Home > Uncategorized > UK Councils – Customer Access Index April 2010

UK Councils – Customer Access Index April 2010

Sorry we’re a little late in getting this month’s information out. We’ve been at the CIH housing conference in Harrogate.
Understandably much of the discussion at this and other recent events has been around the challenges of doing more for less.  With regards to customer access to services this debate usually includes channel optimisation – which is going to be key over the next few years – lets see why.


Channel migration (or do we mean shifting, forcing, balancing, optimisation etc.)

Different people mean different things when they talk about channel migration. We’ve started to differentiate this meaning by breaking down into further categories – channel optimisation (getting the balance right for both parties), channel forcing (pushing customers to the supplier’s choice of channels), right channelling (working out which services work best over which channels), and a recent one from a project at Amsterdam council which translates as channel balancing.
So this month we have continued to dig further into the data in this area to find some relevant examples. To start off lets take a look at an update to the chart we posted last month – the trend in customer interactions over the primary channels.


Primary channel trends Apr 2010

Primary channel trends Apr 2010

Apart from the blip around Christmas which we described last month the aggregated data across all GovMetric customers is that channel usage seems to have stabilised – most transactional services are done face 2 face and over the telephone – the web is used largely for information provision.  Perhaps this is the position until we shift to Tim Berners Lee’s Gov 2.0 world where opening up more systems and data enables a truly self service transactional capability over the web.
There are many exceptions to this though – where councils have fundamentally challenged the way a service can be delivered online. In contrast a more dramatic change can be seen at Irene Lucas’s South Tyneside back in 2008/9.

South Tyneside channel shft graph

South Tyneside channel shft graph

The full case study can be found here.
One size does not fit all!
The more you dig into customer access channel behaviour, the more it becomes apparent that one size does not fit all. Customer segmentation data from Experian and CACI show us that we all have different shape and size communities – with different needs, capabilities, access to services and skills.
Correspondingly – all councils are different. The provision of different services makes a big difference to the customer access channel profile of the organisation. For example let’s look at the March 2010 interaction volumes across face 2 face, telephone and web channels for a county and a unitary council. The volumes of interactions are measured as a ‘visit’ to the council – i.e. a walk in visit, a telephone call or a customer web session over a 30 minute period.
The first chart below shows a typical unitary council profile. In this instance Environmental Services, Education, Council Tax and Benefits are amongst the higher volume services – which gives the profile we see.

London Unitary March 2010

London Unitary March 2010

However, when we look at at typical County Council we see a different picture – In this case Roads and Transport, Education and Sports & Leisure are heavily accessed services.

English County March 2010

English County March 2010

Because the customer access channel profile is different for each service, and the range of services varies between the 2 organisations, we see a marked difference.


So what! –  you may ask

We recently supported our colleagues at Experian at their ‘Mind the Gap’  conference. Amongst other engagement methods (tweets, text messaging) we were using the GovMetric face 2 face touchscreens to ask the delegates some key questions. A very relevant one to this article was:
“Channel migration and self service represent the biggest opportunity for your organisation to make efficiency savings”
To which the delegates responded as below – clearly this is an important area to gain efficienct savings.

Experian channel optimisation pie chart

Experian channel optimisation pie chart

In conclusion channel optimisation is going to be key over the next few years.  There will be much pressure to move customers to cheaper channels, but doing so for the wrong services, or to the wrong customer types, would be disastrous.  It will be essential to measure such initiatives – from both the customer’s and the organisations perspectives!

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