Public access review
The project issues
Halton Direct Link is the customer service interface for Halton Borough Council, and comprises two One Stop Shops, a telephone contact centre and web-based services. Halton Borough Council has made a significant investment in this project, including the development, in partnership with commercial suppliers, of sophisticated CRM software which enables direct access into back office systems.
The Council wished to assess progress to date in terms of quality of customer service and back office efficiency, and to examine strategic options for future development. It was also interested in how the systems and services offered via Halton Direct compare with other local authorities.
Socitm Consulting was asked to conduct a comprehensive review of both the efficiency and effectiveness of the Direct Link project. As part of this, we were asked to assess customer, community stakeholder and partner organisation views using both qualitative and quantitative measures. We were also asked to evaluate the extent to which Halton Direct Link is helping to improve the efficiency of Council back offices, and to advise on a future strategy for the development of the project.
The Socitm Consulting solution
Following discussions with Rob MacKenzie (Operational Director Performance & Policy), Ray Dart, (Operational Director Exchequer and Customer Services), Roy Wainwright (Head of Customer Services) and Simon Riley (Operation Director of IT), we undertook a series of one-to-one interviews, group interviews and workshop sessions with staff, elected members from Halton Borough Council and partner organisations.
Surveys were also undertaken to gather the views of the public, community and partner organisations. These involved an exit poll survey at both one-stop-shops, a telephone survey of members of the public who had used the contact centre and the results of a Citizen Panel survey.
Although Halton Borough Council had recently joined the Socitm Insight website take-up service, it was felt that there would be insufficient recorded data available to use within the report. Therefore, a questionnaire was developed and placed on the website to establish the view of its users.
Research was undertaken using a variety of sources, including Halton documentation, statistics from the Halton Direct Link and telephone logging systems, the Socitm Knowledge Base and public local government information. Data was also used from other councils and some partner organisations.
The benefits to the client
As an early adopter of CRM-enabled customer access channels, Halton Borough Council was able to gain an objective view of how well these services were regarded by customers and partner organisations and the extent to which they have contributed to back office efficiencies.
Our research confirmed that the enthusiasm and drive of service managers is second to none and this is reflected in the commitment and team approach of the staff. The service is clearly valued by local users, elected members and partner agencies.
Although we found that the quantification of back office savings to date has been limited, the project provided a roadmap to measuring them in future by re-engineering all service delivery to use Halton Direct Link.
Our research confirmed the potential for future expansion and development of the service. However, such development will bring with it a number of choices, all of which come with a range of additional costs and associated benefits.
Client organisation: Halton Borough Council
Client contact: Rob Mackenzie, Operational Director Policy and Performance, 01514717416, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead consultant: Linda Butlin
Project No. 5455
You may also be interested in these items
- Our services
- Self service - satisfaction and savings
- Customer-centric view of the Council of the Future
- Council of the Future
- Channel shift – are you reaping the benefits?
- Our web services
- The customer - at the heart of the web
- Creating the perfect website
- Essentials for a perfect website
- Tweeting your way to savings - a strategy for social networking
- Web vision and strategy
- Integration to key systems
- Customer service - what the web has to deliver
- Customer requirements surveys
- The website and intranet of tomorrow - today!