The bulk of users accessing council services are in 'Generations' X and Y.
81% of Generation X (aged 36-54) go to the internet first to resolve a query.
Generation Y (aged 24-35) are more likely to complain about/recommend a digital service. They also spend more than double the length of time on a smart phone each week!
Consumer driven services mean that they expect your services to:
- be available 24/7
- be simple to use on any device and
- keep them in the loop
Most importantly, they expect the services to be so good they don't need to phone you.
Different online forms across our council users
For years multi-department organisations like councils have had an aspiration of having :
A single view of the customer
In the 'CRM age' of the noughties this was logical but in 2019, when digital services can be better than alternative channels, it is about something else:
A single view of the council
The ability to empower your customers to access all of their account/case/claim information for every department quickly and easily is vastly more valuable than a council spending a huge amount of money to know that John Smith in licensing is the same John Smith in housing.
Citizens want the convenience of access to all departments 24/7. If you provide it you'll see channel shift exponentially increase to digital.
A single view of a council realised
We think differently. We didn’t see value in replicating back office systems’ functions in a citizen’s account.
We knew councils would need to answer the questions they knew customers would ask in a way that made digital their channel of choice.
Using customer service statistics, not assumptions or guesses, the optimum way to reduce calls is to provide answers to the top volume questions in a way that is personalised, quick and simple to access.
It seems like common sense to provide a service that answers the questions people phone to ask. Yet OneVu was the first and we believe, is still, the only solution to offer this approach.
Every council’s customer service demands are different (to lesser/greater degrees) owing to the demographics of the community it serves.
This led to a challenge:
How do we enable both the council and customer to have personalised content?
Personalised FAQs enable business users to add/amend/remove content from the citizen portal whenever they like. This means when policies/demands change you can adapt and evolve content to reflect this.
If customer services feedback content is missing or a question could be answered better, this change can be made straight away.
Meaning no development costs, no need for IT and reduced costs and improved operational resilience as a result.
Transactions shifted to out of hours
A council can have the most incredible digital service but if a person cannot track the progress of a request when they’ve submitted it, it is a breeding ground for failure demand.
It is human nature to assume that the instant something is completed online someone is dealing with it. In practice this may not be the case.
The reason companies like the Royal Mail, Amazon, Domino's and Just Eat keep their customers informed with the progress is to remove the inevitable phone calls chasing progress. But a great by product is an enhanced user journey created by:
Setting customer expectations
Without this a user may think their request has disappeared into the ether or they might have unrealistic expectations because they’ve not been set.
30-40% of calls to Councils are simply chasing progress - if you have a platform-based approach to service delivery, most of these can be removed simply by enabling all processes to be tracked online.
Processes can be tracked online by customers
Keeping customers in the loop across every single service might sound tricky. But with OneVu, councils have the ability without help from IT to make any process trackable.
What this means is that, on top of seeing the various steps of a process, for every council service your customers:
- know when something will be completed the instant they submit it
- can add information requested by council staff online
- can upload supporting documents online
And your staff:
- can request information from customers through the medium of the customer’s account
- are provided with information/documents uploaded in real-time.
Maximising engagement through digital take up reduces costs in a variety of ways.
The challenge is knowing what users want to be told about and how they should be told about it.
The traditional approach to sending notifications to customers electronically involves councils buying multiple different systems to provide eBilling / eNotifications for each back office department.
This costs more and increases reliance upon the multitude of legacy system providers.
What if it could be done differently?
Councils send notifications to customers for hundreds of reasons but, taking a platform-based approach, what’s more relevant is how they’re contacted. The traditional approach to sending notifications to customers electronically involves buying multiple different systems to provide eBilling / eNotifications for each back office department.
Rather than creating bespoke back office functions with nuances in levels of function and extendability, it is better to have a generic eNotification function for ALL departments.
A function that can be expanded by councils when they want it to. One that enables customers to opt in to new notifications types through their preferred contact method.
As a minimum these should be:
- Facebook Messenger*
*The largest user of Facebook is generation X, which also happens to be the largest user of council’s digital services.
eBills to be sent in a London Borough Council
Of Council Departments supported
On the number of use cases.
Costs from removal of paper based process
Up to now service transformation has focused on digitisation and automation. The next phase and the area we expect councils to shift their attention to next is prevention. As Hippocrates said:
"Prevention is better than a cure"
Local authorities currently have a head start in acting as the focal point for their citizens. People expect to find helpful services provided by their councils. There is an inherent level of trust in the service offer, and a local focus with a democratic core that is unique.
Designing a service around the needs and preferences of the user would mean that many people could intelligently self-serve, using technology available and proven today. Self-assessment tools offered by a local authority, as a trusted provider, would help individual service users identify their specific support needs.
Those who need more significant support could be sign-posted to the appropriate professionals. A Service Finder, designed to help the individual user, would enquire against a place-based Directory of Services. It would help filter out irrelevant services and enable the individual user to engage with the service provider.
We regularly run webinars so you can get a flavour of how OneVu is enabling service transformation across councils.
If you'd like to join one or have a conversation with someone, you can get in touch here: