Local government turns to social media to improve customer service

Published on 04 October 2013 by in Latest News

social media customer service councils Local government turns to social media to improve customer serviceSocial policy advisory body The Alliance for Useful Evidence has come forward to suggest that public sector organisations could benefit from using thoughts shared via social media to shape the services they offer.

According to the Alliance, a joint venture of the Economic and Social Research Council, the Big Lottery Fund and charity Nesta, social media sentiments could provide valuable insight into what the public need from social organisations. In fact, several major public interest bodies have already begun integrating social media elements into their strategy, including the United Nations, which monitors social channels to pre-empt crises such as food shortages.

For local councils though, the biggest opportunities to use social media undoubtedly lie in customer service. Customer community portals can be used to enable members of the public to share their thoughts on services and post queries, with other users free to offer their advice to resolve common issues, reducing the burden on customer support staff. The organisation itself can then monitor activity and respond to any unanswered questions; a tactic currently used by FixMyTransport and The Joseph Rowntree Housing Foundation. These portals could even be linked with social media accounts so that comments sent in via social media also appear on the site message boards.

It’s important to note though that these social channels should be used to support, not replace, traditional contact points, particularly since some members of the population may be less familiar with social media.

A co-ordinated multi-channel customer interaction management system is key to ensuring customer feedback is heard, no matter how the individual decides to communicate with the organisation. In fact, 95 per cent of local council staff reported improved customer service following the implementation of an integrated support platform tied in to back-office systems.

For more information on how organisations in every sector are realising the potential of social media to enhance their customer service offering, contact numero. 




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