06 April 2017
How Are Your Residents Reacting to the Increase In Council Tax?
With Council Tax Letters being sent out in recent weeks residents are beginning to review the increase to their contributions. At the same time councils have needed to improve funding to social care whilst reducing their spending in line with the budget cuts. This has meant a great number of residents are seeing a rise in their council tax and are not happy about it.
Due to the ‘social care precept’, councils that have a responsibility for adult social care have been able to increase this part of council tax by close to 5%; therefore many councils have increased their rates by 4.99% the maximum amount of income from their residents as possible.
This can put a strain on residents’ lives if they are low-income earners or live in a badly-funded region by adding the extra liability to their outgoings. These residents can be more than frustrated with this rise and could wish to speak to the council about it. And an irritated resident will be unlikely to want to wait days for an email response or wait in a queue to speak to someone, as this can aggravate their temper.
Live Chat for Website Provides an Instant Solution
In this cash-strapped context, live chat for website software is increasingly gaining traction within councils and is also being received well by residents.
“The service we have received from Click4Assistance has been excellent, with frequent contact and support and always somebody on the end of the ’phone willing to help.
“The implementation of the system was quick and simple, following a free trial period which helped us get up to speed with the operational management of live chat.
“Now in place, our customer service representatives enjoy the added variety to their role, and the overall feedback from our customers has been excellent too.”
- Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Contact Centre Manager
Visitors to a council website are instantly able to connect to the local authority and have their questions answered quickly by a representative. They don’t have to wait in a queue for a long period for a response.
Live Chat Etiquette
If a local resident is already irritated before starting a chat, representatives are able to take a bit of time to thoroughly read over the visitor’s grievances before answering, a luxury they do not have on the phone as the resident is expecting an answer straightaway. This means the staff member is able to offer a better quality of response.
Live chat can help the resident to explain their issue, as by not interrupting them it allows them to get their point across, and in addition, it helps to calm them down when they see that they are being taken seriously in the conversation. So while your representative will need to empathise with the visitor, staff members shouldn’t take the grievances personally as sometimes a resident is simply looking for someone at the council to vent their frustrations to.
Increase Staff Productivity and Efficiency
Whilst the increase in council tax has been to fund social care, councils still have to make cuts elsewhere within the organisation, and this can include staff. By reducing their employee numbers, pressure is put on existing members of staff to continue the level and quality of service. This can be difficult as representatives can only manage one call or email at a time. Live chat can help cover staffing gaps that local authorities are experiencing, as one representative can handle multiple enquiries at the same time. That member of staff can manage their chat workload to allow them to work as efficiently as 3 or 4 individual employees would when dealing with an individual telephone or email enquiry.
Live chat for website software can increase staff efficiency by reducing the time or involvement in a task. Speaking to a resident over the phone may involve giving instructions on where to go on the website, or require forms and information sent over to them. However, a visitor in chat can have any type of document sent over to them via the file transfer functionality within live chat, or the visitor can be redirected to a specific page using the auto-navigation feature which opens the required page in a new browser window. The advantage is that the representative can then handle a new incoming chat on completion of the previous one, without having to spend time in-between to draft a follow-up email.
With the pressures caused by rising council taxes, it is now more important that your residents can contact your organisation easily. Click4Assistance has been helping all types of local authorities including Sunderland City Council, Buckinghamshire County Council and Horsham District Council to implement live chat for website software. So for more information on how your council can implement live chat, book your free demonstration with our local authority co-ordinator on 01268 524 628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.