Boost for council customer services
Five-year strategy will improve communications
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