Customer requirements surveys
Understanding your customers' needs, and indeed, knowing who your customers are, are both vital to a successful service delivery strategy.
Socitm Consulting has a range of tools and approaches that can help you with these.
Current volumes of transactions
Knowing how many transactions you are currently dealing with is a good starting point - this helps to identify:
- Volumes - how many contacts are there currently between the council and its customers, what form do these contacts take, and how are they dealt with?
- Channels - what channels do customers use for contacting the council or obtaining services (and what channels does the council use itself)?
- Nature of contact - why are people contacting the council - to request a service, seek information, follow up on an earlier contact?
- Handling - how the contacts are handled in the council - how many are dealt with to completion at the first point of contact, for those that aren't, who do they get passed to and why, what happens to the contacts then?
- Costs - what are these transactions costing the council and how could this cost be reduced?
We can offer a transaction survey, covering all your current channels (including web, direct bank payments, face to face, telephone, e-mail, letter, and indirect) both to provide a baseline measurement for the current position, and to monitor progress in shifting customer contacts to less expensive channels. The costs range from around £5,000 (for a district council) to £15,000 for a larger unitary council, for the initial survey, then repeat fees of between £2,000 and £6,000 as required.
Many customer needs surveys are framed in ways that steer the respondents towards the status quo - questions such as "if you had a choice of how you could contact the council - by web, telephone, face to face, or other means, which would you use?" tend to encourage answers which favour telephone contact. Why? Because for most councils, the web delivers little and people know it, face to face often means long waits in an open seating area where you can be overheard by others waiting in the queue, and telephone is the only real option.
That's why our survey methods are framed in a way that focus on what people want to achieve, rather than on the mechanics of how they want to communicate, and we work from there to derive the best channels of delivery. Our surveys, too, are not just based on questionnaires and interviews, but also on interactive involvement of customer groups - to test and validate the findings of the surveys and particularly to test out web developments, as well as contact centre services and face to face services.
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