As the pandemic forces municipalities to find new ways to deliver meaningful and effective customer service with physical distancing, potential office closures and a shift away from paper as a safe means of exchanging information, e-permitting is on the rise.

The municipal building department in the Town of St. Marys, a town nicknamed “The Stonetown” in southwestern Ontario with a population of 7,000 residents, has always acted with customer service as a top priority.

During COVID-19, they had to consider how to still deliver a high customer service standard in the “new normal”.

“Before COVID-19, our customer service was mostly face-to-face as we were 95% paper and had contractors who would come in to ask a question or two,” explained Grant Brouwer, Director of Building and Development for the Town of St. Marys and President of the OBOA (Ontario Building Officials Association). “We were worried that e-permitting would take away from our customer service, but we’ve since discovered that Cloudpermit has enabled us to continue to provide excellent customer service to our community.”

Before a full Cloudpermit implementation in early 2021, the Town of St. Marys created a soft launch two months ago for its busiest builders and new residential projects.

“We had to consider how one-off applicants and those who are less digitally-inclined would find applying for permits online, and they’ve found it easy to pick up and use which has been great,” said Jason Silcox, Building Inspector for the Town of St. Marys. “We’re using the communication tool within the software to talk with first-time users about how we can help make their transition to digital permits as smooth as possible and to ensure we deliver exceptional customer service.”

St. Marys and Cloudpermit’s shared focus on customer service as a top priority has enabled the municipal building department to deliver meaningful support to applicants and builders online.

“The Cloudpermit team has helped us during this entire implementation process and is always happy to address our feedback and questions,” assured Brouwer. “The support that we’ve received from Cloudpermit has led us to where we are today."

As St. Marys helps its community transition from paper-based to online permit applications, Cloudpermit’s attention to customer service has not gone unnoticed.

“Municipality size doesn’t matter to Cloudpermit,” shared Silcox. “From populations of 450,000 residents to 7,000 residents like St. Marys, Cloudpermit’s customer service is there for all municipalities.”

The St. Marys municipal building department has a found new way to deliver a high standard of personalized customer support to its community by adopting e-permitting – St.Marys is helping guide municipalities of all sizes toward excellent customer service during the pandemic with Cloudpermit.