The Customer Experience Strategy outlines the way we'll seek to support our customers in accessing the many services that we offer.
Since our last Customer Experience Strategy was issued cashless payments have overtaken cash, online access has become primarily via smartphone, and across the UK 90% of adults are now regular internet users, with the figure for Barnsley being closer to 85% and growing. This means that the way we offer our services is changing, with an increasing emphasis on transacting digitally in fewer physical locations.
This is not only driven by environmental factors such as resource availability, but also by our customers’ expectations of how we utilise technology in the changing environment we live in.
The way that we deliver customer services has changed at pace in recent years and reflects the changes in the environment at large. This includes:
- Resilience through giving our contact centre advisors the ability to work remotely, reducing the likelihood of the council being difficult to contact.
- Responding to the market shift to mobile devices by making our content fully responsive to the device it is being viewed on.
- Rapid response to the COVID crisis during 2020, including the rapid establishment of new contact centre functionality.
- Simplification of our web content to better reflect customer expectations and accessibility requirements.
- Increased use of technology to simplify ‘report it’ type transactions through use of maps, and web chat to allow people to stay online rather than have to pick up the phone.
- An increase in the percentage of customers transacting digitally to around 80% of the interactions we record.
- Support to frontline staff to give them the confidence to have conversations with people to really understand how best to support them.
Responding to the pandemic
Our response to the pandemic situation through 2020/21 taught us a lot about the ways we can potentially interact with our customers and our own organisational resilience. We also learned areas for improvement which the strategy seeks to tackle through delivery of its outcomes and objectives.
Our technology solutions prove to be fit for purpose, giving us the ability to work 100% remote within our call centres, something we’d prepared for but in response to business continuity incidents like snow. We’ve also learned that this way of working is challenging for our advisors who have had to deal with an increase in volumes without the everyday support of colleagues and ‘water cooler’ conversations.
We have been able to act swiftly to provide online solutions and enquiry forms, something we’ve had to do many times during response to the constantly changing measures and support available to residents. The take up of online solutions has been much better than expected, with over 80% choosing this over telephony when presented with the choice. This is a real positive as the cost of an online transaction is many times cheaper than voice, and we must work to capitalise on this through ‘digital by choice.’
Our vision is to harness people, process and technology to create an outstanding experience across all channels that is recognised and valued by our customers.
Learn more about how we plan to achieve this below.
The Barnsley 2030 plan communicates our aspiration to be leading in providing ‘a good life for all’. The digital strategy helps in delivering all four main areas identified within the 2030 plan:
Find out more information about Barnsley 2030.
A customer-driven council
The pace of digital change continues to increase, and we have harnessed some of this to be able to provide many more of our services online, in recent years for example, reporting issues online using a map to simply pin point your location or book registration services appointments online.
We must continue to exploit technology to provide our services as efficiently as possible and, in many cases, to ease accessibility to them. However, we must acknowledge that the digital journey is difficult for some and this document seeks to set our expectations around customer access for all, not just our digital natives.
To fulfil the aspirations set out in our 2030 plan, we’ll abide by the design criteria laid out in our Be Even Better Strategy, particularly helping customers to help themselves, moving transactions online to facilitate this, but also in allowing other methods of service delivery where people need it.
Learn more about our objectives, how we plan to deliver them and how achieving them will benefit our residents, partners and businesses below.
Customer-driven Barnsley outcomes
- Digital by choice
- Simplicity and clarity
- Listen and improve standards
- Inclusive access
- Get it right first time
Delivering our outcomes
Some examples of how achieving our objectives and outcomes will benefit our residents, partners and businesses are:
- Recognising and reducing digital exclusion
The pandemic has forced many institutions to rethink how they provide services due to the restriction imposed as part of tackling the pandemic. Many retailers, doctors and supermarkets provided online services instead of face-to-face interactions. For those that are excluded, some tasks are much more difficult and potentially less safe.
We need to recognise that digital cannot be accessed by everyone. In doing so we can shape customer services that, whilst taking maximum advantage of technology, still allow us to interact successfully with excluded cohorts and individuals on the telephone or face to face where it is appropriate.
- Successful use of technology
While we have made vast improvements in the last few years, we are still very much on the journey of improving the way we use technology to improve our customer experience. For many people, there is an expectation now that the council should provide an online offer for the majority of services and this will be their preferred method of contacting or transacting with us.
We want everyone that needs to speak to someone to be able to do so quickly, and for them to be given the time they need to discuss their requirements and leave the call satisfied with the resolution.
- Getting it right first time
When things don’t go as they should it can result in dissatisfied customers, potential increase in complaints and costs incurred in rectifying issues.
By seeking and listening to feedback, and learning from complaints, we can improve our end-to-end service offerings so that all parts of the process perform successfully.
- Inclusive access
While we will seek to make our digital and voice services as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, there will always be some of our customers who are unable to access services in these ways. The strategy seeks to ensure that these customers are not excluded or provided with a degraded service.
Successful implementation of our objectives will ensure that we use data and intelligence to understand exclusion, seek to minimise it where possible but also make provisions for when we can’t.
Read our full Customer Experience Strategy.