Connecting Ratepayers with the right Services, Now!
As governments of all levels grapple to provide information and services easily, efficiently and as cost effectively as possible, the outcome has perhaps delivered the opposite result.
Governments across Australia have hundreds, if not thousands of websites, hundreds of “contact us” email addresses and an array of telephone numbers. It’s no wonder rate payers struggle to make contact with the right department, for the right service and within a time frame suitable to their requirements.
A Clear Customer Service Strategy
Creating and then executing a clear customer service strategy is key. Long before technology options should be reviewed, you need to look at your audience, your ratepayers, your customers, vendors etc. and understand their communication preferences. What’s going to be the best way to reach these people and what’s the best way for them to reach you?
There’s little point investing in a new 300 seat call centre if you uncover rate payers prefer to access your services via apps on their mobile smart phones. Research needs to be done to ensure your strategy is on the mark. Gartner tell us that access via smart phones will exceed home pc access to the web by 2012.
Whether you are a local council, state or federal government body, having central access to your ratepayer’s data is key. Ensuring that whomever the constituent calls, has access to all of their relevant details, is critical to helping them experience “One Government”.
The idea of “OneGovernment” is the ability of ratepayers to go to a single place to access details relevant to them, their families and their communities. This could be a “portal” which, based on the user profile, would present access to information relevant to specific government services. For example, a parent who owns their own home would see links to child services, building planning and approvals, Centrelink and others. A single person renting in the inner city will have different needs again. A farmer in regional locations would see access to export assistance, farming subsidies eligibility, water resources etc.
The better the profile data provided by the citizen, the more personalised their experience would be using OneGovernment.
While the configuration of web sites to deliver this personalised information is complex, it could only be managed with a solid framework to support it. A framework built on a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) style that enables the constituent to be the centre of the data is an excellent option.
Our Westminster system of government requires the participation of citizens to function, as it should. Their input is invaluable to help shape community policy, local planning, public transport needs and the needs for additional government services in their community.
Engaging with the community has been enhanced with the evolution of Social Media. However, many government departments are not prepared with the sufficient technology to capitalise on the benefits this medium can bring. Perhaps setting aside the technological requirements, firstly there is a need to understand how social media can help ratepayers and government departments.
The corporate world has made advancements in the business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) space. Many still struggle to make it work as they wish it would, while others have had success in the B2C space with facebook and twitter combined with SMS.
The better organisations have Social Media Managers or at least a social media strategy. Again, long before technology is logged into, you need to have a clear strategy about where you’re headed and what you’re trying to achieve. How will social media enhance the ratepayers experience as they interact with you?
Top 5 Tips For Helping Ratepayers Access the Data They Need
- Map your existing channels of communication. Understand the current state of contact options for ratepayers. How can these be enriched? Do they match the needs of the ratepayers?
- Develop a Customer Service strategy with the customer at the centre. Don’t fall into the trap of gearing your approach around what you want to share while mandating how people contact you. Do some research, uncover what you don’t know.
- Review the technological options available to you that will help your organisation pool together profiles of your ratepayers. Build profiles of your ratepayers and gain an understanding of their needs and the services or solutions you can provide them.
- Look abroad to learn best practice. Look to the corporate world, what can you learn from them?
- Is your website social media ready? How can social media help ratepayers reach you?
Click Here to learn more about how CRMNow can help you create an environment to easily communicate with your ratepayers, customers and vendors.