Modern customer journey management is not only a way to create better value for business in terms of return on investment and growth. In Milton Keynes in southern England, it has improved support for people in economic and social difficulties, helped to give assurance to the most vulnerable customers and made better use of tax payers’ money.
A few weeks ago, I met Terry Wright in Milton Keynes in southern England. He works for the council and the residents he and his colleagues meet are often people in need of essential services like housing and welfare. Sometimes the same residents have suffered anti-social behavior and hate crime. It is very important to these victims that their anonymity is maintained in public. This is challenge in a public space like a council reception where customers are routinely asked to give detailed personal information about themselves to reception staff where other customers might overhear.
That was the case until recently and before the introduction of modern solutions for customer journey management at the council. As the public access project manager Terry Wright has overseen the implementation of Qmatic’s updated system for customer processing and meeting handling for three years. The result has so far been several improvements for both customers and staff:
Before modern queuing systems, all the visitors at the council office would have had to wait for their turn, state their business at the service desk and then, get help when the relevant council coworker was free.
Today the visitors can plan their visit ahead, book the visit in advance, and can be sure to meet the right person for their individual needs. Customers who drop in without an appointment can discretely book themselves into a queue for a service by completing a digital form on a touch screen without having to disclose details about themselves in public. These innovations help visitors to feel safe, save time and makes planning easier for the council workers, especially since the reasons for people visiting varies from desperate social need to planning permissions.
Terry pointed out that some of the cases are emergencies, like families who have just lost their home. In those cases, booking a meeting in advance is out of the question. But this type of urgent cases are less frequent in the daily routines at the council.
The clients seem to agree with the ambition for smoother handling of pre-booked meetings in non-emergency cases. In a survey in May where some 30 customers were interviewed more than 80 percent indicated they would use appointment based bookings.
Handling remaining drop-in clients has become easier too: They check in at a kiosk and the system then looks up the details in an address database and presents this back to the client. The client can then choose their correct details easily. This means improved security and better service.
And this part of the new system is also the solution to avoiding the potential for a member of staff serving a customer who is known to them in a private capacity. As staff now can see the name and address of a client before actually meeting them, they have the option to pass a client on to a colleague.
The use of state of the art solutions for customer journey management also gives tools to deliver better value for money for taxpayers. Qmatic’s comprehensive Business Intelligence tools provide Milton Keynes Council with management information that helps drive change and improvement. For example, although the council receives, on average 6,132 face to face customer visits each month, the system shows that between 30 and 40 percent of the time the desks were staffed, there were no clients to serve. This does suggest there might be staff capacity that could be used in a wiser and more efficient way
On a personal level, I find it very uplifting to think that I work at a company that can deliver both soft and hard values to our customers. Hard facts are great in terms of economic advantages, but the ability to improve support for people in difficulties is heartwarming and something I truly feel proud of.