Weeknote #6 Customer Service Programme

Good things

Since we completed our two discoveries in April, we have been working closely with service areas to:

  • Share our approach and research findings
  • Take service area representatives through our recommendations
  • Prioritise recommendations based on value to you, the citizens of Birmingham, value to the service, cost and complexity to deliver.

We held a workshop to develop our ideas around the recommendations, using opportunity solution trees to help think about how we might achieve our desired outcomes. During this workshop we focused on two services areas – housing and waste.

The below is an example of one of our trees. The dark blue layer at the top represents our desired outcomes. We have one overarching outcome – ‘To deliver a consistently good customer experience for the people of Birmingham, improving the current level of customer satisfaction’ and then four sub-outcomes that reflect our four themes from our research:

  • Communication with customers and between staff/teams is clear and easy. Customers, staff and contractors are kept up to date
  • Customers understand how and why we make decisions
  • Birmingham City Council takes proactive action quickly
  • All staff treat all customers and each other with empathy.

The light blue row of post-it notes represent opportunities that we might want to take forward, and each of these links back to our Discovery recommendations on this service area. These post-it notes also detail how we have prioritised these opportunities.

The green post-it notes detail the solutions and possible ‘experiments’ that we might want to test in the coming months.

This is a solution tree based on the Housing Repairs services

Since this workshop, we have been working to pull together all our thinking and what we have heard from our service area colleagues. We have done this by mapping all the opportunities according to where we think they will deliver value (for you, for us or for both), and how easy/complex or costly/not we think they will be to deliver.

We now have a short list of opportunities we are going to move forward with that the programme will begin to deliver over the coming months.

In the Waste space we are going to move into an alpha phase. The objective of this phase is to investigate how we can enable proactive digital communication between the Waste service and residential customers for example against missed and assisted collections. Initially the team will undertake a technical assessment of what online solutions and data integrations the service already has in place and what opportunities there are to utilise existing capabilities. This will then be reviewed against the user needs identified in our discovery phase to compile some potential options, prototype and test with users in the alpha phase.

In Housing we will be looking at how we can build a digital solution, or functionality as part of the BRUM account, to enable tenants to better self-serve. We recognise that tenants want to be able to book and manage appointments for repairs themselves, so this will be one of the primary areas of focus in this activity.

In Bereavement Services we are going to develop some guidance to support citizens with the process of laying their loved ones to rest. Our research showed that this is often a difficult and painful process, that is compounded by uncertainty around who should do what, when. Our aim with this work is to ensure clarity and ease when using Birmingham’s Bereavement Services.

Elsewhere in the programme The Content Team have been working hard on the web content review. This has involved some tricky wrangling of systems and data, but we finally have a solid understanding of the pages we have in our service areas of focus (Highways, Waste, Housing). We have been reviewing each web page individually, noting any issues with accessibility or content and assigning a rating. The team is now in a position to commence web content improvement, which will involve sitting down with the person responsible for that content in the service area, agreeing a user need for the page and going through the content by ‘pair writing’ to improve it and ensure it is consistent. Where there is duplication, unnecessary or out of date content, we will be looking to remove this.

The Content Team have also been working on developing a Content Strategy and Content Governance to ensure any future work on content, across all service areas, complies with the standards we have set.

The Engagers Team have also been working on producing senior manager and customer videos. These will be used internally to help bring to life our new Customer Charter and share why it is so important we must put customers first.

What’s next?

We are now ready to get going on next steps with Housing, Waste and Bereavement. All this activity will be in partnership with the service area, and we will be building on the great work that is already underway.

And, as featured in our May Show & Tell and following the successful trial run with Adult & Social Care Managers at their Away Day, we will also begin the roll out of the Culture Change workshops, led by our HR Lead, Sarah May, to improve the level of customer care you receive from our 11,000 staff.

Many thanks to Hannah Pinnock (Methods) for this weeknote.

For more information, email the team: CustomerServiceProgramme@birmingham.gov.uk.

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