Changes to customer services that will see savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds have been recognised by a special award.
The digital projects team at Durham County Council has successfully led the way in transforming the way in which customer interact with the authority, generating savings in excess of £700,000.
And this has been applauded by the team winning the Modern Service Delivery Award from Granicus, an international company focused on helping government organisations build better customer experiences
As part of the transformation, services were reviewed and remodelled following extensive work with customers and stakeholders.
A digital first approach was adopted and significant improvements made to the council’s website and online services.
Over 137,000 customers now choose to transact with the council online through the easy to use ‘do it online’ service making it the preferred method for contacting the council.
Over the last year, more than 170,000 service requests were made through the ‘do it online’ service.
Cllr Andrea Patterson, cabinet member for corporate services and rural issues, said: “The award recognises the ways in which we are improving communication and showing our commitment to our customers.
“Not only is reporting online easy and convenient for customers, it also enables us to direct requests straight to the front line.
“Processes now have automated emails to keep customers up-to-date with what we are doing, reducing the need for them to contact us. SMS messaging is now used to proactively update customers and to inform councillors of a wide range of issues, such as road closures in their local area.”
Customers are also embracing the opportunity to provide feedback in a digital way. Almost 700 online surveys are completed on a monthly basis, which provides valuable feedback to help the council continually improve services.
The digital transformation of services is also helping improve operational effectiveness. Up-to-date technology installed in fleet vehicles is being used to redesign work programmes to ensure they are as efficient as possible.
The installation of in-cab software also allows instant connection with back office systems, meaning that customers can be provided with up-to-date information at the first point of contact.