Councils and social housing organisations provide a wide range of public services. Unlike corporate enterprises, these are delivered irrespective of the customer's finances or capabilities. Tough business decisions to stop a service or only deliver across certain channels need always to be tempered with social responsibility.
When realigning services and implementing a multichannel or digital strategy, councils need to consider those that are independent or 'able' AND those who are vulnerable and 'not able' across a multiple of factors including technology, cost or capability. This balance often leads to heated debate and the need for alternative options.
Reaching an objective solution and delivering a business case that will deliver future value requires analysis and a deep understanding of individual services, the population and transaction methods.
Netcall's customers ask us to assist them with best practice on 'how' to evaluate and define the correct digital path. Following workshops with the Public Sector Customer Services Forum (PSCSF) we have compiled this series of blogs to reflect measures that can be used as a framework for the case for change to more effectively match transactions with channels while seeking to reduce costs.
Four tools in your tool kit
During the PSCSF workshops in Halifax and Glasgow, delegates considered how they could use the following tools to analyse transactions and channels. From this analysis, you could formulate a framework for decisions, create an inclusive business case and then assess the total value expected from the proposed change. (Thank you for the shared experience from Kent County Council and GovMetric) These tools include:
- Customer journey
- Lean thinking
- Quality and Equality impact assessment (QEIA)
- Social Return on investment (ROI
Mapping the journey clearly defines each touch point between the organisation and the customer providing a customer point of view perspective. The effort or difficulty in transacting for each party can be quantified. When the timing and relevance of each intervention is considered it offers an opportunity to review, shift or change the process.
Using relevant approaches from this objective review method such as the 'five whys?' uncovers 'root cause' or the essential needs from any process. The team is able to critically examine activities, and likely to uncover areas where 'old habits' or unneeded processes can be removed, eliminating waste and improving system efficiency.
Assessing the impact of any change as it relates to for example, safety, effectiveness, experience and the Equality Act 2010, may seem a step too far. However failed processes cost more to rectify and ensuring that changes are beneficial to all, or that they have an associated positive value is likely to increase adoption and the potential for success.
Consider how reengineering the process would benefit the organisation and establish if there is any benefit to the customer. Any change should deliver a payback such as reduced costs, time or effort for both parties. Dissatisfied customers will find an alternate route to make contact often resulting in a higher total transaction cost.
The debate on choosing the best channel for each transaction continues.
In the next blog, we consider the role and impact of task complexity, cost and the need customers have for reassurance will have on refining any strategy.
Read also about balancing any decisions against the 'metrics that matter' to your organisation