Boost for coun­cil cus­tomer ser­vices

Five-year strat­egy will im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tions

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page - Lynn Jolly

Fam­i­lies can now pay coun­cil tax, ap­ply for hous­ing ben­e­fit and ar­range for bulk up­lifts more eas­ily than ever thanks to a new cus­tomer ser­vices scheme.

Mem­bers of the Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil’s Fi­nance, Re­sources and Cus­tomer Ser­vices Pol­icy Board have backed the new five-year Cus­tomer Strat­egy lead­ing up to 2022.

Each year, cus­tomers get in touch with the coun­cil three mil­lion times.

Cus­tomers ac­cess a wide range of ser­vices to pay bills, ar­range up­lifts and re­port fly tip­ping .

The new strat­egy has been pre­pared fol­low­ing de­tailed cus­tomer re­search, which iden­ti­fied on­line ac­cess and speed of re­ply as the two most im­por­tant fea­tures of any ser­vice.

Re­search also showed the coun­cil web­site, email and phone are the most con­ve­nient con­tact meth­ods, while those with a dis­abil­ity or re­quir­ing lan­guage sup­port pre­fer to visit a con­tact cen­tre in per­son.

Coun­cil­lor John Shaw, con­vener of the board, said: “Our Cus­tomer Strat­egy rightly puts Ren­frew­shire cus­tomers at its heart and has been de­vel­oped through de­tailed cus­tomer con­sul­ta­tion.

“It is vi­tal that we un­der­stand who our cus­tomers are, the chal­lenges they face and the ser­vice they re­quire, in­volv­ing them in the de­sign of ser­vices and learn­ing from their feed­back.

“We want to pro­vide eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, sim­ple to fol­low ser­vices which pro­vide a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for all our cus­tomers from the first con­tact through to a suc­cess­ful res­o­lu­tion. At the same time, when we get things wrong, we will ac­knowl­edge this and work with cus­tomers to put things right again and re­fine our ap­proach.”

The new strat­egy will con­tinue to of­fer face- to- face and phone con­tact, and will also make more ser­vices avail­able on­line, de­vel­op­ing a sin­gle sign- on process and web chat as­sis­tance as well as greater use of so­cial me­dia com­mu­ni­ca­tions chan­nels to con­tact the coun­cil.

This builds on the suc­cess of the coun­cil’s MyAc­count plat­form, which en­ables on­line ac­cess to a range of ser­vices and has seen more than 26,000 cus­tomers reg­is­ter since its launch last March.

Coun­cil­lor Shaw added: “More and more cus­tomers are look­ing to com­mu­ni­cate, in­ter­act and ac­cess ser­vices through dig­i­tal chan­nels.

“MyAc­count has proved very pop­u­lar and we will ex­tend this and adopt more in­no­va­tive ways of work­ing to en­sure we de­liver a truly dig­i­tal ser­vice.

“We recog­nise that not all our cus­tomers are able to ac­cess ser­vices dig­i­tally and that’s why we are putting fa­cil­i­ties in place like free pub­li­cally avail­able wifi across our town cen­tres and self-ser­vice cus­tomer ser­vice ar­eas.

“And we know many peo­ple are not com­fort­able us­ing on­line ser­vices so have in­vested in train­ing our staff and equip­ping our com­mu­nity part­ners with the right skills to sup­port and as­sist cus­tomers.

“Cus­tomers will ben­e­fit from a joined- up ap­proach re­gard­less of how they con­tact us and will still be able to con­tact us face-to-face and by tele­phone.

“Cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions are chang­ing and a one-size-fits-all ap­proach won’t work – we must tailor our ser­vices to meet our cus­tomers’ needs.”

Cus­tomers first Coun­cil­lor John Shaw with Gail Tate, the Cus­tomer Ser­vice Unit’s first Dig­i­tal Cham­pion, and coun­cil cus­tomer Richard An­der­son, from Pais­ley

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