As with many other local authorities in England and Wales, Salford City Council faces challenges to reduce costs whilst improving levels of customer satisfaction.
Salford wants to provide a quicker, easier, better online route to council services.
It is doing this through the implementation of an ‘Intelligent Information Provision’ concept to use the data in existing council systems to gain insight into customer needs, and where possible encourage residents to go online.
The CRM already used within the council’s contact centres provides information on where customers live, the type of calls received and how and when residents make them. The council also uses a profiling database which categorises residents with around 60 different profile type such as demographics, abilities, age, skills, employment status etc. The data in these two data sets is linked by the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN).
This data is used to push the most appropriate information to customers to encourage more self-service through on-line transactions.
The ‘Intelligent Information Provision’ provides several benefits to the council, including:
• the ability to highlight the ‘digitally skilled’ residents resulting in the promotion of on-line, text, or email services to the correct people
• customers are now able to self-serve for many new queries across all council services
• there is now the capability to provide online information/ forms in a single place
• it is 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 a driving force to the changes.
How is the data connected?
The technical work, which involved linking the 2 datasets was made easier by the previous incorporation of the UPRN in several other council systems.
If a customer can be linked to a UPRN, it makes it possible to follow up a service request more quickly, thereby providing the key for more automation. By linking the profiling data with the UPRN it is possible to make deductions about how people are using services and drive them away from inefficient channels towards others, notably electronic channels.
The UPRN link makes it possible to identify which geographical areas different types of enquiries and service requests are coming from. In turn, this can show where specific services need improving and support residents in finding services.
What are the outcomes?
This is an ongoing project for the council which is recording useful outcomes such as:
• new innovative ways for the council to improve customer satisfaction whilst saving money
• an 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
• it acts as a gateway to other datasets and other innovative possibilities within the council
• there is increased customer awareness of council work
Overall, it means that information can be delivered much quicker to self-sufficient customers who can access council services at a time that suits them.
Linking people to places, building the bigger picture