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Using the UPRN to service customers better in Salford

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Using the UPRN to service customers better in Salford

 

Introduction

As with many other local authorities in England and Wales, Salford City Council faces challenges to reduce costs whilst improving levels of customer satisfaction. 

While the council has offered online services for many years, there are still large numbers using telephone or face-to-face enquiries despite evidence that customers would use digital solutions if they were the best route available. Face-to-face queries are the most expensive whilst self-service, generally conducted online is the least expensive.

The council want to provide and promote a quicker, easier, better online way to council services and in light of this, have introduced an ‘Intelligent Information Provision' concept. This concept is designed to use data they have in existing systems to allow them to gain insight into customer needs and where possible encourage them to go online. As an example, they have information in two data sets; CRM and the use of a profiling product. Both of these data sets are underpinned and connected by the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN).

CRM is used within their contact centres and provides information on where customers live, the type of calls and how and when they make them. They use a profiling database which categorises residents in many ways; as examples by demographics, abilities, age, skills, employment status etc. It is a detailed product with around 60 different profile types. The data in these two data sets is linked and the types of contacts are shown alongside the customer's profile. Salford City Council hope to examine this combined information and then push the right information to customers through the website to encourage more self-service through on-line transactions.

Challenges

The technical work, involving linking the 2 datasets was made easier by the previous incorporation of the UPRN in several other council systems. This required some extra work time spent on the project but stayed within the job role and was considered standard business work.

With the project at an early stage, no current problems are reported by Salford City Council with the work expected to evolve. No challenges are predicted to occur during the early stages of the project. It is felt with time, more will be understood, and any challenges which may surface can be effectively dealt with to deliver better results.

Solution

The initial profiling data is provided through their profiling product and CRM, with both underpinned by the UPRN. The ‘Intelligent Information Provision' provides several benefits to the council, including:

  • ability to highlight the ‘digitally skilled' residents resulting in the promotion of on-line, text, or email services to the correct people

  • customers will be able to self-serve for a number of new queries across all council services

  • capability to provide online information/ forms in a single place

  • designed to not only be reactive but predictive too. Communication can be sent out at different times during the year to address seasonal topics

The system is designed around residents' skills and needs, with increased customer satisfaction as a driving force to the changes.

Outcome

As much of the work is speculative, the outcomes are those predicted to be achieved by Salford City Council. Many of the proposed outcomes influenced the design of the project. Outcomes include:

  • new innovative ways for the council to improve customer satisfaction whilst saving money

  • increased speed in which the information is delivered

  • self-sufficient customers who are able to find out information at a time that suits them

  • money is saved and available to be used in other departments in the council

  • acts as a gateway to other datasets and other innovative possibilities within the council

  • increased customer awareness of council work

As the system is integrated in to the council over time, the outcomes and their benefits will become clearer.

Contacts

John Gibbons (Authority Address Custodian) - [email protected]

Amber Hill (Research and Communication Assistant) – [email protected]

Also see this article on UK AuthoritySalford tests use of UPRN in data linking