Chesterfield Borough Reinvents the Customer Experience with Salesforce
“It's important that we're making a difference in the lives of the Chesterfield residents,” said Rachel Felix, Digital Programme Manager, Chesterfield Borough Council.
Felix and team heavily invested in digital process improvements with the intent to empower the citizens of Chesterfield with self-service tools accessible 24/7. Driven by the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Improvement Program, the borough’s digital transformation plan, Chesterfield’s transition from legacy systems to the cloud consolidated billing, benefits management, grants management, and much more onto one platform; creating a single view of the customers they serve.
Creating A Single View of the Customer
Chesterfield’s customer service processes were foundationally very traditional and manual. “We wanted to make self-service provisions available in Chesterfield”, said Felix, “We wanted to move away from face-to-face contact and paper-based processes.”
Mindful of their mission, the Borough took this as a call-to-action and began introducing self-service to the Chesterfield community. “We wanted to enable customers to access services 24/7 via our website”, recalled Felix, “Then we incorporated goals about improving our ICT infrastructure— making it more stable, enhancing security, and increasing resilience”. Shifting away from the phone and encouraging people online was Chesterfield’s biggest driver for reinventing the customer experience. Not only would this increase online channels and encourage as much online usage as possible, but it would free up their phone lines for teams to help those without Internet access. “We're trying to push everything through the contact center now, to show that record and have this single view of the customer,” stated Felix. Additionally, Chesterfield’s team sought to grow their skills in tandem with the new process improvements— allowing both people and processes to develop concurrently. “Previously, we leveraged a lot of forms for our internal processes, but it wasn’t something that we could mirror externally to support our customers and residents”, said Felix.
Motivated by their objectives, Felix and team began to map out what services would undergo the process transformation as well as departments that would be impacted. “We had regular meetings and workshops that involved everyone from senior management to the operatives”, stated Felix. To further streamline their mission, technology was incorporated via a partnership with Arcus Global and Salesforce— to begin the journey of bringing a modern approach into the platform. “Our strategy focused on our internal process with the intent to serve our customers better. I see Salesforce like a jigsaw that helps us fit all of the pieces together,” said Felix.
Chesterfield needed a contact center to give them the automation and visibility they required to better serve and communicate with their customers.
Chesterfield Reinvents the Customer Experience on the Cloud
Integration: Most recently MuleSoft was added, enabling the platform to integrate with third party systems from front to back office. “This gives customers a single ‘front-door’ experience for engaging Chesterfield’s services on the front end without compromising our ability to configure processes to meet program-specific needs on the back end,” said Felix. This deployment of their Right First Time Contact Center System serves as a triage center, capturing information about a given request and processing applications within a single system.
This degree of visibility makes it easier for Chesterfield and team to check on the status of a specific set of details, or report on performance as a whole, anytime, across any of the agencies it supports. It also helps the team address service needs and justify resource requests based on data-driven insights.
Getting Service Right with the Right First Time Contact Center
Working with Capita, the Right First Time Contact Center System went live in one year and since then the team has seen over 15,000 registrations in the My Chesterfield portal (representing 30% of Chesterfield’s households). They are also seeing an average of 1100 logins to My Chesterfield every week, showing the ongoing traction an online forum has with the community. The team continued to add new online services— “50 in the past 9 months alone”— and as a result has seen a 6.5% reduction in telephone calls, a 42% reduction in online complaints, and is saving on average 3 hours a day on staffing a reception desk.
“That’s 3 hours per day that we get to refocus on mission-critical work,” said Felix, a move that ended up being so strategic it was almost clairvoyant with the onset of COVID-19. “Shortly after our solution went live, the government announced that there would be grants distributed to those asked to self-isolate; in addition to businesses that had to close. New information was coming out week after week after week and things were constantly changing. It was relentless, but we had a system that could adapt accordingly.”
Felix and team expanded their Salesforce instance by giving their customers visibility of their billing documents, benefit payments, direct debit details, and council tax balances all through My Chesterfield. The team also added the ability to apply for grants to the My Chesterfield portal, which was up and running in about 10 days and has collected roughly 95 percent of all grant applications, no phone calls or paper forms needed.
“I think what we've done at Chesterfield demonstrates that you can use one platform for multiple use cases,” said Felix. “We’ve seen what you can achieve with the cloud if you have the right people, process, and technology within your team.”