Customer Experience is a major focus in the commercial sector with 81% of marketers saying they will be competing mostly on the basis of CX this year. But how do ideas and learnings from the commercial sector translate to local government CX and what can a Council CX programme realistically hope to achieve?

Council customer services

Delivering better customer experiences and improving services & reputation

We know most councils want to become more customer focussed, and in our experience a well-designed programme to measure customer experience feedback, in real-time, and act on that feedback can enable councils to deliver better customer experiences and improve services and reputation.

We’re currently conducting Customer Experience Management (or Voice of the Customer) programmes with some of Australia and NZ’s most proactive councils.  Along the way we’ve found there are a number of elements that you need to get right to achieve this:

  • Delivering real-time feedback to key staff across the business with prompts to act on specific feedback and customer stories is critical
  • It’s also important to measure the things that are relevant to a council customer experience – NPS is rarely the right measurement tool!
  • The online reporting tool, while fundamental, is still just that – a tool, and the success of the programme really depends on how well it’s set up, what you’re measuring and how much the team uses the feedback to actually make improvements
  • Results will happen over time, consistency and effort are key
  • Having executive level buy-in is important, as is the need for operational support to act on the various gold nuggets you will get from customers’ suggestions
  • Improvements in CX ratings are correlated to increases in rates of trust and confidence amongst council customers – so it’s important to get right

5 key factors to driving service improvements with a local government CX programme

If we look back to the commercial context, there is a large amount of data collected as part of an ongoing customer experience feedback programme that is used to drive improvements in CX. The same is true in the council context. We’ve identified key factors from the commercial context that are equally powerful when put to use in the local government sector.

Specifically, councils will find the data collected as part of a Council CX programme highly valuable for:

1. KPI’s – setting goals for CX that are aligned with your goals as an organisation and actively measuring them, by department and business unit and even within specific teams can be hugely powerful.

2. Driving service improvement – the combination of responding to individual customers to follow up on their experience, and having a large amount of data accumulating over time allows councils to dig deeper to identify themes, patterns and trends – the aspects of service that are working really well and the aspects that are frequently described as pain points in the customer journey. This means staff can proactively step in to make process changes – to improve customer experience and reduce friction and customer effort.

3. Complaint management –we’ve seen significant improvement in customer ratings for those council groups that really use their CX feedback. This also means a reduction in complaints, and an ability to act on issues before they blow up into a formal complaint – which means fewer headaches for council staff and customers alike.

4. Testing the impact of new services approaches – since these programmes involve continuous, year-round measurement, it’s easy to track the impact of service improvements and how these have affected customer experience. Then you can continue to pilot and iterate service improvements, rolling out the things that work, and abandoning the things that don’t.

5. Culture change – ultimately, for councils, improving CX comes down to having good systems and a staff culture where the customers’ voice is genuinely valued. Delivering customer stories directly to staff across the business is a powerful way to build empathy – and we know that empathy is absolutely fundamental. The more staff care, the more they’re likely to treat customers like their grandma and the better the wider culture will become.

Get in touch to find out more about driving service improvement with a local government CX programme. Give us a call on +64 9 379 8920, or email insight@buzzchannel.co.nz

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