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District Councils are turning to Live Chat on Website

District Councils are turning to Live Chat on Website

Rother was eager to partner with us due to being one of East Sussex County Council’s district authorities, who we have been providing chat to since 2015. Shepway investigated us due to our partnership with EK Services, and Canterbury City Council recommended us to the District Council.

These Councils introduced live chat on website to continue serving their wards, whilst reducing the stress on resources. Both of these Councils were able to implement live chat for under £5000 / year and didn’t need to go through lengthy tender processes.

Rother District Council has been affected by the cuts in government funding since 2011, they have compensated funding gaps by reducing waste and inefficiency, and through savings and new partnerships[1] which included teaming up with Click4Assistance.

Rise is Council Tax will Cause Questions

It is a good time for these Councils to have live chat on website available as Council Tax is set to rise. It emerged that nine in ten local authorities are planning to hike charges by almost 4 per cent[2]. It is the biggest rise in council tax for years, residents will not be pleased.

Rother District Council consulted with their ward from November to January, the general consensus was that they were prepared to see a rise in Council Tax by an average of £5 a year for a Band D Property.[3]

Residents can speak with Rother District Council via live chat to voice their opinions and ask any questions on the Council Tax Section of the website.

Shepway District Council is in a similar position where they are proposing an increase in the Council Tax of 2%, meaning an increase of 9p a week for a band D home[4]. They need to reduce spending by £1.5m, live chat is able to reduce the stress on staff resources, as one representative can handle multiple enquires simultaneously, therefore enabling them to decrease their call centre resources.

Shepway undertook Click4Assistance official training to ensure they get the best from the software, the solution is efficient as possible, and increase productivity.  They are using a functionality which limits the amount of chats that can be allocated to an advisor to ensure their representative’s workload is managed.

Other Areas to Support

Rother District Council has placed their chat button across their site to help residents with:

  • Planning and Building Control
  • Refuse and recycling,
  • Housing,
  • Benefits, grants and funding,
  • Environment issues
  • And more

The Click4Assistance design team customised the Chat windows for the Council to fit seamlessly into the website’s branding. For staff to help residents as soon as they enter chat, they request useful information on the Pre-chat form which includes:

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Brief outline of enquiry
  • Postcode
  • House/Flat Number
  • Email Address

This saves representatives spending time asking and then looking up their records, and should the resident be using a data connection on a mobile and loses their internet signal, the council has a record they have attempted to contact about a certain area and they can refer it to the relevant team to follow up, should they not return to chat.

The Click4Assistance software is fully customisable, enabling each council to add their branding, ask the questions they require on the Pre-chat Form and configure helpful features to assist the operator in chat. Predefined replies can speed up your representative’s response time with an agreed accurate reply; alternatively they can push pages with Auto-Navigate links that open up relevant pages in a new browser window.  The resident have the correct page to self-help, with forms to fill in or help pages.

Both Shepway and Rother District Council among other County, City, Borough and District councils are benefiting from reduced phone and email enquiries from implementing live chat on website, helping to streamline their resources and processes.

For more information on how Click4Assistance live chat on wbesite software can help reduce your Councils spending, speak with our local authority co-ordinator on 01268 524625 or by emailing and request your free demonstration.


[1] Rother District Council, Council Budget 2017

[2] The Telegraph (2016) Council tax set to rise over £60 a year, new report shows

[3] Rother District Council, Council Budget 2017

[4] Shepway District Council, Budget Strategy 2017/18


Author: Gemma Baker
Gemma is the Marketing Executive for UK live chat software provider, Click4Assistance, with a range of digital knowledge within PPC advertising, SEO practices, email campaigns and social media.

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