landscape shot of the City of Port Coquitlam

"Since turning on the new customer user interface (CUI) modules, we have noticed a reduction of complaints and issues related to using the online ACTIVENet system, so naturally that translates to more customers using it independently, which is great."

Kegan Belina, Project Implementation Specialist
How ACTIVENet's product enhancements and recreation technology has increased the engagement at the City of Port Coquitlam
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The City of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, is a community of 61,000 with a strategic location in Metro Vancouver, the hometown of Canadian hero Terry Fox. Port Coquitlam has earned national recognition for being a livable city and is known for its affordability, accessible location, extensive parks and trail network, family-oriented services, large community spirit, charming historic downtown and business-friendly approach. 

Port Coquitlam is a happy, vibrant, safe community with healthy, engaged residents and thriving businesses, supported by sustainable resources and services. The Recreation Department provides inclusive recreation, sport, arts and culture services, programs and facilities to support a healthy engaged community. Port Coquitlam welcomes everyone to visit and discover their pools, arenas, picnic facilities, athletic fields, ball parks, trails, meeting rooms and banquet facilities. 

Program Activities 

In 2018, the city added a Project Implementation Specialist position in their Recreation Department – Administration Division and hired former ACTIVE Network professional services consultant, Kegan Belina. 

“Key drivers and council priorities in Port Coquitlam include getting the basics right and improving customer service. We focus on delivering core services that our residents consider essential and taking our work seriously but not ourselves,” Belina says.   

The city continues to rebuild programs and services in response to post-COVID-19 pandemic community readiness. In 2021, the city offered 2,208 registered program activities that produced 12,185 registrations from 7,523 customers while also offering 10,545 registered “drop-in” activities that produced 124,377 registrations from 22,494 customers.    

ACTIVENet’s CUI Modules

With new ACTIVENet releases, product enhancements and more, our recreation management technology continues to help elevate the customer experience so they can stand out from the crowd, achieve more with our current resources and create new revenue-generating opportunities for their organizations. This allows them to put more control in their customers’ hands with enhancements to signups, membership detail access and account balances. 

After the pandemic hit, the city was looking to improve customer service and offer more online registration options. Belina leaned on the new ACTIVENet CUI modules and elements by enabling Activity Registration, Facility Reservation, My Account, and New Sign-up Workflow. 

“Online Rentals is a big winner for us so far and having mobile responsiveness on the Activity Registration module (and elsewhere) has been great! Our account manager, Marcus, has been very responsive to our needs and has shared clear roadmaps with us that help us plan our phased rollout of the new CUI,” Belina says.    

Implementation Process 

When asked what the process looked like, Belina shares, “Thankfully we now have two positions that support ACTIVENet as a part of their portfolios in Port Coquitlam’s recreation department. We are able to try new things and be early adopters of the new technology, as one of us is generally nearby to help with issues that arise. We pay close attention to roadmaps and release notes, and we frequently conduct user acceptance testing in Sandbox and Trainer. We have access to Windows desktop computers, Apple iPads, and Apple/Android phones for ensuring we are familiar with how the responsive UI functions on various operating systems and display sizes. The city conducts quarterly 'tech programming' classroom style training/review seminars with all of our recreation programs and support staff to ensure they are staying on top of all new updates as it relates to programming.  We also conduct monthly/quarterly 'back to the basics' training with our rec support and customer service staff to ensure they are able to understand and can explain all of the new changes to our customers.” 

Favorite Features

Generally, mobile responsiveness was a game changer, as that was a true pain point prior to the introduction of the new CUI with so many customers using mobile. Online Bookings, Online Calendars and My Account Calendars have all been very well received by the city’s customers and helped relieve many of the phone calls for customer support. Customers can help themselves more and more with each update, 24/7.   

“New Reservations has completely removed the request/review/approve/communicate processes for simple bookings like park shelters and sport courts. This allowed time for customer service and recreation support staff to focus on user groups and special events that require more back and forth with customers. Since the pandemic, we have been faced with budget and staffing challenges, so automating the basics helps us focus on improving customer service where it’s needed most,” Belina says. 

Rave Results

Turning on the new CUI modules has built trust within the community and helped create efficient workflows. Belina says, “Since turning on the new CUI modules, we have noticed a reduction of complaints and issues related to using the online ACTIVENet system, so naturally that translates to more customers using it independently, which is great.” Additionally, this empowers staff members to dedicate more time to in person customer service. 

Tips for ACTIVENet Users

Belina urges fellow ACTIVENet users to be willing to test on both desktop and mobile devices, as the experience is different. Holding a mobile phone in landscape often replicates a desktop-like experience, whereas holding the device vertically may result in a different experience. He recommends factoring in testing, as certain items could collapse, move around or in some cases, simply not be available.  

Cheat sheets for customers and staff are imperative when explaining the changes and steps for using the new CUI successfully, as some users may adapt more slowly and/or be resistant to change. When it comes to staff members, it’s necessary to brief and train customer service staff on how to resize their desktop browser on desktop to imitate the mobile experience. The design is responsive, so staff members can walk a customer through a transaction as opposed to reverting to doing transactions for customers on their behalf. “Teaching people to fish as opposed to giving people a fish truly goes a long way,” Belina laughs. 

The city intentionally makes upgrades on a Monday or Tuesday during non-peak hours, this way if mistakes happen, there is time in your week to revert back to the old version until resolved.

What’s Next

The city is eager to try the ACTIVENet Captivate app. Belina says, “API’s might be a next-year project, as we have digital signage throughout our facilities and would love to display schedule content in real time. We will be taking a deep dive into ACTIVENet Connect as it continues to develop since we are only using it for check-ins as of now.” In addition to the apps, the city is also looking forward to the new CUI memberships module. It’s definitely an exciting time to be an ACTIVENet user!

Are you ready to turn on the new CUI modules? Connect with your account manager today! To learn how ACTIVENet can help your organization, contact us here.

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