Service First is a core value of the Council, expressing its firm ambition to become a more customer focused organisation

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1 Service First Customer Services Strategy 1. Introduction Service First is a core value of the Council, expressing its firm ambition to become a more customer focused organisation The aim of this document is to flesh out what this means in practice - setting out a vision of what our customers experience should be when dealing with the Council and the principles which underpin this vision, a clear business case for implementing the vision, and a three year action plan to take us from where we are today to where we know customers want us to be in three years time. The strategy and workplan, with its focus on improving the Council s culture of customer care and making it easier to for customers get through to us and resolve their queries at first point of contact, will ensure that the Council becomes better at customer services, faster. London Borough of Hackney 1

2 2. Service First Customer Services Strategy - Vision and Principles Service First is both a key value of the Council in support of its vision of Making Hackney a Better Place, and a major programme of work to support the delivery the Mayor s Priority 2: Making sure the Council is high performing and efficient. Service First Customer Service Vision: Hackney Council will be a customer focused organisation, delivering services which are accessible, responsive, high quality, and which provide good value for money To achieve the service vision the relationship between the Council and its customers needs to be changed. Instead of putting the Council at the centre: London Borough of Hackney 2

3 the Council needs to put the customer at the centre: (larger versions of these two diagrams are a attached as Appendix C) Service First Customer Services Principles In order to achieve an improvement in customer access and customer care the Council will adopt the following principles: Customer Access We will make it easier for all our customers to access the services they need by providing a single point of access to all Council services - increasing our ability to answer the phone promptly, to reduce queuing times, and to allow customers to serve themselves. We will develop the customer contact channels and associated tools to allow services to maximise their effectiveness and value for money. We will aim to resolve customer enquiries at first point of contact through whichever channel the customer uses. We will have a single view of our customers to provide a joined-up service, irrespective of the service and channel they use, and to provide proactive and targeted services where appropriate. Customer Care We will build the culture and capacity of the organisation to support the delivery of service through the single front office. London Borough of Hackney 3

4 We will have corporate standards for customer care across all services and all channels. We will listen to our customers to understand their needs, wants and expectations. We will embed customer insight into the organisation to help improve services and increase customer satisfaction. Partnership We believe that our customer services vision and principles are best achieved by working with our partners to provide consistent service standards and joined up services across the public sector, and will work with then to implement the Public Service Promise. Equal access for all We are committed improving access to services and customer care for all our customers, and we believe that a single point of access to Council services and consistent standards of customer care will improve the Council s ability to meet the needs of Hackney s diverse community. London Borough of Hackney 4

5 3. Why must the Council become more customer focussed? There are many reasons why the Council is committed to improving customer services: it is a key part of the manifesto of the current administration, Government believes it is a key performance measure for local authorities, and it underpins any drive to provide more joined up services across public services. However the Council s prime motivation is that customers expect and deserve good customer service. Customer feedback The Council has been told by customers, through a range of channels - customer surveys, focus groups, customer segmentation and mystery shopping that: Hackney has the second lowest customer satisfaction score in London, and many residents see the Council as remote and impersonal. However, there is evidence of an increase in customer satisfaction where customer care and customer access is improved for example, in the Hackney Service Centre, where customer satisfaction is running at well over its target of 85% Telephone is the most popular and preferred - contact channel. Face to face is the second most popular, but a significant number of residents use this channel because they lack trust in other contact channels. There is a small but growing interest in using web services, particularly amongst the under 35s, whom Hackney expects to settle and work in the Borough, to help build a positive, thriving community. Customers want convenience, consistency, personal service and choice from Council services. Some residents have already expressed a preference for single telephone number to access all services. There is support for the idea of a single view of the customer, and for sharing information to enable this. Benefits of improved customer services The benefits for customers of achieving the Service First Customer Service vision are that : Customers will find it easier to access Council services because there will be a single point of access over the phone (via the HSC), face to face (via the Service First Centre) and over the web (via the secure My Hackney personalised services portal). Customers will experience the same, high standard of service irrespective of which contact channel they choose to use. Customers will be able to resolve many queries at the first point of London Borough of Hackney 5

6 contact, including queries that span more than one service, without being sent from pillar to post. Customers will benefit from targeted information from the Council, to help them make the most of the services appropriate to their needs. Customers will not need to repeat basic information about themselves each time they contact the Council. Customers will be able to check the progress of their queries, using any contact channel. Customers will feel that the Council is listening to their views and has an appreciation of their needs. London Borough of Hackney 6

7 4. How will we improve customer services? The Council s vision for improved customer service will be delivered through four workstreams: Customer Access Customer Care Culture Customer-facing ICT Customer Insight The first two workstreams focus respectively on improving access to services and on improving the quality of the customer experience - ensuring that a culture of customer care is embedded in the organisation and that feedback from customers is consistently used to improve services. The second two workstreams are intended to support the achievement of the first two and reflect two key principles that a consistent and corporate approach to customer services can only be significantly improved by the effective use of information and communications technologies and a corporate approach to data, and that service improvement needs to be based on a good understanding of our customers, our interactions with them and their changing needs. Appendix A is a three year outline workplan for the workstreams with the following key activities prioritised for Phase 1: develop e-tools and transactional web (integrated with CRM) to support service and customer migration to the web; continue HSC transfers with CRM; continue to improve HSC performance through training and ICT; initiate customer care culture programme; agree service transfer plans for phone, web and face to face for implementation in Phase 2; work with partners to implement the Public Service Promise. The following four sections describe the four worsktreams and their key activities. London Borough of Hackney 7

8 5. Customer access Customer Access Principles We will make it easier for all our customers to access the services they need by providing a single point of access to all Council services - increasing our ability to answer the phone promptly, to reduce queuing times, and to allow customers to serve themselves. We will develop the customer contact channels and associated tools to allow services to maximise their effectiveness and value for money. We will aim to resolve customer enquiries at first point of contact through whichever channel the customer uses. We will have a single view of our customers to provide a joined-up service, irrespective of the service and channel they use, and to provide proactive and targeted services where appropriate. Delivering improved customer access The single front office (SFO) is the most effective and efficient way of improving access to services: effective, because it provides a simpler way for customers to access Council services without having to understand our organisational structure; efficient, because providing the service quality, responsiveness, and the extended hours which customers expect would be prohibitive if each service had to make its own arrangements. There is also evidence from other authorities is that this approach can deliver not only improved customer experience, but over time, considerable cashable savings. Therefore we are committed to providing a single point of access to customers through whichever channel they choose to contact us: 1. through a single telephone number to a blended contact centre 1, which will handle at least 80% of all customer calls to the Council, and which will resolve 80% of those calls at first point of contact; 2. through a secure transactional web portal, accessible by customers and staff and supported by a single source of service and customer information working towards a single view of the customer; 3. through a single face to face service delivery point, plus two satellite face to face access points established with partners where the opportunity arises, and other reception points supported by 1 A blended service model is one in which all agents are trained to answer all calls. London Borough of Hackney 8

9 transactional kiosks; 4. we will also improve the service quality and resolution of phone and the web to encourage customers to use the channels they prefer; 5. we will ensure that all customer contact channels such as post, SMS and digital TV are utilized and fully integrated into a single customer contact system a customer relationship management (CRM) system to ensure effective real-time contact management, tracking and resolution; 6. we will work with our public sector partners to implement the Public Service Promise. Single front office service model Telephone The Council will move towards a single number, single location, blended service for all services accessed through HSC. This means that customers call one number and the first available agent in HSC handles the call, irrespective of the nature of the query. The single number, blended service model will deliver the ease of access for customers and economies of scale which will ensure that service transfers are revenue neutral. With a critical mass of cross-trained call agents, this model provides a greater opportunity to balance out peaks and troughs in call volumes and to keep a greater proportion of staff fully utilised for the greatest amount of time. This is the present offering in the HSC, and with investment in CRM, its integration with back office systems, the development of a knowledge base and extensive training, agents will, over time, be able to deal with all services. Face to face The face to face service will be made up of three components: the Service First Centre which will be a single point of face to face access to 80% of Council Services; two Service First Access Centres one in the north and one in the south of the borough, delivering a core of Council services appropriate to the local demographic; Service First Access Points at key Council receptions and service points e.g. libraries and childrens centres. The Service First Centre and Access Centres will be staffed by CSOs who will manage customer contact through the CRM system. The Service First Access Points will not be staffed by CSOs but will comprise standard provision of leaflets, courtesy phone and transactional kiosk all of which will be managed by the Customer Services Division. Kiosk users will be encouraged to sign up to the My Hackney personalised portal. Web London Borough of Hackney 9

10 The web will be developed to become a full service delivery channel providing a range of generic transactions such as information access, payments, bookings and reporting across an increasingly wide range of services. All these tools will also be used by Customer Services Officers (CSOs) in mediated access situations (phone and face to face) and by customers through kiosks. Increasingly, these services will be accessed through the My Hackney personal portal which will provide authentication to allow self service access to personal information and transactions such as parking permits, council tax and benefits information, and their CRM record to enable them to track their own enquiries. Information requested from customers on sign up will also enable appropriate information to be targeted at particular customers according to their need. My Hackney could also be used to pull transactions and information from other public sector organisations such as the PCT, enabling, for example, customers to book GP appointments through the portal. Customers will be encouraged to use the web through a combination of improving the ability for customers to resolve their enquiries through the web, improving the look and feel, and navigation of Hackney s web site, and potentially incentivising the use of the web over the phone or face to face access. Service transfer programme One of the specific requirements of the review of the strategy was to revisit the plan to transfer services into the Hackney Service Centre and the approach taken in managing these service transfers drawing lessons from the 15 transfers which have already taken place. Services will be transferred to the single front office including face to face and web services - according to an agreed service transfer plan signed off for each phase by HMT, and conducted through an agreed service transfer process, resulting in a signed off budget transfer before transfer of service. Service transfer plan The SFO team conducted an audit of Council services accessed by telephone and a range of criteria was applied to evaluate services relative priority for transfer. The first two criteria that were applied determined the strategic priority for the service to transfer into the SFO: volume of customer contact and customer preference. Supplementary criteria that were applied indicating the likely feasibility of transferring the service: customer service vision alignment, service complexity; IT complexity; synergy with services already in HSC. The resulting service transfer plan (Appendix B) covers programme of service transfers through to March 2010 covering three phases. Phase 1: July 07 June 08; Phase 2: July 08 June 09; and Phase 3: July 09 March London Borough of Hackney 10

11 10. During Phase 1 the objective is to achieve 60% of call volumes being handled by the HSC, increasing to 70% by the end of Phase 2 and 80% by the completion of Phase 3. The following points should be noted: At this stage, only those services that provided information for the audit have been included in the prioritised plan. The Learning Trust, Hackney Homes and other partnership organisations were excluded from this exercise at this stage. The plan is presented on the understanding that it will need to flex according to shifting priorities and new information. The volumes will also need to take into account the number of s and e-forms received by the service. In some instances these are quite significant and will have an impact on the capacity of HSC to take on the service and could influence the timescales for the transfer process to be completed. Phase 1 Priority transfers for Phase 1 have been evaluated using the range of criteria set out above, but also taking into account comments from HMT regarding prioritisation. Services to be transferred in Phase 1 are: Switchboard Registrars Complaints Carers Hotline (new service) Property Services Helpdesk (new service) Museums and Culture Parks Planning Libraries While Appendix B gives an order of transfer based on information received, once the strategy is agreed the SFO Team will conduct a further audit to validate this. Phases 2 & 3 The services to be transferred in Phase 2 and Phase 2 have been evaluated using the range of criteria used for Phase 1. Shortly before the start of each phase, HMT will be requested to sign off a detailed service transfer plan for that phase. In summary the three phases will account for the following volumes : London Borough of Hackney 11

12 Volume Proportio n Already in HSC 453,320 35% Phase 1 - TOTAL VOLUME 425, % Phase 2 - TOTAL VOLUME 121, % Phase 3 - TOTAL VOLUME 279, % Service transfer plan volume (all phases) 826, % Excluded 15, % Total identified volume 1,294, % The 100% figure is total identified volume. There will be services, over and above the 1.2% identified above, where the volumes are small, the ICT issues too complex or where there are specific operational issues which make the service unsuitable for delivery through the contact centre. There are also, specifically services provided by the Learning trust and Hackney Homes which have not yet been included in the schedule, although discussions have taken place with Hackney Homes. This makes the figure of 80% of customer enquiries being dealt with through the HSC a moving target, but also a challenging but achievable target Service transfer process The aim of the service transfer programme is to improve customers access to services by transferring the high volume low complexity service enquiries to the single front office which can deal with these enquiries quickly and competently. The expectation is that the single front office should be able to deal with at least 80% of enquiries, with queries requiring more professional expertise transferred from the SFO to the service area. However, this is dependent on the single front office having access to the information and systems needed to resolve enquiries, and the power to make agreed decisions. The decision about what can and cannot be dealt with in the SFO will be a key stage of each transfer process. While the main outcome of the service transfer plan will be the transfer of services into the HSC the process will also indicate opportunities to improve the use of the web by the service being transferred. In addition, while the main focus is on transferring service to the single front office the process will highlight opportunities for process improvements in the back office. However, it will be the responsibility of the service areas to make these back office process improvements. The service transfer methodology was reviewed in the light of a revisit to the services transferred from Neighbourhood and Regeneration, and this feedback has been incorporated into a revised service transfer methodology. London Borough of Hackney 12

13 A high level version of the methodology is presented below: This methodology will be followed for services in the service transfer plan. The aim of the key activities in the methodology is to ensure that: There is an up front agreement amongst all stakeholders of the anticipated level of value that the HSC should be able to add, which then becomes a target to work towards through the service transfer process. There is a feasibility process, which verifies and builds upon the information gathered for the prioritisation exercise. This information will be used to inform such areas as impact, risk, budget, and viability. There is an opportunity for all stakeholders to review progress, make any necessary adjustments and formally sign off the next stage of work, at every phase of the transfer process. There is a greater level of interaction between front office and back office staff before the transfer takes place. There are formalised links into the other strategy workstreams The approach adopted towards prioritising services for transfer into the HSC, and the service transfer methodology, will also be used for transfer of services into other elements of the SFO: face to face, and the web. London Borough of Hackney 13

14 In addition, the core elements of the methodology, and the tools and skillsets required to deliver it, could, if resourced, be made available to the rest of the Council to draw upon at any time that a service review is required - e.g. driven by Best Use of Resources, the introduction of a new ICT system, the introduction of new ways of working, or a trend of poor performance. Service transfer funding Once a service is transferred to the HSC, a proportion of the service area revenue budget will be transferred to run the service within the HSC. The amount will be determined as part of the service transfer to be mapping process. The cost will based upon: The volume of calls The cost of resources allocated to handling calls The duration of calls Where services already have a clear distinction between front and back office service delivery, the resources currently allocated to the front office function will be transferred to support delivery in the SFO. Where necessary the pump-priming reserve will be used to support the back office in re-engineering its processes to enable the budget transfer. It will also be used to provide additional temporary agents in HSC to cover while CSOs are training in the new services being transferred. This support will be established through the initial feasibility study for the service being transferred and made available for a limited period to fund specific costs arising in the transitional phase as services undergo transformation. This will be a key part of the sign off process. Channel migration Customer are telling the Council that they are using more expensive channels telephone and face to face because the cheaper channel the web does not provide the level of service or the degree of reassurance in resolution as the other channels. We aim to tackle this by improving the Council s web site to make it more attractive and to provide real resolution. Over the next three years we will aim to increase the use of the web by 25% year on year, while reducing the use of the phone and face to face access by 5% each year. London Borough of Hackney 14

15 6. Customer care Customer Care Principles We will build the culture and capacity of the organisation to support the delivery of service through the single front office. We will have corporate standards for customer care across all services and all channels. We will listen to our customers to understand their needs, wants and expectations. We will embed customer insight into the organisation to help improve services and increase customer satisfaction. Delivering improved customer care We will improve the quality of our services through a programme of culture change, supported by learning and development opportunities, and by ensuring that the customer experience is at the heart of service improvement. We will do this by: 7. establishing a programme of seminars, workshops, and regular communication, to promote a culture of customer care; 8. reviewing and relaunching corporate customer standards with regular monitoring and feedback to services; 9. seeking corporate Charter Mark accreditation as a measure of the organisation s commitment to and achievement of excellent customer care; 10. establishing a programme of learning and development interventions to support the development of a corporate culture of customer care; 11. developing competencies for customer care (including e-skills) to be included in employee lifecycle. Customer care culture The aim of this activity is to promote a change of culture in the organisation which puts the customer at the heart of everything we do, and which ensures that the organisation and values the skills required to be more customer focussed. While the other activities in this work stream will all contribute to this objective, this activity will ensure, through a programme of seminars, London Borough of Hackney 15

16 workshops and regular communication, that all staff understand the importance of the Council s customer care standards in service delivery, how customer feedback can be used to improve services, and what tools are available, and what skills and abilities are needed, to provide excellent customer service. This activity will also aim to ensure that there is a convergence in the culture of customer care between the Council and its key partners. Customer care standards The Council s corporate customer care standards provide a good framework for regulating customer interaction with the council over the phone and face to face. They are comparable to many of the customer care standards adopted by high performing councils. However, further work needs to be undertaken to ensure that they support a real improvement in our customers experience. We will: ensure that standards are embedded in the day to day activities of the Council and reflected in a customer service pledge to our customers; monitor and report performance against the standards across the Council; communicate the standards effectively to staff and continually reinforced them in imaginative ways and ensure that standards are anchored within a set of values and expected behaviours that give them life; ensure that standards are consistent and complete covering all aspects of customer contact; seek involvement of staff in developing customer care standards and in developing a picture of what the customer experience might be. Charter Mark Charter Mark is the Government s standard of excellence in customer service. The intention is for the whole Council to achieve Charter Mark accreditation over a three year period. The work stream will be deliver; Charter Mark accreditation for Customer Services including Complaints, Registrars, Front of House and Hackney Service Centre. A corporate framework that standardises key processes and procedures thus rationalising the work needed to be completed by Service Areas as they seek accreditation. A central resource pool of expertise and knowledge to support service areas as they seek accreditation. London Borough of Hackney 16

17 Learning and development in support of customer care culture and e- culture This activity will deliver a range of learning interventions whose purpose is to develop staff capacity and skills to enable them to deliver the Council s vision for excellence in service delivery Interventions will be offered that develop strategic and operational management capacity across a number of key areas as well as ensuring that staff have appropriate skills to carry out their responsibilities efficiently and effectively. These skills will include: customer care skills this training is to give staff the ability to deal effectively with their customers be they external customers, members of the public, or internal customers. This will cover communications skills, both verbal and written, and the ability to manage difficult customers. e-skills and competencies corporate technologies will play a fundamental role in delivering better customer care. Whether ensuring that individuals have the skills necessary to use these tools effectively, in enabling increasing home-working and hot-desking, or in growing management s capacity to re-design service delivery through the innovative use of corporate technologies. Charter Mark - focused on building core expertise within the organisation for achieving Charter Mark. Those trained in this area will act in a role of internal consultants to support service areas through the accreditation process. service visioning & redesign - whether through service transfers or service improvement projects skill sets need to be developed that allow staff to understand and contribute to the process of service improvement to improve the customer experience. customer insight - improving customer insight and a corresponding increase in customer satisfaction are key drivers both at the local and national levels of public service delivery. This work stream will develop an understanding of customer insight tools and techniques, information sources and their potential to inform service delivery and improvement. Customer care competencies and the employee lifecycle HR has a primary role in embedding customer care as a key component in the recruitment, development and performance management of staff. Outlined here are the key HR processes and procedures to do this. Recruitment London Borough of Hackney 17

18 The criteria for recruitment to positions within the council should specifically require a clear understanding of and commitment to excellent customer care as well as demonstrating ability in the competencies required to deliver customer care. Induction The current induction process has a good focus on the organisational importance of customer care in the delivery of services. This will be made stronger as the Service First strategy develops momentum. Learning and development The Management Development framework and associated assessment and development processes are of direct relevance to Service First. It will define the core competencies for managers and any Service First competencies should be reflected in these. will Performance management - appraisal and objective setting The process of objective setting should reflect organisational priorities as set by the Mayor. Only by effectively cascading clear targets for customer care can we embed them systemically throughout the Council. The primary mechanism to achieve this is the annual appraisal and objective setting process. London Borough of Hackney 18

19 7. Customer-facing ICT We will support the improvement in customer access and customer care by working with Corporate ICT to develop a customer-facing ICT architecture centred on a customer relationship management system (CRM). Delivering customer-facing ICT The CRM will mediate contact with customers across all channels phone, face to face, web, post, SMS, digital TV - and enable us to manage our contact will customers more effectively and efficiently, as well as moving over time towards a more targeted proactive approach. We will achieve this by: 12. integrating all access channels into CRM for integrated customer contact management; 13. using the scripting function and FAQs in CRM to support speed and degree of resolution of enquiries; 14. using CRM to support for workflow, including back office integration where appropriate; 15. developing a more transactional web and a personal portal My Hackney enabled by citizen authentication to support self-service London Borough of Hackney 19

20 access to information and services; 16. deployment of appropriate telephony to support HSC in improving speed and quality of response. CRM for contact management All interactions with customers whether they are residents, non-residents or businesses, will be recorded on the CRM. Customers and staff will be able to see a history of all interactions and track any requests for service. Staff will not need to log into lots of different back office systems, but will have what information they need via the CRM. As a call, , e-form, SMS, MMS or web chat request comes through to an SFO agent, the known information about that citizen will be accessed directly from the Customer Relationship Management system, displaying the customers details if they have called before. Postal requests will be routed to the CRM via the Back Office (EDRMS). Scripting for resolution When a service request or enquiry comes through to the HSC, staff will be guided through any transaction with a script. This same script will be used to train new staff so that they can quickly provide a new service. Additional supporting information will be captured as FAQs. Customers will be able to log into their personal portal on the website and see what service requests they have made. If they want to make a new service request, then they can be guided through the transaction using a script. This will be particularly useful for more complex transactions, e.g. Building Control, Planning and Benefits. Workflow and integration to back office systems When Customer Services Officers or customers themselves raise a service request or need information, then that information will be accessed and delivered via the CRM. Where key information, e.g. rent balance, is held on the back office system, that information will be pulled into the CRM. In some instances, it may be necessary for the CSO to use a back office system, but this will always be via the CRM. Apart from integration with line of business systems CRM will also be integrated with corporate systems such as CDM for handing documents and Paris to enable payments to be made from within CRM. The council policy is to use Biztalk middleware where possible for integration. Transactional web, My Hackney and citizen authentication The Council s web site will be developed to become more transactional. This London Borough of Hackney 20

21 will enable services to transfer more of their functions such as information provision and general enquiries, payments and bookings, currently provided on the phone or face to face, to the web. This in turn will attract more users to the web. Council services will be accessed through the My Hackney personal portal which will provide authenticated access to allow self service access to personal information and transactions such as parking permits, council tax and benefits information and their CRM record to enable them to track their own enquiries. For mediated access, Customer Services Officers will have clear protocols for establishing someone s identity and understand what information and services they can provide with a given level of authentication. Telephony As the HSC grows the telephony system will need to grow, and to add functionality and integration to support increasingly sophisticated demands such as CTI, call recording, and the need for improved management information. As demand for new methods of communication (SMS, MMS, and Web Chat) are used brought on board the system will have to provide infrastructure to deliver this technology, as well as integrating with the CRM system to present customer details and record activity against their record. The other aspect to the telephony network is, in the future, being able to provide remote working configurations for home based Customer Service Operators. This will allow operators to log on to the Council s network and provide a service to the Hackney Service Centre. London Borough of Hackney 21

22 8. Customer Insight In pledging to become more customer-centric the Council is committing to developing a greater understanding of its customers and how they interact with the Council, and to use this information systematically to improve service delivery and other purposes, such as providing data for value for money and equalities review. Customer insight, derived from customer satisfaction surveys, including the use of the e-panel currently under development, customer feedback through services and through complaints/compliments, is not a one-off activity, but part of the culture change. Delivering customer insight This workstream comprises four elements and activities intended to deliver the culture change and the tools to improve our understanding of our customers, activities in which the customer care team will take a corporate lead: 17. developing a corporate measure of customer satisfaction which will function across all channels and, potentially across all services, and a corporate standard for the way we collect and respond to customer feedback; 18. using customer segmentation to support service improvement and effective communication; 19. working towards the establishment of a customer index to support proactive and targeted services; 20. developing the concept of customer journeys to help track and improve the customer s experience across service and organisational boundaries. Customer satisfaction and feedback The Council currently has no effective way of measuring customer satisfaction, or of collecting customer feedback and responding to that feedback. This makes it difficult to understand trends, and to take action to improve customer satisfaction. We will establish a corporate framework for measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction across the three main channels. This will enable us to understand different levels of satisfaction, to take action where necessary to improve it, and to benchmark services both internally and externally. We will also ensure that feedback from customers is collected and responded to in a systematic way, and include this feedback in service reviews. Customer segmentation Customer segmentation is the grouping of customers according to similar London Borough of Hackney 22

23 attributes to identify demographic and geographic variations in service demand, and preference for delivery channel. We have already begun to use customer segmentation, using Mosaic categories, to prioritise the transfer of services to the SFO, and there is now a corporate group looking using this technique across a range of services to help target services more effectively. The customer care team will develop the tools and expertise to enable the Council to use this potentially powerful tool. Customer Index A customer index a definitive corporate list of the Council s customers is crucial if the Council, and potentially partners, are to provide more proactive and targeted services. Building on data from the CRM system, and with the permission of customers, a customer index will enable the Council, and more importantly, the customer, to get a complete picture of their interactions with the Council and, if combined with customer attributes, such as age, ethnicity, disability and interests will enable the council to inform customers of services they could be eligible for or might be interested in. The customer index is also the core of the My Hackney web portal which will provide a single view for the customer of all their interactions with the Council and, in the future, other agencies. Customer Journeys If a core principle of the Council s customer services strategy is to put the customer at the heart of everything we do then we need to understand how our customers experience our services. Government departments and many councils are beginning to use customer journey s as a tool to demonstrate how confusing it can be for a customer trying to access a particular service and are using this mapping both to simplify processes but also to reshape services to reflect these cross-cutting customer needs (bereavement). The customer care team will develop the expertise and tools to support services in mapping these customer journeys and in advising how processes could be made more customer-friendly. London Borough of Hackney 23

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25 11. Funding and benefits realisation Funding The Service First Customer Services programme is funded from six sources: Service First Capital Budget Single Front Office (SFO). This budget will be reprofiled, within the resources set out in the table below, to reflect the revised workplan and timetable for the delivery of the strategy. Reserves pump-priming. Due to the change in service transfer funding model it is proposed that these reserves be utilised to: support back office re-engineering post transfer to HSC and back-fill for agents in HSC to allow agent training for new services as they are transferred for a period of up to 3 months figures based on service transfer plan; support the development of the transactional web; cover implementation costs for face to face provision. Funding projections for SFO capital and pump-priming Funding 07/08 08/09 09/10 Total Capital budget ,499 Slippage / Re-Profile Capital spend / revised estimate ,695 Reserves -Pump-priming 390 1, ,128 Total 1,029 2, ,823 Service First Programme Office budget for SF Organisational Change Programme Manager & Programme Support, Customer Satisfaction Co-ordinator. Annual ROP bid. The procurement and development costs of the Customer-facing ICT infrastructure including CRM is funded from Finance capital programme (CICT). In addition, Team Hackney Board has recently approved 210k funding for the first phase of the development of the Public Service Promise. This covers the first year of activity from September Further applications for funding will be made to Team Hackney Board for future years. Some activities will also be funded through Customer Services revenue budgets. While these resources will be sufficient to cover most activities in the customer access and customer-facing ICT workstreams additional funding London Borough of Hackney 25

26 will be required to work on customer care standards, customer care training, and customer insight activities. A bid for funding to cover these activities will be submitted in the current ROP round. Appendix B summarises funding for each activity and likely funding gaps for the future. Realising the benefits There is a range of benefits to be gained from the implementation of the Council s vision for customer services to customers and to the Council. These benefits will be tracked in a variety of ways through improvements in customer satisfaction, through improvements in performance indicators e.g. phone answering and resolution, through changing trends in customer feedback, through improvements in efficiency, and, potentially, cashable savings. Benefits to customers. The benefits for customers of achieving the Service First Customer Service Vision are: Customers will find it easier to access Council services, because there will be a single point of access over the phone (via the HSC), face to face (via the Service First Centre) and over the web (via the secure My Hackney personalised services portal). Customers will experience the same, high standard of service irrespective of which contact channel they choose to use. Customers will be able to resolve many queries at the first point of contact, including queries that span more than one service. Customers will benefit from targeted information and customer care from the Council, to help them make the most of the services appropriate to their needs. Customers will not need to repeat basic information about themselves each time they contact the Council. Customers will be able to check the progress of their queries, using any contact channel. Customers will feel that the Council is listening to their views and has an appreciation of their needs. These benefits will be tracked through customer satisfaction surveys customer care standards monitoring and single front office performance indicators. Benefits to the Council Improved Council reputation Delivering these benefits for residents should drive up customer satisfaction, as well as improving residents perception of the Council, thereby boosting the London Borough of Hackney 26

27 Council s corporate reputation. This will be tracked through regular residents surveys and by use of the e-panel currently under development, More effective service delivery The investment into the infrastructure and tools to support the Service First Strategy will also enable back office services to improve their capabilities to respond to customers more effectively. As well as the benefiting from SFO handling initial contacts across all channels, back office services will also be able to take advantage of: Corporate customer care skills development (including e-skills training) and corporate customer care standards. Customer insight into residents profiles, needs and behaviours. Corporate tools such as the CRM system, which will offer query tracking capabilities and, in time, present a single view of each customer s relationship with the Council. The development and promotion of e-channels within the SFO (phone, , web, SMS, digitaltv), including self-serve options, to reduce the Council s burden of handling contact via face to face and letter. These facilities, together with the SFO, will make it easier for back office services to focus their efforts on fulfilling more complex customer queries in a timely, customer focussed manner. Some N&R services that transferred their call handling to the HSC have already reported that they have more time to deal with more complex issues and pursue proactive service activities (e.g. more fieldwork and situation monitoring, to prevent service failures). These benefits will be tracked through customer satisfaction surveys customer care standards monitoring and single front office performance indicators. Improved efficiency The implementation of the HSC will be revenue neutral. All services transferred into the HSC will meet corporate customer care standards and extended opening hours (both subject to continuous review) at no additional cost to the Council. In addition, by moving the handling of customer contact into the Single Front Office, time and resources will be freed up in the back office to focus on processing service requests. Also, the nature of calls received by the back office services will change. Routine calls for information will be handled in the HSC, and only specialist calls will be passed to the back office. Potentially, a larger number of these specialist calls will be passed to the back office because of the increased capacity offered by the HSC 2. 2 Planning estimates that 30% of customer calls do not currently get answered. Statistics from Revenues & Benefit suggest a figure approaching 20%. (Revenues & Benefits Performance Data 06/07 show 81.1% of calls offered to London Borough of Hackney 27

28 Transferring calls to the HSC will give back office services the opportunity to re-engineer their processes to make better use of time and resources. These savings, which are likely to be non-cashable, may be identified as part of the service transfer process but will be realised and tracked through service improvement initiatives within the VFM programme. Cashable savings The main way that Hackney could generate cashable savings from its customer services programme is by encouraging and enabling customers to use cheaper access channels. The Institute of Public Finance, as part of the take-up campaign run by NweGG (North West e-government Group) has calculated the cost of channel usage to be: Lower quartile average cost Median average cost Upper quartile average cost Web visits Web forms (no Face to face Telephone integration) At present there are approximately 1.5 million calls received per year by the Council through published numbers, and 300,000 face to face visits. Assuming the lower quartile average cost, every 1% shift in channel usage from telephone to web would notionally save the Council 122,500 per year. A 1% shift in channel usage from face to face to telephone would save the Council 14,000 per year, or to the web 19,000. The Single Front Office will provide the technical infrastructure to allow services to encourage customers to user cheaper channels. Whilst Customer Services and ICT will, through their capital programmes, bear the cost of this investment, the service areas will derive the benefits. Although some of these services will be transferred as part of the web service transfer plan, all savings generated through channel migration will be realised by the service areas and could be tracked through the VFM programme. In addition, once a baseline has been set the migration of customers between channels will be tracked numerically to provide additional evidence of channel shift. Additional benefits There are a number of additional financial benefits which will be delivered as Council Tax are answered). London Borough of Hackney 28

29 a result of transferring particular services into the SFO and which can be baselined, tracked through the transfer process, and could be added to the return on investment in the SFO/ICT capital programme. These include: Increased rate of revenue collection. Experience in both Liverpool and LB Islington of implementing a Single Front Office have shown that transferring revenue collecting services such as council tax can deliver an increased rate of collection. Reduction of software maintenance expenditure through rationalising disparate line of business applications - There is a possibility that for some services which transfer into the SFO, costs will be released by terminating service and maintenance contracts for legacy applications which will be superseded by the CRM system. It is not possible to quantify the value of these savings as systems integration options will be considered in detail as part of the Service Transfer Process. However, as an indication, the comparative cost for user licenses for Respond Centrepoint used by Complaints Management would be 60,990 for a 75 user license. Additional users would be charged at 2,000 per user. The costs under the new CRM framework would be 6,000 for a 50 user license, and 90 for additional users. The business case for enhancing IT for Complaints Management alone represents cost avoidance of over 40,000. Release of accommodation - Savings will also be possible through the rationalisation of the council estate. Consolidating face to face activity around the SFO could release accommodation for disposal. Decisions relating to such potential savings are outside of the scope of this strategy, but customer services will influence and direct the decisions made within the accommodation strategy. London Borough of Hackney 29

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