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Governor Parson presents three state teams with the Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity, recognizes continuous improvement throughout state government operations

May 13, 2021

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today, Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, and the Office of Administration recognized three state teams with the 2020 Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity (GAQP). The award acknowledges accomplishments that serve as an example of continuous improvement, quality, efficiency and productivity in Missouri state government.

Teams were honored today during a special ceremony in the Missouri Capitol’s First Floor Rotunda.

“These teams are great examples of what can be accomplished by our public servants here in the state of Missouri,” said Governor Mike Parson. “Each team rose to the many challenges we faced this past year and developed new solutions to improve the lives of Missourians. Thanks to their hard work and commitment, these projects will continue to move our state forward.”

All winning nominations were required to meet criteria related to effectiveness, responsiveness and efficiency that would serve as a model of excellence for other work teams in state government. This year’s GAQP recipients include:

Customer Service Category

Missouri State Parks Virtual Interpretation Project – Department of Natural Resources

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources responded to COVID-19 and the necessity to engage in social distancing by finding ways to allow park users to continue to explore the Missouri state park system virtually. DNR team members found ways to maintain engagement with park users through non-traditional means with the goal of inspiring future in-person visits. 

The primary goals of the project were to provide entertaining and educational videos to be used in lesson plans, to replace in-person programs and events with dynamic virtual ones that were just as inspiring and enjoyable, and to do so in a timely and responsive manner that allowed us to maintain relevancy with our customers.

Teams began compiling video content that could be presented on social media platforms. The videos covered a range of topics, including storybook reading, kayaking and other recreational demonstrations, exploring natural history topics, learning about Missouri’s history, and experiencing rarely seen events such as a Monarch caterpillar entering its chrysalis state.

From the time social distancing measures were implemented, Missouri State Parks posted 49 videos on its three main social media platforms. These videos have received nearly 200,000 views, and the state parks’ social media accounts have gained more than 17,000 new followers.

Efficiency/Process Improvement Category

Maintenance Management System Phase 1 – Department of Transportation

The Missouri Department of Transportation designed a web-based program to capture and report data related to all maintenance activities, including winter operations, equipment and labor. This program, known as Maintenance Management System, improves processes and captures greater efficiency among approximately 3,000 maintenance team members. 

The team wanted to understand how each of MoDOT’s seven districts managed maintenance activities, what obstacles were faced, what software was used, and how tracking and reporting tasks could be made more efficient. The goal was to create a single program for maintenance personnel to assign work and equipment, as well as to document work, materials used and the location of the work. In addition, the system would provide results and performance data so leadership could make informed decisions on the best use of available resources.

This technological shift promises to make MoDOT more efficient as it continues to maintain approximately 34,000 miles of state roads and 10,400 state bridges. The access to rich amounts of reliable and timely data will take decision-making to the next level.

Innovation Category

DORA Chatbot Project – Department of Revenue

The Department of Revenue (DOR) receives on average more than 1.55 million call center contacts each year. Not all contacts are answered due to call volumes or customers disconnecting the call. On their own initiative, the project team found a new way to interact with customers to assist them in meeting their obligations.

The primary goal was to streamline the customer experience by providing a 24/7 self-service option to assist customers with their common tax, motor vehicle and driver licensing questions. Offering this service would also help reduce the volume of incoming calls, thereby allowing call center agents to focus on more complex customer inquiries. In November 2019, the DOR became the first state agency in Missouri to utilize chatbot technology on its public website. DORA, which stands for Department of Revenue Answers, is the DOR’s virtual teammate, programmed to respond to common questions the Department’s call centers receive.

The project’s success is measured by the number of customers who ask DORA questions and receive appropriate and correct responses. A dashboard platform shows measures of how many messages and unique sessions are received each week. The dashboard notes whether or not DORA correctly answers the questions and measures the usage during business hours, after business hours and on weekends. The project team uses these weekly statistics to identify customer trends, chatbot training opportunities and new questions and answers our customers are seeking. For example, since implementation, the project team has added 104 new questions and answers and 2,744 alternate training items to the DORA knowledge base.

Throughout 2020, the Department of Revenue saw single-day totals in excess of 12,000 virtual assistant inquires. This is especially meaningful in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the need to communicate with customers has never been greater.

For a complete description of each award or to learn more about the Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity, visit here. Since 1988, this prestigious award program has recognized service excellence, encouraged and rewarded innovation, and reinforced pride in service to Missouri state government. The GAQP program is administered by the Office of Administration, Division of Personnel.