27 July 2017
City Councils Chat with their Constituencies
In England a City Council is the council of metropolitan or non-metropolitan district, a London borough or a parish council that has been granted city status.
The City Councils of Salford and Sunderland have both implemented Click4Assistance live chat onto their websites to help advise residents whilst saving resources. Each council has fully customised their visitor facing aspects with their logos and corporate colours to fit seamlessly with their website, as residents become familiar with their local authority branding they can easily identify the chat as part of the Council’s services.
Salford City Council’s Implementation
Salford City Council approached Click4Assistance late 2015 to streamline resources and support visitors when using their digital services. Discussions focused on the capabilities of the solution, security and strategy; in April 2016 the Local Authority released their live chat channel to their residents.
The council uses a sticky button that is located in the bottom right hand side of all of their service pages, as the placement is more familiar with residents who are users of social media platforms. The chat button remains in view as the resident scrolls allowing them to access the communication channel at any stage of their browsing – reading information, filling in a form or making a payment etc.
Before a visitor enters a chat Salford City Council uses a prechat form that enables them to display a disclaimer: Agents are unable to take payments or discuss individual issues during a chat session. This shows the resident what they should expect from chat and deter them for using the service for anything else other than its purpose. In the prechat form they can also collect the name to address the visitor by, to personalise the chat and appeal to the resident.
To encourage self-help, whilst visitors are being advised in chat the Council’s representatives can automatically redirect the resident to a specific page with the relevant information; this type of signposting is popular amongst local authorities. Operators also have access to a library of agreed responses to frequently asked questions, predefined replies allows the representative to answer the visitor accurately and quickly, helping to save resources by handling multiple chats simultaneously.
For more information about the Local Authorities implementation read our blog Salford City Council and Their Journey with Live Chat.
Sunderland City Council’s Implementation
Sunderland City Council invested a lot of money developing their online portal, where the local authority encourages customers to use their services online, some of the areas include:
- Enquiring about Council Tax
- Enquiring about School Expenses
- Applying for Parking Permits
- Applying for Licence Renewals
- Reporting Abandon Vehicles
- Reporting Graffiti
The Council invested resources into creating their digital services and wanted to aid residents in using the portal; to do this Sunderland City Council implemented Click4Assistance. Through the communication channel representatives can redirect the visitor to information pages and forms with Auto-Navigate. Similar to Salford, Sunderland use Predefined Replies, the majority of them include links to further information and forms within the portal. Using the live chat in this manner allows the Local Authority to support their residents to locate and move around the digital platform but with an element of self-help therefore they do not rely solely on the chat operators for answers.
Read our blog Sunderland City Council uses Chat to Improve Online Services for further reading on the Council’s integration.
Not a City Council?
These are just two of our city council customers, Click4Assistance works with all types of local authorities to help improve their online services to their constituents.
Why not take a look at our previous blog County Councils Success with Live Chat.
For more information on how live chat can benefit your council, book your free personalised demonstration with our local authority co-ordinator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01268 524628.