How effective is your website in supporting self-service? How well does it meet customer needs? How well does its technical platform support the functions you need for service delivery? Organisationally, is the website delivering what is expected of it? We can answer all of these questions in a short, focused review, offered at a fixed price.
The review comprises three separate components, presented in a single report that details the customer perspective, the technical perspective, and the organisaitonal/strategic perspective.
Are you clear about how social networking can deliver value and reduce cost for your organisation? If not, you may not be benefiting to the full.
Having a customer service strategy is something that most customer-facing organisations accept as a necessity - but how far does it go in terms of specifically identifying the role of the web, the role of social networking, and taking account of access from smartphones? Currently few councils address these issues either in their strategies or in the practical reality of their websites.
East Cambridgeshire District Council had developed a web site over a number of years which included interactive capabilities. The Council developed and maintained the site, supported by Socitm Consulting with a remit to transfer skills to Council staff. The website was maintained through an in-house content management system utilising a WYSIWYG web page editor and site management capabilities.
Many people assess how good their website is on the basis of how it looks, how easy it is to use, the quality of the "customer journey", the number of hits, the number of transactions...... the list is a long one. But fundamentally, there is only one basis for assessment - does it do the job it was intended to do? This raises the question of what a council website is intended to do, and many councils are less than clear on the subject. Those that have a well-defined web strategy tend to be clearer - and usually the website is there to do three things:
Achieving channel shift is what the council website is all about - about moving customer contacts and transactions from more expensive options (telephone, face to face contact, letter) to less expensive options (self-service on the web, self-service through automatic voice recognition systems, and through the use of SMS on mobile phones) - effectively by moving from services which require staff to be involved to those which do not.
Having established their websites, it is surprising how many councils struggle to identify the functionality they need their website to deliver, or indeed to implement the functionality. Often it is because they have chosen the wrong content management system (CMS) - one designed for the general commercial market rather than one specifically for councils, or they've cut costs by buying one of the very simple general purpose systems which struggle to cope with the size and complexity of a council website.
Every council website has to carry an immense amount of information - everything from when the bins are emptied at a particular address to whether an elderly relative might be eligible for social care. For a customer, finding their way around a council website can be confusing - and eventually, they give up and phone or contact the council by other means. For the council that's a failure - the website has failed to deliver what it is meant to deliver.