Agenda item

Customer Services overview


Considered – Presentation by Margaret Wallace, Assistant Director for Customer, Revenue and Benefits and Sarah Foley, Head of Customer Services.


Some of the key points highlighted in the presentation are as summarised below:

·       The aim of customer services is to act as one council, with one front door from day one so that the customer experience is as seamless as possible.

·       There are 230 customer advisors within the new council, but they are all still situated within their local areas.

·       The new county-wide service is aiming to embed customer insight and experience, planning and forecasting, data and reporting and continual improvement.

·       Safe and legal was achieved at day one, with a lot of work achieved in the build up to day 1. Improvements will continue as services transform, with opportunities to link services together for face to face customers.

·       There is a lot of complexity involved to ensure that a customer can journey to the right information or person in the right location that can help.

·       Top demand areas for face to face customers include making payments, housing enquiries and waste and recycling.

·       On the phone, demands include council tax, waste and recycling and highways

·       From April to May improvements have been made, with 8% more calls handled and the rate of abandoned calls dropping by 34%.

·       Also from April to May, the average time to answer calls is 42 seconds quicker, with the average time to abandon calls 31 seconds quicker.

·       The new ‘Contact Us’ online form has been used over 6,000 times to date, which provides vital customer data insight to make changes to services. Since the feature was launched, 900 changes have been made to improve the customer journey.

·       A website chatbot supports customers 24/7, with enquiries since vesting day including bin collection day, garden waste, council tax, general waste and recycling.

·       Benefits of a county-wide service include: increased opportunities for customers to access services in one contact; using expertise to problem solve and work together on customer journey mapping; an intelligence led approach using insight from data and feedback; opportunities to flex as a function to better meet changing and evolving demands.

·       Challenges for the new customer services team include the differences in the technology used across the county, with no one central CRM system and a culture change required with the new NYC website looking and feeling different due to bringing eight legacy sites together.

·       Next steps include: looking at options for one CRM system; improving customer journeys; simplifying information on website; using feedback to refine tools and developing a consistent customer offer.


Following this, questions raised by the committee included:


·       Use of the safety net team to triage phone calls in the initial first few weeks of North Yorkshire Council.

·       Ways of improving the average response time to answer phone calls.

·       Issues with the phone software provider.

·       The continued use of the legacy phone numbers and how these will be phased out to leave the new 0300 number.


Resolved – That the report be noted and an update be presented to the committee in six months at the December 2023 meeting.

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