Customer Access Strategy

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1 Customer Access Strategy modernising the way we engage with our customers 1

2 Contents 1. Introduction 2. Context 3. Vision 4. Principles 5. Channel Shift 6. Delivery 7. Key Outcomes and Measures 8. Delivery Plan 2

3 1. Introduction This strategy sets out North Somerset Council s approach to the way in which we will offer services to our residents now and in the future. There is demand from a large proportion of our customers for more digitally enabled services to be provided by the council, as customers become acclimatised to managing their affairs digitally. Many customers now regularly shop and pay bills online, and use the internet on a regular basis to find information. Nationally, 84% of households have internet Access. In North Somerset, this number rises to 95% 82% of North Somerset residents used the internet within the past day Nationally, 73% of adults use the internet for finding information, but only 37% do so for finding information from public authorities/service websites In North Somerset, 52% looked for information on our website regularly, but only 13% transacted regularly. Source: Channel Shift in North Somerset Report 2015 There are 75 million mobile phone subscriptions in the UK Source: We Are Social - Digital in 2015 (January 2015) 40% of UK online sales take place on a smartphone or tablet Source: IMRG and CapGemini, Nov 2014 to Jan % of UK consumers aged 55+ have watched online video in the last six months Source: IAB Video Omnibus study - December 2014) The government set out a Digital by Default strategy in 2012 which set out how government will redesign its digital services so well that people prefer to use them. This strategy was underpinned by an Assisted Digital approach which set out activities, strategies and action which would ensure that no-one was left behind. These included: In the short term, providing access to non-digital channels by exception for those who needed them, such as through click and print services for paper forms Providing physical access and/or support to use digital channels e.g. through internet terminals for those without internet connections and face to face support to input data for those without internet skills. Signposting to internet training for those requiring digital skills e.g. via UK Online centres, libraries etc. Help ensure that the development of new services designed to be Digital by Default are also accessible and usable for service users. North Somerset Council seeks to achieve the same goal, with the benefits of enabling 24/7 access for our customers, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing cost to serve. 2. Context It is recognised that the council s digital offering is not fit for purpose; it has grown organically and the lack of a holistic approach has led to inconsistencies. From customer and staff feedback, we know that we need to deliver a digital transformation programme in order to increase customer satisfaction through digital channels. We know that the way in which our customers interact with the council currently does not reflect the way in which they could and would interact with us with the right technology and customer journeys. Many national surveys and reports demonstrate the increasing digital update by the public, and this will inevitably only increase over time. Currently, within North Somerset Council, 55% of 3

4 customers contact us by phone, with web, and face to face at similar levels, and letters reducing over time as the population ages. Face to Face 14% Current Channel Use Letter 6% 10% Web 15% Phone 55% These figures are based upon a situation where we have the following issues: Website Does not render on mobile devices Difficult to navigate and hard to search Limited self-service functionality Personal information must be re-entered every time it is used No personalisation Lack of customer feedback loop No website analytics to understand customer behaviour and service failure Poor/limited data CRM Limited self-service functionality (Revenues and Benefits) Lack of customer feedback loop (loop only updates internally) Phone s received from customers by the council sit within Outlook and are not integrated into a customer record no single customer view s received into the Contact Centres are managed within Outlook lack of integration Office hours are offered for the majority of the services and there is no IVR, so customers cannot self-serve outside of normal office hours These issues force customers to use standard channels of communication, which is very expensive for the council. The Government s Digital Efficiency Report suggests that transactions online can already be 20 times cheaper than by phone, 30 times cheaper than postal and as much as 50 times cheaper than face-to-face. 4

5 Estimated costs per channel are, per interaction (source: Paul O Brien, CEO, APSE): Face to Face 8.62 Telephone 2.83 Web 0.15 North Somerset Council works in partnership with Agilisys and has invested in working practices to reduce costs and drive efficiencies through outsourcing. The council has recently committed to a Digital Transformation programme in order to deliver the council s digital strategy. This strategy is supported by 4 pillars: Pillar Objective Converse Enable Simplify Innovate & trial Allowing NSC to take part in online conversations with our communities Using digital to respond to issues, help influence and inform discussions and decisions Supporting staff to take part with confidence Using digital technologies to help communities support themselves reducing intervention from us and dependency on council services Empowering them to take responsibility for developing community solutions to problems we cannot address Simplifying and streamlining our service delivery, moving us to 'digital by default' Making it easier for people to have conversations with us and access our services online Enabling staff to work as flexibly and efficiently as possible Building our awareness and understanding of the range of the digital opportunities available to deliver community benefits & improve service delivery Working with new partners and technology Exploring, testing and refining them for use in North Somerset This strategy seeks to develop the Simplify element of the strategy, which aims: To reduce the cost to serve to NSC To provide a better user experience To provide access to services 24/7 The proposed outcome of this pillar is: 5

6 For customers quality digital services, available 24:7, to enquire, apply and pay when and how customers choose assisted self-service, including webchat, which supports customers to complete transactions secure and confidential access, with data entered once for agreed multiple use improved customer responsiveness and feedback loop gateway for all public services that reduces complexity and improves speed of access Service users able to create a single, central record to provide NSC with a basic dataset to drive engagement with services For NSC, reduced costs through: more efficient delivery of transactional processes - scheduling, data entry, application processing, enquiry handling, mail rationalisation and integration of business systems workflows that minimises errors, process blockages and bottlenecks better insight which ultimately feeds more improvements and more cost savings 3. Vision We will offer high quality, easy to access, digital first services which will enable most customers to self-serve, and assist those who can t help themselves. 4. Principles Know our Customers It is vital that we are providing our services in the way that our customers can use them and need them. Through the implementation of new technologies, we will be able to understand how our customers are interacting with us, and seek to improve the customer experience. Whilst we will persuade many of our customers to shift towards a Digital First position, we recognise that there are individuals and groups who may find this challenging. We will maintain a dialogue with these individuals and seek their input into our plans. We will also include feedback mechanisms into any new systems that we develop in order to gain feedback from users to develop the service and to provide an excellent customer journey. Digital First Our ultimate aim is for each customer to be able to help themselves, through accessing services or information online. This strategy will ensure that we focus our most expensive channels on those who need it, and limit access to expensive channels to those who don t. Our aim is to provide services digitally to a high standard, which will encourage our customers to use this method of communication as a first preference, facilitating channel shift. Achieving significant channel shift will require a planned approach across all communications by the council and its partner to deliver a consistent message to customers. Keeping customers informed The success of a Digital First rests with our ability to ensure that we have (1) information available on our website which is comprehensive, relevant, up-to-date and easily accessible 6

7 and searchable, and (2) a self-service offering which closes the loop for our customers. It is vital that customers do not need to access other channels such as telephone or in order to get an update or more information. Service Delivery Whilst the majority of customers will access their services digitally, some elements of their service request may go through to council or our partners. Where this occurs, it is essential we have the necessary infrastructure to support this, and that staff fulfilling these demands work to clear, tight and measurable PIs which ensure that the customer is serviced in a timely manner. If this does not happen, the customer is likely to take a scattergun approach and seek a response via telephone, or face to face, or as is often the case, all three. In addition, the customer experience across all channels should all be of high quality, although there will be added benefits of digital services, such as ease of use, speed of response, 24/7 access. Helping customers to help themselves We will help our customers to access our services digitally through providing free Wi-Fi and computers in Libraries and self service facilities in Libraries and Gateways/Community Access Points. We will support our customers to become more digitally active and enable them to access our self service offer by working with partners and volunteers to provide training and support. This may include 1-1 computer buddying support, computer and online training courses and support with gadgets. We will train our frontline library staff to give them the practical skills, knowledge and confidence to support people to get online and to access and navigate resources. We will also seek to prevent contact where appropriate through information provision on the website, and signpost customers to other organisations and partners. Use behavioural insight to change behaviours We will use insight into customer behaviour to find ways to influence our customers in a targeted and informed way. We can use technologies such as webchat and signposting to achieve this. Furthermore, the government s Behavioural Insight team have put forward a model for delivering behaviour change, which can be adopted by the council. The EAST model proposes that if you want to encourage a behaviour, make it Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely. Examples of these principles are: Easy: We have a strong tendency to go with the default or pre-set option, since it is easy to do so. Making an option the default makes it more likely to be adopted. Potential example for NSC: When customers sign up for Council Tax, offer the default payment method as Direct Debit. Attractive: We are more likely to do something that our attention is drawn towards. Ways of doing this include the use of images, colour or personalisation. Potential example for NSC: Include image of car when sending car parking fines. Social: Describing what most people do in a particular situation encourages others to do the same. 7

8 Potential example for NSC: Using social norms to increase recycling rates; tell people how much people normally recycle in their street/area. Timely: Prompt people when they are likely to be most receptive. The same offer made at different times can have drastically different levels of success. Behaviour is generally easier to change when habits are already disrupted, such as around major life events. Potential example for NSC: Increasing payment rates through text messaging before payments fall due. 5. Channel Shift Some areas of the council are already offering our customers the ability to self-serve, and we have had some significant success in channel shift in the Revenues & Benefits and Planning areas. Currently, the predominant channel used by customers is the phone (55%), followed by web, face-to-face, and letter. The council s aim it to move customers to a self-service model, which aims to reduce cost and increase customer satisfaction. Channel use: current and to be The data below is taken from our CRM system, and is therefore based upon transactions over the phone or via the web. The data does not take into account any invisible selfservice via the council s web page where customers are accessing data from there, rather than contacting the council. Examples of this would be downloading the waste collection calendar, or searching the roadworks map. This table seeks to demonstrate where we are by service, and where we believe we can be within a year of the launch of Agilisys Digital. There are dependencies around this, such as website refresh being live in advance of launch, and services having the ability to carry out a feedback loop into Agilisys Digital from their business systems, which will update the customer automatically. Without this mechanism, contact from the customer will seep into , telephone and face to face in order to gain resolution. Digital Inclusion: We will seek to engage with minority groups in order to ensure that the technologies that we implement are as usable as possible, and that stakeholder input has been listened to and acted upon, to encourage digital inclusion. 8

9 ***INSERT DETAILS OF SERVICES, CURRENT CHANNEL USE AND PROPOSED CHANNEL SHIFT TARGETS*** 6. Delivery Delivery of the digital element of the council s Customer Access Strategy will be via a number of initiatives which are planned to delivery in 2015 and Interactive Voice Recognition: IVR will provide the council with an automated switchboard, which will deliver the following in 3 phases: Switchboard services, providing automated routing (with opt out) Report it function, with missed bins being the first element Council tax payment function Digital Customer Platform: This technology will replace the current customer database and will provide a digital platform upon which customers will be able to self-serve. Engage: Engage is software which will support the website and will help us to understand, analyse and learn from customer behaviour, and provide personalised content. It includes functions such as roadblocks, webchat and customer analytics. Website Refresh: A new council website will drive customers to engage digitally, and will direct customers to self-serve, through providing information, web chat, payment portals, eforms and My Account functionality. This will be promoted as the best way to find information and self-serve. Youtube content: Otherwise known as talking letters, this technology will enable us to embed videos into responses to our customers, or for use on our website to assist customers to self-serve. Epayments/payfirst: Through epayments, we will make it easier for customers to pay us for services, and will seek to request payments in advance of services to reduce communications and debt recovery. Meeting Bookings: We will seek to automate appointment booking through technology to reduce calls and improve efficiency. We will seek to keep percentage of appointment back for those who are unable to engage digitally to ensure that the system is fair to all. Community Access Points/Gateways: We provide access to computers at all of our libraries and Gateways, and provide face-to-face drop in services and appointments at the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare. The council is also undertaking a review of our Community Access Points to assess our community based front facing services. The objective of this review is currently under proposal. It anticipates that all processes will need to be reviewed and redesigned in order to maximise the digital opportunity, and to ensure that we are able to provide alternatives for those who are not able to access services digitally. 7. Key Outcomes and Measures We will know that we have been successful in achieving this strategy by: Achieving our channel shift targets (tbc, following discussion with CMT) 9

10 Feedback from our customers regarding their ability to access services online Customer feedback from surveys Minimal contact outside of My Account (customers can work it out for themselves) Customers unable to engage digitally are effectively serviced outside of the digital arena Improved data about our customers, allowing us to be better informed in future, and able to be more confident in setting channel shift targets Monitoring/quality measures built into new technologies 8. Delivery plan Sign off on technologies when we are convinced that we are offering a high quality solution Agree channel shift targets; what we can we measure, and what are our targets Agree Project Boards and kick off transformation projects. 10

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