Basildon Borough Council has deployed the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform as part of its strategic "Customer Experience Programme".
The Programme aims to invest in technologies that enable more effective citizen interaction with the council and its services.
The CRM deployment will ensure customer information and details of their enquiries can be entered into a single system, and referenced as many times as appropriate, according to the access privileges established.
Basildon Borough Council can build a timeline of customer enquiries and interactions from first point-of-contact, through to resolution.
Basildon says it will be able draw on valuable customer insight and build a body of knowledge on which to base key future decisions. The council says it is keen to improve how customers can expect to interact with its services, and the insight provided by "capturing high-quality channel data" will be "invaluable" in identifying the best approach.
Citizens will be able to log requests for assistance via the web and track the progress of their request online.
James Dansey, Dynamics CRM implementation project manager at Basildon Borough Council, said, “Our strategic goal is to improve the customer experience and this in turn will drive the costs of our operation down. By making use of improved customer insight we can make smarter decisions on how to improve our services and put the customer at the heart of our service delivery.
"We see Dynamics CRM as being a key enabler of change and the catalyst for the realisation of significant efficiency savings,” Dansey said.
He said the council's previous CRM system was "incapable" of supporting the scale of the planned expansion of Basildon's customer service centre. It offered "very limited integration with other systems" and provided "limited" customer insight and business intelligence.
"Coupled with changing infrastructure requirements we thought it was time to look for a better way," said Dansey.
Basildon Borough Council’s customer service centre annually handles 680,000 telephone calls, around 84,000 face-to-face visits and receives 3.4 million web page views.
Until now, most customer enquiries were handled in individual departments - usually with an individual system to match - and not at the first point-of-contact, invariably the customer service centre.
Dansey said up to 80 percent of customer contact could be resolved without technical advice, or resolved without warranting interaction with an individual department. "We want to shift that 80 percent to be handled by our customer service centre, and therefore we needed the systems and a technical partner that will enable us to do that, which is why we brought in deployment partner Optevia to do it."
"Phase Zero" of the project saw 13 services go live, including special collection requests, abandoned vehicles reporting, missed bin collection reporting and street cleaning requests. "Phase One" will integrate Dynamics CRM with a web portal - provided by Optevia - which will enable the processing of customer requests online.
Last year, Basildon Borough Council said it had saved £600,000 in the first year of opening a new "face-to-face" customer contact centre, which uses self-service technology. The council said it had saved the money through technology from Qmatic, which helps reduce face-to-face queues in physical contact centres.