VoiceSage’s John Duffy discusses the council’s pioneering use of outreach tech in a Citizen Relationship Management context
“The challenge was to try and bring customer experience across the whole of the council together, and centralise it in order to understand what our customers thought of their overall experience of dealing with us.”
Many of us will be familiar with the need to get a 360 degree view of the customer across our commercial organisations. But what does that task looks like in a local government context?
We recently had the chance to find out, when we spoke with the Head of Customer Services at Surrey’s Elmbridge Borough Council, Dawn Crewe.
That was in the context of the a recent industry expo where we conducted a range of vox pop videos [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nbWH4-R4X8] which are also available as interviews here [http://www.voicesage.com/index.php/the-power-of-proactive-in-practice-elmbridge-voicesage-part-i-of-ii/].
A key topic we explored in these exchanges – as crystallised in Dawn’s quote above – was the need identified by Elmbridge’s leadership to improve customer outreach.
Traditionally, Elmbridge had little cross-departmental or cross-function joint working because each of its departments worked in silos. To finally solve the problem and heal the breaches, Dawn worked jointly with her head of ICT.
“We looked at the marketplace and the best technology for us was Microsoft Dynamics for our CRM, to deliver this vision.”
An explicit aim was to deliver a ‘360°’ customer experience, tracking a case all the way through to completion, then asking what the customer thought of their whole experience.
“We needed that immediate customer feedback, and we found that VoiceSage was the best in the marketplace at the time.”
That complete, holistic picture is then used as constant input to an on-going process improvement and review process at the public sector organisation.
“It has been a remarkable journey,” says Dawn. “We started off at a slow pace because we were putting the building blocks of the technology, especially of the CRM, together, redesigning processes that make it easy for customers to work with others, whether online or by phone or visiting us.”
But was it worth the effort? The results say overwhelmingly, yes. Dawn points to very positive comments from residents, a growing number of reassuringly high satisfaction rates, plus great feedback from other council teams about what’s starting to happen.
The next focus area at Elmbridge: improving responsiveness. “Our next step is to try and be more proactive in our contact to customers, being more proactive rather than waiting for them to contact us.”
Summing up her team’s experience with using proactive contact technology, for Dawn, “Our aspiration was to make things as easy as possible for customers to use our services when they needed them, so that they could get on with their day-to-day business.
“Our customers tell us that’s what we are delivering.”
Go here [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nbWH4-R4X8] for Dawn’s interview with us, while a written version can be found here [http://www.voicesage.com/index.php/the-power-of-proactive-in-practice-elmbridge-voicesage-part-i-of-ii/]
The author is Enterprise Consultant at VoiceSage [www.voicesage.com], a provider of customer outreach technologies