we’re falling short. As a result of this effort, there are now nine categories of data transparently available for viewing—everything from how fast the agency issues building permits to the type and amount of enforcement fines we’ve issued.

These are just some of the accomplishments DCRA has been able to achieve through our Vision 2020 Digital Transformation.


About the Author

more (46)-2Ernest Chrappah,
Director, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 

My mission is to improve cities by striving with things perceived as impossible, applying innovation to solve complex problems, building high performing teams, and using a liberal dosage of data and tech driven strategies to improve services for consumers and businesses. 


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