Public sector Microsoft Dynamics CRM specialist, Optevia an IBM company, is working with East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) to redesign and transform service provision and customer engagement across the authority. The project is part of the authority’s personalisation project – a programme that will personalise services so that residents and businesses can be offered a level of service that suits their needs. It will also be central to introducing new products and services to support the council’s ambition of being Council Tax free by 2024.
EHDC is undertaking a review of back-office processes and developing streamlined, easy to use services that can be accessed through the customer’s personal or business account, making interacting with the council possible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The authority anticipates that there are upwards of 50 services that could be linked using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, including: environmental health, waste, Freedom of Information, complaints, fines, and revenues and benefits.
Today, the authority estimates that the majority of its services are only used by 20 per cent of residents. Based on this statistic and, the continued funding pressures faced by the authority, EHDC reviewed its customer / resident management strategy and service provision. Rather than providing a one size fits all service, the authority has moved customers to the centre of service provision and is looking to provide services that customers need, when and where they need it.
The personalisation project is key to helping the council become Council Tax free by 2024. EHDC currently collects council tax on behalf itself, town and parish councils, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority and the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner. The Council’s share of the total collected is 9% and by 2024 it is aiming to reduce that 9% share to zero.
Councillor Julie Butler, EHDC lead councillor for the personalisation project said: “In the current economic climate we cannot rely on business as usual. It is only through fresh ideas and doing things differently that we can meet the challenges we face. Understanding more about the people who use our services is key to enabling us to transform.
In order to be as efficient as possible, we will assess the needs of residents, businesses and visitors using customer insight and design services to meet those needs. This will ensure our resources are focused on the priorities of the people we serve. EHDC was one of few, if not the only, authority to announce a council tax reduction for our residents this year and this project will help us continue to save costs for our residents when and where we can.”
A key focus of the project will be to ensure customers have multiple access channels to the authority. It is looking to reduce face to face contact and telephone contact whilst increasing the volume of online self serve.
Dawn Adey, responsible for service transformation at the authority comments: “All of the data we have points to our local residents wanting more services to be available online. Our website analytics show that we have more contact from London IP addresses during the day than we do from within our district. By working with Optevia to make more of our services available and easy to use online, we expect a significant reduction in face to face and telephone contact. This will free up resources and give our staff more time to spend on customers who really need our help.
The authority will be using the Optevia Local Government Essentials solution, which is in use across dozens of other local authorities and includes a range of specific features and processes designed to save customers time and money whilst also delivering best practice. In addition to the standard set of features and functions of the solution, the authority is adopting agile development methodologies to further tailor Microsoft Dynamics CRM to its specific needs. The 19 strong customer service centre team will lead on the design and project sign off.
EHDC commenced its procurement in late 2013, and ran in depth supplier reviews for at least 12 months. Following an extensive review of the market, the authority shortlisted to three suppliers. EHDC procured through GCloud. Microsoft Dynamics CRM replaces an in house developed database and plethora of other customer contact sheets and systems.
Simon Robinson, local government director at Optevia comments: “By EHDC’s own admission this is probably one of the largest transformation projects they have undertaken for some time and we are privileged to be part of it.
Credit must be given for their all-encompassing review of customer contact and service provision across all of their services. This is not small scale change, but the complete redesign of how they work and interact with their residents. They are real visionaries and it’s great to be working alongside a forward thinking organisation like EHDC.”