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1 Customer Management Strategy ( ) Version 1.1 Page 1

2 Foreword As technology improves, the demand for Council services to be available online and accessible 24/7 will increase as our customers choose to move away from more traditional contact channels, especially for the easier transactions and to find information. This document outlines the Council s plans for customer services and how this will be developed to ensure fairness and to meet the demands of a more digital age. The document will not just act as overarching strategy; it also contains a deliverable action plan and timescales. At a time when local government is facing some of the most severe budget restrictions it has ever seen, it is more important than ever that we put the customer at the heart of everything we do. We need to concentrate our limited resources into providing services that our customers need and want, and to understand how well our services are working. We can only do this by listening to customer feedback and using valuable information to help us improve and ultimately deliver better services that provide good value for money. This strategy, which is the result of collaborative effort across the Council s departments, provides a vision and direction to show how the Council can take advantage of new technology to communicate and deliver quality services to our customers alongside consistent high quality service standards across all our teams. Our ambition is for North Norfolk to be an even greater district of opportunity and we very much welcome the intent of matching that ambition with the opportunities excellent customer service brings to help individuals, businesses and communities achieve their full potential, in their work, their education, at home and in their social life. Sheila Oxtoby Chief Executive Officer Russell Wright Cabinet Member Version 1.1 Page 2

3 Table of Contents 1 Document History... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.1 Document Location... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.2 Revision History... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.3 Approvals... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.1 DistributionError! Bookmark not defined. 2 Executive Summary Introduction The Customer Management Vision and Strategic Themes Key Drivers and Work Themes Analysis of the Current Position Future Development Objectives Culture Change Managing Customer Contact Right Place First Time Reduce the volume of Avoidable Contact Channel Shift and the Customer Management Delivery Model Customer Insight Actions and Risks Main Risks Figure 1 Channel Effectiveness Table 1 High Level Action Plan Version 1.1 Page 3

4 2 Executive Summary This document outlines the Customer Management Strategy for North Norfolk District Council (NNDC). It is aimed at providing: a framework for customer services improvements and changes within the Council; an update for the members and staff on the current state of customer services and our priorities and vision for the future. This strategy serves to link Customer Service developments into the Council s overall objectives and detail the governance arrangements underpinning further investment in Customer Service. This will support the Council s provision of excellent customer service and a Channel shift in customer service provision i.e. moving more simple transactional processes onto our website and into our front office customer services team. Full background information and supporting documentation can be found in the separate Background Information document. The Council is keen on driving forward an agenda of business transformation and organisational change, which helps us to continually improve. Projects will be implemented that enable us to: improve our services reduce the costs of operations increase value for money continue to deliver excellent service This strategy supports these objectives and forms the basis for Business Transformation Programme Customer Improvement work stream. This strategy includes both short and longer-term strategic principles, developments and projects that will allow us to plan specific steps to achieve our aims and goals. Some of the key risks that could impact the successful delivery of the strategy have also been identified in this document: Inadequate funding for customer services improvements. Lack of adequate protection of our sensitive and personal information. Poorly business cases not able to withstand the pressures of Central Government cutbacks. Lack of resources to support customer services changes. Version 1.1 Page 4

5 Ineffective planning and preparation. Insufficient support from staff and customers to adopt new ways of working. In summary, this strategy will ensure that the Council: Has a consistent level of great customer service and delivery developing our customer management culture Enables customer to access NNDC, how and when they want Enables NNDC to gather greater customer insight and use this insight to deliver continuous improvement. Ensures that we recruit and retain the right staff and those staff have the right training and development in good customer services practices Ensures the Council continues to deliver excellent value for money to our Citizens, local businesses and visitors Has a roadmap for the changes our customers will see and how key phases of the Customer Management strategy could be implemented Version 1.1 Page 5

6 3 Introduction This document outlines the Customer Management Strategy for North Norfolk District Council (NNDC). It is aimed at providing: a framework for customer services improvements and changes within the Council; an update for the members and staff on the current state of customer services and our priorities and vision for the future. This strategy serves to link Customer Service developments into the Council s overall objectives and detail the governance arrangements underpinning further investment in Customer Service. This will support the Council s provision of excellent customer service and a Channel shift in customer service provision i.e. moving more simple transactional processes onto our website and into our front office customer services team. The Council is keen on driving forward an agenda of business transformation and organisational change, which helps us to continue to improve. Projects will be implemented that enable us to: improve our services reduce the costs of operations increase value for money continue to deliver excellent service This strategy supports these objectives and forms the basis for Business Transformation Programme Customer Improvement work stream. This strategy includes both short and longer-term strategic principles, developments and projects which will allow us to plan specific steps to achieve our aims and goals. Some of the key risks that could impact the successful delivery of the strategy have also been identified in this document: Inadequate funding for customer services improvements Lack of adequate protection of our sensitive and personal information Poorly developed business cases not able to withstand the pressures of Central Government cutbacks Lack of resources to support customer services changes Version 1.1 Page 6

7 Ineffective planning and preparation Insufficient support from staff and customers to adopt new ways of working In summary, this strategy will ensure that the Council: Has a consistent level of great customer service and delivery developing our customer management culture Enables customer to access NNDC, how and when they want Enables NNDC to gather greater customer insight and use this insight to deliver continuous improvement. Ensures that we recruit and retain the right staff and those staff have the right training and development in good customer services practices Ensures the Council continues to deliver excellent value for money to our Citizens, local businesses and visitors Has a roadmap for the changes our customers will see and how key phases of the Customer Management strategy could be implemented In preparation for the development of the NNDC Customer Management Strategy, a thorough consultation exercise was undertaken with NNDC services representatives and management to identify their future business requirements. A programme of research was also been completed to establish the current best practice with Customer Management in both the private and public sector. This Strategy is designed to plot NNDC s course to achieve successful delivery of tomorrow s modern public services. Version 1.1 Page 7

8 4 The Customer Management Vision and Strategic Themes The Customer Management Strategy sets out our ambition to be an organisation with the customer at the heart of everything we do. The strategy focus is not limited solely to customers from outside our organisation or to the services that undertake front line roles in dealing with customers. The strategy applies to all staff and services within our organisation even when the predominant function of the service is seen as supporting the organisation. Our definition of a customer is anyone who uses Council services whether voluntary or mandatory. Our definition of customer services is the experience the customer has at point of contact with us. We want to be a council where the customer knows what we offer, can get what they want when they want it and can tell us what they think. We want to be a council that continually uses customer feedback and insight to deliver improved services. The Customer Management Strategy considers how the council will respond to the needs and wants of our customers from their perspective by providing mechanisms that will: support service improvement and decision making improve access to the council, its services and the services of partners; and inform and communicate with residents in the right ways We recognise that customers want their enquiries resolved first time. They also expect the information and advice they are given to be correct; they want to be treated well; they want us to know who they are and use what we know about them properly; they want a choice of access channels; they want us to work with partners if this provides better services and/or reduces the cost of service provision; and they want a say in how we do all of that. We need to ensure that we reflect on local needs, recognising the unique nature of our communities and the individuals within them. Version 1.1 Page 8

9 The Customer Management vision is to: To be a council that delivers high quality services which meet our customers changing needs The following key themes which will help us to achieve this vision: Easy to access services / choice of delivery o Right place / first time o Reducing avoidable contact Managing channel shift moving from more expensive contact channels (face to face) to cheaper channels (web self service) Achieving the Customer Service Excellence Standard Re-launch the NNDC Customer Charter Driving culture change Continual improvement initiatives On-going training and development of our staff Reviewing and learning from Customer Feedback and Insight The customer services delivery model within this strategy outlines how customer services delivery channels link together and how they will be developed in the coming three years. The outcomes for our customers and NNDC at the end of the three years will be: Improved, more convenient and accessible services for our customers. Increased uptake of services by many sectors of the community utilising our self-service facilities i.e. website and automated phone. More effective use of resources for NNDC by directing customers to the most efficient ways of accessing services. Greater voice in shaping our services. 5 Key Drivers and Work Themes Key Drivers for the Customer Management Strategy are: Efficiency and Value for Money Enabling more simple transactional service activities to move from back office teams to Customer Services allowing the back office staff to service more complex transactions. Enable more of our simple transactions to move to web self-service or automated telephone handling thus increasing customer choice and access. Greater use of electronic workflow and document management with a drive for a paperless office. Version 1.1 Page 9

10 Ambitions in our Corporate Plan Continuously improve our services. Community engagement and consultation. Improved access to our services. The Customer Management Strategy covers three main areas: Culture - Defining, delivering and demonstrating a Customer Management culture consistently across the Council in all our service teams. Includes the drive for continual improvement, achieving the Customer Excellence accreditation and the on-going training and development of our staff. Channel Shift - Achieving channel shift of customer contact from more expensive channels such as face to face to cheaper contact channels. We will maximise the provision of simple transactional services that can be completed by customers online. Customer Insight - We will use customer insight (customer feedback, consultation, analysis and research) to design and change services removing unnecessary steps in our processes thereby increasing customer satisfaction and improving efficiency of our services. 6 Analysis of the Current Position The following summarises the current state of Customer Management provision at NNDC today: Consistency of Service and Culture We are achieving 90% customer satisfaction in customer surveys. We have 700,000 customer contacts per annum and only 300 complaints. Feedback from a recent staff focus exercise shows that staff are proud of the level of customer service that they deliver. We want to improve on internal communications so staff are fully informed Although we have some measurements on the standard of service delivery, we acknowledge that this is an area that we want to improve upon. We want to improve upon the consistency of our service delivery, so that regardless of the contact channel used or the member of staff the customer speaks to, the delivery and message are consistent. We currently conduct customer surveys but acknowledge that we need to improve our customer insight which is so important when redesigning and improving services. Version 1.1 Page 10

11 Accessibility Sitemorse evaluations on our webpages rank us in Q1 of 2013 as 26 out of 428. This evaluation considers accessibility, function, ease of use, and quality of web page coding. Although we have some transactional capability on our website we recognise that we need to develop and improve upon this giving customers choice and often a cheaper method of contact. We know from customer feedback that at times it is difficult to contact people/departments. We will address this with our Customer Charter and improved telephony. Day to Day Service Provision Our reception area in Cromer will shortly be undergoing a redesign and refurbishment which will greatly improve access and service delivery to customers and address health and safety issues for staff. We have multi-skilled Customer Service staff that have a positive can do attitude. We recognise that although training is carried out, that a formal, structured and on-going training plan would better suit our needs. We recognise that business process reviews and customer journey mapping will enable us to make our processes more efficient and cost effective. Technology We recognise that our aged telephony system cannot support channel shift and lacks the functionality required to embrace new ways of interacting with customers. We cannot track customer contacts so investment in a Customer Information system will enhance our ability to manage customer contacts. We recognise the need to invest in website and integration tools which deliver the benefits from channel shift. Governance We set up the Customer Services Improvement Board with Strategic Director sponsorship to drive strategy implementation and to prioritise and track improvements. We will set up a Web Working Group to assess customer transaction needs and to set priorities on web development to meet these needs. Version 1.1 Page 11

12 7 Future Development 7.1 Objectives Our objectives going forward for Customer Management are: To ensure we make effective and appropriate use of technology as outlined in our IT strategy. To achieve channel shift moving customers from more expensive to cheaper contacts points with the Council whilst increasing choice of access to the Council. To ensure we continue to train and develop our staff. To continuously improve our day to day service prioritising the move of those transactions that sit better in a front facing customer services team. To ensure we use customer insight to continuously improve, reduce costs and prioritise the use of resources. To ensure the delivery of good governance of our change projects and priorities to deliver the vision of Customer Management. We will deliver these objectives by implementing changes to the organisation through leadership; communication and engagement; investment in technology; process reviews; training and development; and change projects. The approach to shaping the future is discussed in more detail below. Version 1.1 Page 12

13 7.2 Culture Change Our focus on culture change is recognition that whilst we get good feedback in our Customer Satisfaction survey we cannot be complacent and it is an area where there is a need to have a focus of continuous improvement. To deliver the customer management culture improvements that the Customer Management strategy sets out to achieve we will: Lead from the top, re-enforcing messages and rewarding behaviour that demonstrates excellent internal and external customer services. Implement the UK Government Customer Service Excellence Standard. Provide the resources to facilitate a Council wide change management process review under the banner of the Business Transformation Programme. Deliver service quality beyond a client s expectation by fixing things quickly when we fail, and providing added value with our services when we have a contact with our customers e.g. delivering a next day appointment for a service whenever this is possible. Transforming the organisation so that everyone is customer responsive and empowered to act. This will be delivered through our communication, job design and review and transformation of all our key Customer Service processes. We will design our measures of customer satisfaction in co-production with our customers and employees so that we align measures. We will invest in training all our managers and staff to deliver excellent customer service. Ensure that all staff manage any customer problem they are dealing with and take ownership to see it through to resolution wherever possible. Version 1.1 Page 13

14 7.3 Managing Customer Contact Right Place First Time We aim to resolve a greater proportion of contacts quickly, and at the initial point of contact, by introducing professional customer service approaches and common standards that are supported by efficient systems and procedures. A standardised, corporate approach to contact management in which simple customer contacts are dealt with by the frontline (website/call centre/reception) leaving only complex enquiries, applications and on-going case work to be dealt with by the back office. Establish clearly signposted contact points for customers that are aligned with supporting business processes. Monitor and record access volumes, customer satisfaction and cost across all channels in order to drive continuous improvement and show change (management information). Ensure that all marketing/promotional media published in relation to a specific customer task complement each other and work in harmony to engage and inform the customer. (All signs pointing in the same direction promoting the use of our preferred contact point.) Reduce the volume of Avoidable Contact We aim to reduce situations where the customer has to unnecessarily contact the council, perhaps because no information was available, or it was of poor quality, or a service was not delivered as expected. There are five main reasons for avoidable contact: 1. Unnecessary clarification required Quality of Communications / Access Any query received as a result of a previous contact during which the council was not able to provide the necessary information or service, e.g. a phone call resulting from online service being unavailable or inadequate information on the website, or an asking for clarification following a council letter, or other communications material which is poorly worded or has presented incomplete, inaccurate or out-of-date information. 2. Poor signposting / call transfer The customer rings the wrong number because contact points are not clearly advertised, or the customer is transferred to the incorrect service. Version 1.1 Page 14

15 3. Repeat contact The customer has to provide the same information a number of times in order to carry out transactions with the council and its partners, e.g. a customer being asked to provide information about a change of address to multiple parts of the council. 4. Unnecessary progress-chasing The customers are asking for reassurance or making other unnecessary service delivery follow-ups. This category includes instances where we have not delivered the service as promised right first time, so the customer needs to contact us again. 5. Premature closure There is repeat contact after premature closure of a previous contact. 7.4 Channel Shift and the Customer Management Delivery Model There is a generally accepted model for effectiveness of the major channels of contact available today as shown below: Figure 1: Channel Effectiveness We will focus on moving customer contacts and transactions from more expensive options (telephone, face to face contact, letter) to less expensive options (self-service on the web, self-service through automatic voice recognition systems, and through the use of SMS on mobile phones) - effectively by moving from services which Version 1.1 Page 15

16 require staff to be involved to those which do not. It costs us 0.33 each time a customer uses our website to get information, report a problem or ask for a service. This rises to 1.79 if they phone, or write to us and 6.71 if they visit us. The website also has the benefits of being available at any time, every day and there are no queues so it is quick to use. (These figures are taken from the Socitm benchmarking exercise undertaken this year and are calculated using our overhead costs / number of particular transactions.) We want to empower customers to be able to carry out transactions online, whenever they want 24/7 and without the need for a phone call or calling into the office. It is common these days for customers to carry out many different types of transactions online in other areas of their life and we want our customers to have the choice to interact with us in this manner also. We can achieve Channel shift by: Letting the Customer know about other ways of accessing services e.g. if they visit us face to face one of our greeters can assist them to find information on our website and complete the relevant web form. By making sure that services are available through appropriate and easy to use access channels. By ensuring that customers have confidence that the same level of service is available through each channel and that requests are dealt with consistently. By ensuring that customers receive appropriate and timely feedback and confirmation that their request has been received. This is particularly important with self-service channels e.g. in online transactions. The key factors that influence transition of customers to new channels: 1. Detail the deliberate design of the customer access for each type of service, bearing in mind the level of human interaction required and the needs of the targeted customer base. 2. Fluidity the constant reviewing of the effectiveness of customer access for each type of contact bearing in mind changing technologies, channel hopping and changing customer habits. Version 1.1 Page 16

17 3. Simplicity the optimum channels for the organisation should be the easiest to use for the customer to drive a channel shift in customer behaviour. 4. Inclusion no group should be denied access to a service because of disability, language or cost of access channel. 5. Cost effectiveness Finding ways in which to deliver services effectively but at a lower cost will be increasingly important Currently we have 95% of transactions completed via a mediated channel. We expect to see a further shift between mediated and non-mediated channels over the next 3 years. SOCITM research points to other local councils already achieving 20-65% of transactions via self-service In order for the delivery model to work efficiently each customer access channel must be developed appropriately. Outlined below is a development plan for each of our channels. End to End Processes - Process reviews across all service areas and channels to remove avoidable contacts. Website full redesign, new Content Management System, electronic web forms. Web Integration tools, additional web skills, marketing and mediation support. Telephone maximise transactions moved. Process reviews, new contact management system, customer information system and mediation support. Face to Face Self-service terminals across the district, greeters to mediate customers to web. Home visits provide mobile technology to staff and route planning optimisation. Look for opportunities to mediate customers to alternative channels for future. Correspondence consistency and standards for communication through training, templates etc. Scanning letters to enable paperless offices, driving management of actions against correspondence using electronic workflow. Social Media and Third Party Mobile Sites review policy and look at opportunities to increase use of social media in areas such as: supporting engagement in social democracy. Promoting culture events, getting customer insight, supporting community cohesion. Version 1.1 Page 17

18 Avoidable contact Unnecessary clarification, poor signposting, call transfer/repeat contact, poor sign-posting and call transfer, unnecessary progress chasing and premature closure. 7.5 Customer Insight Customer insight is understanding our customers based on their behaviour, experiences, beliefs, needs or desires. It is important so that we are better able to meet their needs which should produce higher satisfaction and lower costs through reducing avoidable or unnecessary demand. Customer Insight will be essential to deliver channel shift as illustrated in the Customer Management Model (see figure 1 above) We can achieve customer insight by using: External data Census, segmentation tools (e.g. Mosaic or Acorn). Our own measurement data from systems (KPI s). Surveys and Consultation. Compliments and Complaints. Feedback from front facing staff. Customer journey mapping and focus groups. Local media and Social Media. We will use our customer insight to understand changes to we need to make to our service, our communications and processes. We will embed our approach to using customer insight into our future processes and procedures for service development. We will also use Customer Insight to deliver continuous improvement in our services and evidence channel shift. Using the combined measures of customer satisfaction, channel shift changes and costs reductions through channel shift are essential to ensure that we can achieve savings but not at the expense of good customer service and satisfaction. Version 1.1 Page 18

19 8 Actions and Risks 8.1 Work Themes The table below details some of the main activities required to deliver the Customer Management Strategy. Culture Customer Service Excellence Standard Work Themes Within 12 mths mths mths Impact implement standards and practices within 12 months for Customer Services team. gain accreditation within 24 months for Customer Services team H back office areas to implement standards and work towards accreditation Revise and promote Customer Charter; publicise via internal and external communication plan. Develop and deliver formal, structured on-going training for Customer Service facing staff Channel Shift Set up and agree membership of Web Working Group. Review and develop functionality of website. Review and Procure Intranet and Internet Content Management (covered under the IT Strategy). E-forms software procurement and implementation (covered under IT Strategy) Customer Insight Customer Insight Invest and utilise Segmentation tools and analytics and social networking Set up mystery shopping groups. Further development of complaints management to include route cause analysis. H M H H H H H M M Version 1.1 Page 19

20 Work Themes Within 12 mths mths mths Impact Business Process Reviews Business Process Reviews end to end understanding of Customer Transactions to remove duplications and unavoidable contacts. Review of Back office functions to design and move non complex transactions to phone and web. Review requirements to move resource from back office to Customer Services following process review. Technology Investment (all covered under the IT Strategy) Procure and implement new Telephony Procure and Implement Customer Information System Review Requirements and then Procure and Implement Management Information System Procure and Implement EDRMS/Workflow licences and training H H M L H H M Table 1 High Level Action Plan Version 1.1 Page 20

21 9 Main Risks The main risks that are likely to impact the successful delivery of the Customer Management Strategy are: 1. Inadequate funding for customer services improvements Mitigate through robust and adequate business cases. 2. Lack of adequate protection of our sensitive and personal information - Mitigate through good training for staff and updated polices. 3. Poorly developed business cases not able to withstand the pressures of Central Government cutbacks - Mitigate through robust and adequate business cases. 4. Lack of resources to support customer service changes Mitigate through strong leadership investing up front to enable transition to Channel shift. 5. Ineffective planning and preparation Mitigate through applying good project and programme management planning with dedicated project management resource. 6. Insufficient support from staff and customers to adopt new ways of working Mitigate through good communication and engagement planning and execution with staff and customers. Version 1.1 Page 21

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