For organisations engaged with customers around many different interconnected products on a regular basis, it makes commercial sense to invest in developing a single view of the customer across legacy infrastructure. Particularly when information in each silo needs to be understood in order to make effective business decisions.
In the private sector, organisations faced with such challenges have invested large financial amounts in IT for decades, to reach a stage of knowing their customer at any precise moment in time, whilst protecting their investment in legacy. In all honesty, some legacy systems were too scary and too mission-critical to even contemplate changing.
The private sector invested in Master Data Management layers to create a single customer view across their silos. They had to do this at a time when technology infrastructure required the creation of bespoke solutions and many man-years of IT development.
Create the customer view appropriate to the customer enquiry
But, in reality, does a council need the same preparation and seamless data-knowledge in order to be able to anticipate every interaction?
The relationship between most citizens and their council is light touch and sporadic. The vast majority of citizens have little more than a Council Tax relationship with their council, with infrequent and difficult-to-predict touch points when it comes to the services they require. Maintaining a single view of these customers, just in case it’s needed, is a massive and unnecessary overhead.
Providing access to council services, digitally on-demand, has transformed the dynamics between the supply chain and the citizen. What is important now, is not how much the service supplier knows about that citizen across its departments, but how intelligently it responds to specific requests.
Digital self-service solutions, such as IEG4’s OneVu Citizen Engagement Portal along with open APIs, enable organisations to adopt a ‘They ask. You answer.’, outcome-based approach. This makes the citizen responsible for their identification and authentication, through which they can then receive the answers they seek. For example, a login profile gathered once can be sufficient for general enquiries, with occasional further proof relating to the specific transaction, requested and if need be stored for future use.
Digital engagement drives down avoidable contacts
A digital solution ensures that the customer profile is appended to each request made to the council. Immediately, non-value adding activity to identify the customer is removed from every contact. Indeed, many digital requests can be handled automatically, and information passed to the relevant stakeholders (internally and externally) in real-time, without the need for staff intervention.
Because the customers authenticate themselves, personalised responses from back-office systems can be retrieved and presented back every time a request is made. The result is a delivered outcome; with the stages and result recorded within the customer’s portal.
Where a requested service may take longer to complete and involves multiple stages, communications about the next steps and the expected service levels can also be sent in response to the request. This reduces the customer’s need to make follow-up calls to check progress. Councils using OneVu have seen reductions in such follow-up calls by as much as 50%.
Maintaining the customer view of the council, not the council view of the customer.
Over time, the customer will build up a profile of their dealings with the council. Creating the customer’s view of the council, rather than the other way around, reduces master data management processing overheads, without losing business capability. Importantly with OneVu, that same customer view is also available to council staff, as and when required.
By focusing on delivering the outcome, supported wherever possible by digital automation, the council improves the customer’s service experience. Digital solutions enable councils to automate more services whilst dramatically increasing productivity.
The customer / council relationship data is developed and maintained as a by-product of delivering a desired service outcome. Without digital solutions, call handling and data gathering becomes the main procedure required, which is the sequence demanded by traditional CRM systems.
In a digital world, the customer sees as much of their relationship with the council as they need. For the council, there’s no need to maintain the synchronicity of the master data across all departments and customers.
In conclusion, councils which change their focus to deliver an outcome digitally can use this to transform their business capabilities and improve their customer service. In doing so, they can protect their legacy investment and simplify their technology landscape.
IEG4’s OneVu Customer Engagement Portal provides the catalyst for such focus. OneVu’s breadth of services, and its no code configuration toolset, puts council staff in control of the pace and scale of digital service deployment. With OneVu, business proprieties determine the service transformation sequence and continuous improvement becomes part of ‘business as usual’.
For the customer, OneVu offers a one-stop portal for dealing with council services. Service quality and experience are vastly improved. The need for telephone contact and council visits is significantly reduced for the majority of citizens who are already digitally wired and programmed to use their mobile devices to access services.