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Riverside Wants to Know if You’re “Happy or Not?”

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New approach to measuring and improving customer service debuts in City offices, websites

RIVERSIDE, Calif. The City of Riverside, which places a premium on providing excellent customer service, is starting a new effort to measure customer satisfaction in real time through the use of the “Happy or Not” tool in City Hall offices and on some City websites.

Starting today (2/22), Riverside residents and business owners will be able to rate the level of service they receive from City departments in person and online via a series of kiosks, known as Smiley Terminals, stationed around City Hall and a web-based feature, called Web Smileys, on selected City websites.

The tool, already in use in over 3,000 organizations across more than 100 countries, asks anyone who has accessed City services to rate the level of service they received by pressing one of four buttons, ranging in color from bright green with a very happy face to bright red with a very unhappy face.

Every time somebody presses one of the buttons, the data feeds wirelessly into a web-based collection and reporting system to chart how well City employees are serving the public.  The data, which is presented in a dashboard format, then can be used by executive management to determine how and where Riverside can further improve customer service.

“Riverside takes customer service very seriously, and ‘Happy or Not’ is a great tool to document the satisfaction level of the public,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “I look forward to seeing the data in terms of how well we are doing and where we can improve.”

The system is a good fit for Riverside because it collects and reports instant customer feedback both from people who have business at City Hall and from others who interact with the City primarily online. Department heads can monitor customer satisfaction levels within their own service areas, create reports for use in improving government processes, and ultimately improve customer service.

Riverside makes excellent customer service a priority. The City Council listed “enhanced customer service” as its top priority during a strategic planning workshop in 2015. The City’s strategic plan, Riverside 2.0, also emphasized excellent customer service as a top City priority. Customer service is a major factor in the new Citywide Performance Management Program that is under development.

“We know from anecdotal feedback that our residents and business owners appreciate the level of customer service they receive from City employees,” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Gardner said. “This tool will help us put concrete numbers behind those impressions and spot trends where they may occur.”

The program, which is expected to cost $16,787 over two years, will include Smiley Terminals at locations around City Hall: the City Clerk’s Passport Facility, City Manager’s Office, Human Resources Department, Riverside Public Library, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Riverside Police stations on Orange Street and Magnolia Avenue, Riverside Public Utilities’ Customer Service Center, the Innovation and Technology Department, the Community and Economic Development Department’s One-Stop Shop (when completed in July, 2017), and the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department.

Smiley Buttons will be placed on the primary City webpage – – and the webpages for the Library, Museum, Finance/Purchasing division, and three websites of the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department.

More information about how “Happy or Not” works can be found at or at 

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