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Agenda item

Customer Experience Programme - Update

Report of the Director of Policy, Performance and Communications



The Committee received a report of the Director of Policy, Performance and Communications containing an update on progress regarding the implementation of the Customer Experience Programme.  The report contained details in terms of progress made since the last report was presented to the Committee, in April 2018, and also set out a range of forthcoming activity.




James Henderson (Director of Policy, Performance and Communications) reported that a reasonable level of progress had been made, with officers focusing specifically on improving the Council’s on-line services, with recent improvements being made to the on-line payment system and a new Intranet.  In terms of future activity, Mr Henderson stated that a focus for the Programme for the year ahead was reviewing the Council’s approach to customer access through face to face and telephone provision.  He referred briefly to the interim results of the recently undertaken customer survey, which had been undertaken in order to get a better understanding of the changing levels of expectation of both Council officers and the public. 




Members of the Committee raised questions, and the following responses were provided:-




·             Whilst there was no data available at the meeting regarding how those residents who had English as a second language were accessing the Council website, there was a general belief that there would be some issues for them in terms of accessing, and reading information on the website.  This was one of the reasons why the Council would be focusing on improving its face to face and telephone services. The website met all relevant accessibility standards to ensure that it could be used by people with sight difficulties.




·             The Council was looking at how it could improve its telephone services, particularly with regard to how staff interacted with members of the public and, in particular, how staff might be enabled to consider the wider circumstances of the customer, rather than simply providing a transactional service.  This issue had also been raised as part of the initial results of the customer survey.   




·             Whilst a focus for the year ahead would be on improving face to face and telephone services, work would continue on improving the Council’s on-line services.  It was acknowledged that despite improvements over the last few years, customer satisfaction was not yet high enough for online services.




·             Mystery shoppers were used as part of the drive to monitor and improve customer service.  This practice had been adopted as part of the scoping work for proposed improvements to the face to face and telephone services.




·             Information as to whether the Council, as part of its telephone service, provided members of the public with the option of ringing them back if they so requested, would be provided to Members.




·             Whilst it was difficult to provide a precise answer, it was estimated that the Council was still using between 100 and 200 paper forms.  Whilst efforts were being made to convert these forms to online versions, it was not a simple process as there was a need to ensure that the e-forms automatically interacted with back office systems.  It was accepted that further work was required in this area.




·             The Council was mindful that an ‘invest to save’ approach would be beneficial, both for the Council and for the public, and officers were looking at submitting a business case for this at present. 




·             Although the forms used by the Council would be designed by officers, the design was based on customer feedback.




·             Whilst every effort was being made to improve the Council’s online customer experience, there was only a small team of officers working in this area, meaning that careful prioritisation was required in terms of which areas to focus resources on. 




·             Whilst Capita were still providing the Council’s IT services, transitioning arrangements would commence within the next few months in terms of the new provider.




·             Details as to whether members of the public were able to register a death by phone, and not only on-line, which it was believed was presently the case, would be forwarded to Members.




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)      notes the contents of the report now submitted, together with the responses to the questions now raised;




(b)      thanks James Henderson for attending the meeting, and responding to the questions raised; and




(c)      requests that this issue be placed on its Work Programme for 2019/20, and that the Director of Policy, Performance and Communications attends a meeting during that Municipal Year to provide a further update on the progress made under the Customer Services Programme, focussing on the issues raised at this meeting.


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