The NSW local government amalgamations will be complex and disruptive to both local government employees and their communities, but it also provides an opportunity for innovation and increased strategic capacity.
Evidence suggests that amalgamations which are poorly planned and managed result in disaffected communities and negative outcomes. However, amalgamation can be successful if the merging entities commence early collaboration to review, document and map processes and policies for the new Council.
Key to amalgamation success is providing ongoing high level customer service which is seamless throughout and after transition. During the Queensland amalgamations the closure of some local customer service centres was poorly received and suggested to the community that customer service delivery was not a priority. NSW councils can learn from this and commence designing and implementing an integrated customer service function which delivers a seamless transition and perhaps even deliver a multi-channel customer experience prior to proclamation of the new councils.
Some councils will choose to review both counter and contact centre services and at least in regards to contact centres, consider consolidation into a centralised contact centre. It’s unlikely in the long term that Councils will retain multiple administration buildings with customer service counters, however the community, as in Queensland, will still expect local face-to-face access. Locations such as branch libraries present an opportunity to co-host customer service counter facilities.
The amalgamations are a great opportunity to embrace two of the biggest customer service trends in 2016 ‘mobility’ and ‘DIY self-service’. Whatever customer service channels you are currently using or plan to in the future, ultimately your community expect fast and accurate information.
Benefits of livepro for amalgamating councils:
- Rapid Deployment – livepro can be implemented quickly. Gympie Council went live in three weeks with over 550 document notes!
- Ease of use – with very little training, staff can quickly begin to use livepro. New customer service staff at the City of Canada Bay are able to now go live on the phones after one week on the job.
- Central Knowledge – add individual council policies, procedures, forms, planning instruments and more into the system to enable all customer service staff to access consistent, timely and accurate information. This enables agents from across merging councils to answer calls in relation to the previous entities from where ever they are situated.
- People & Culture – create profiles, including photos, contact details, reporting lines of all employees within the new Council and help your team foster community and collaboration.
- Issues & HR Management – announcements in livepro eliminate emails and enable targeted, timely and relevant updates that automatically remove from view when they are no longer relevant. Perfect for customer service agents to be instantaneously aware of an emerging community issue (e.g.: sudden road closure etc.) and also be notified of employee absences.
- Work Instructions – livepro provides easy to follow work instructions so your team can deliver consistent and accurate processing as well as significantly reduce training times.
- Simple Reporting – reportable features allow you to check if staff are reading their Announcements and other helpful analytics to give you an insight into what knowledge is being accessed. Understand knowledge utilisation, team and customer behaviours.
- Affordability – no lock in contract, no minimum users, add users as you need and easy upgrade for more features.
- DIY Self Service – ability to upgrade to livepro’s DIY self-service platform to enable your community to find the answers to their queries on your website instantly!
Don’t cause your community angst during the amalgamation transition, contact livepro for the perfect answer.