The website is there to earn its keep - if you are going to spend an average of £50-£100k a year on keeping the website up to scratch (and if you're spending more, look very carefully at the costs), you need to be assured that you are achieving at least 5-10 times this in direct benefits and savings - in other words, the website should be saving you at least £1 million a year. If it's not, ask some very searching questions.
The website earns its keep by delivering quality services to customers, at lower cost than by other channels. Properly implemented, it also increases customer satisfaction and the council's standing in the community.
But you only get the benefits if you work at it; even if you shift 30% of the council contacts to the web, unless you reduce the size of the contact centre (and probably remove the CRMS) you won't save any money. The councils that do make the savings are very clear about where the savings are coming from, and they reduce the budgets accordingly ahead of time, so as to ensure that the savings are actually made.
The key benefits to be achieved from the website are:
- customers more satisfied - measurable by survey, feedback, and their take-up of the services
- savings in cost - measurable by the shift in transactions from the mediated channels to less expensive self-service
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