18 April 2019
How District Councils Improve Support for Their Online Services
Warwick District Council first began looking into live chat software in 2017 as they recognised the benefits that the communication channel has for saving council resources.
They introduced the service onto their housing repairs webpage, enabling residents to gain easy access to their representatives when they need to report a repair. Live chat software streamlines the council’s procedures as they require:
- The resident’s name, address and telephone number
- If the enquirer has reported the repair previously
- As much detail about the repair as possible
- When access to the property is available (morning or afternoon)
A prechat form that’s presented before a chat starts provides the opportunity for residents to share this information, as a free text box is available to include any message the enquirer has.
Once in chat the representative can request any information they are missing to complete the report or for clarification of any details already provided.
To increase the resident’s confidence that they are speaking with one of the council’s representatives, the organisations logo is displayed throughout the chat session, allowing them to see that it isn’t a third party handling their enquiry.
Another department has just implemented live chat software and the council is hoping to roll this out further to other teams in the future.
The council’s Website Services Manager Matt Pearce commented about the live chat solution and the service they have received: “A good product and very helpful support who were patient with us through the set up process. The chat interface and dashboard is easy and straight forward to use. Colleagues and users all seem happy with it and it offers another route of contact on our website.”
Warwick have kept their chat design consistent between the 2 areas, however using the intelligent chat distribution system each page will direct the chat through to the relevant team, allowing the council’s experts to respond to related enquiries and improve first contact resolution rates.
Previous District Council Implementations
Many district councils have previously recognised the potential that live chat has for their local authorities. Horsham and Rother are just two amongst others to adopt the instant communication channel into their operations.
Horsham District Council
The local authority began using live chat software in 2015 within their bin collection area on their council website. From their results they rolled out the instant communication channel onto their visitor information centre website.
The Click4Assistance solution is flexible to councils’ needs allowing you to select certain pages to add the communication channel to. This depends on which department is funding the implementation, or what areas will benefit from the online support the most.
Or as Horsham has done, integrating the contact method across multiple domains; the design has been altered slightly for each website with both displaying their relating logos. The forms remain consistent in terms of colour and the information gathered helping visitors to identify they are using the council’s services.
Other councils may wish to design the forms specifically to fit with the particular website they reside on, matching the colour scheme and collecting any relevant information. As on the council’s website they could request the resident’s postcode helping them to advise more accurately to their area, whereas this wouldn’t be necessary for an individual visiting the district.
Rother District Council
The council was eager to use our live chat solution due to our existing partnership with East Sussex County Council, who they are one of the district authorities for. They implemented the communication channel in 2016 across their website, allowing residents to enquiry about rubbish and recycling, council tax, benefits, grants and funding etc.
Rother have customised their windows to work across the site; regardless of what the visitor is enquiring about, the prechat form gathers several bits of personal data so that the council’s officers can accurately advise as they have the information to hand. They can identify who the resident is or where the district they are located.
The dialogue window has been designed with a simple side panel, allowing the council throughout the year to amend their messages to residents, including signing up for an online account or paying their council tax online etc.
The council’s Customer Services Manager Mark Adams, reflected that the solution is an “awesome product with top A* support and advice. Does exactly what you require a live chat service to do + more. Costing is also very competitive and adaptable to suit your business needs. Very easy to set up and customise, as a customer you are in control especially with admin side of things. Reports are great too, you can see the value chat is having assisting customers online and keeping them there. Can’t fault the product and 5 Star service that goes with it.”
Whether your organisation is a district council or not, live chat software is flexible to your needs and with our experts’ advice, the solution can be tailored to fit your exact requirements. For more information or to arrange a demonstration contact our team on 01268 524628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.