Case studies suggest public service bodies could benefit significantly from encouraging customers to use more efficient communication systems to resolve issues, both in terms of cost and service quality.
The past two decades have brought seismic shifts to the world of customer service, dramatically increasing the number of possible contact channels, first with the advent of the internet and next through mobile and social media.
While for the consumer this means increased flexibility and the option to choose the most convenient channel for their needs, for local councils it can mean growing costs in order to tend to multiple contact points. In fact the average council now receives over 400,000 customer service interactions per year, including 50,000 emails.
Understandably, not all channels imply the same operational costs and there are dramatic cost savings to be made through diverting customers to less expensive forms of contact. However, as a public service organisation, councils must still ensure their services are open to all, including those who are less familiar with modern technology.
As a result, councils must strive to achieve a balance between budgetary pressures and accessibility by identifying the processes which could most easily be automated without restricting access. For example, a simple, convenient online form could replace the need for individuals to contact the council to replace a rubbish bin, though this alternative should still exist for the less digitally-able.
This kind of development reduces the burden on the council’s customer service staff, allowing them more time to attend to more complex, pressing issues. Through channel shifts like this, one council even managed to reduce staffing costs by £50,000 per year while at the same time improving out of hours contact services.
For guidance on which areas of your organisation’s customer service operations it would be most suitable to adapt and how to encourage consumers to switch to more cost-effective channels, contact numero.