The customer - at the heart of the web
The customer is deliberately placed at the centre of our approach to an effective website. Everything about the website needs to be focused on the customer's needs and on meeting these in the most cost-efficient way.
But do you know who your customers are? They can take many forms - a local resident, a business, a visitor, an old person, a young person, a person with special needs. Each has different needs and expectations of the council, and each has preferred ways of contacting the council. But their preferred ways may be expensive for you - a service delivered over the web through self-serve costs on average only 1/10 of the cost of dealing with it by telephone or through face to face contact. Even the smallest district council handles over 1 million customer contacts a year - so shifting even 50% of these to the web will achieve savings of over £2 million a year.
Understanding the needs of the customers is vital - not everyone can, or will, use the web, but you need to find ways of providing them with services that are acceptable to them, and cost effective to you. This may mean encouraging and training people to use the web, and providing access to the web in public locations - after all, if they can't use the web to access the council's services, they are also missing out on all the opportunities that the web offers - reduced prices on services, on-line shopping, on-line reservations and job opportunities.
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