Weeknote #7 Customer Service Programme

The months have been racing past on the Customer Service Programme and we have already reached July. Six months into the programme and we have achieved a lot, but there is a huge amount still to be done.

Good things

The team has expanded over recent weeks to include a couple of additional business analysts in the form of Lee and Paul, as well as a service designer, Laura. The council’s Web Team has been firmly involved in the work for some time, but we have recently started to deliver an additional workstream with the team, so we are working even more closely with Sue, Ameena, Vikki, Dalbir and Becky now.

We have also had some University of Birmingham master’s students join us to support on one of the workstreams, so a big welcome to Shiyao, Yu-ju, Suraj and Nelanshi.

The programme has been a hive of activity in the delivery we are currently working on:

  • Mapping the end-to-end tenant journey in Housing
  • Understanding how the Housing service currently gets feedback and satisfaction data from tenants in order to explore a future approach, that could be rolled out to the whole council
  • Exploring how we can proactively communicate with households about their waste
  • Creating a people first culture in the council
  • Reviewing the content on our web pages in some key service areas:
    • Housing
    • Highways
    • Waste
    • Bereavement
  • Finalising our new content strategy and content governance
  • Establishing Birmingham’s new Customer Panel

Mapping the end-to-end tenant journey

We have been making good progress across all our workstreams, but the mapping of the tenant end-to-end journey has been particularly impressive. Surita is our workstream lead and she has been fabulous at pushing the work forward and maintaining a strong pace. We have conducted a huge amount of research both with housing tenants and with our Housing colleagues across the service. The service has been incredibly supportive of the work, opening doors for us, connecting us to contacts and making plenty of time to engage with us.

We have chunked the work up into:

  • Conducting research with Housing tenants, which has been led by Christina, Mariam and Chris
  • Engaging with Housing staff, which has been championed by Surita and I
  • Looking at the data, led by Paul
  • Mapping out the process, which Lillian and Laura have been leading on

The team has developed two iterations of the overall journey of a tenant. The initial version was inspired by some work I did with Macmillan Cancer Care whilst I was working at Uscreates. Like many things, the experience of a housing tenant is not linear, so we wanted to show this in our visualisation.

Laura has been holding the torch on developing this whilst Lillian has been off and has pushed it forward this week to show how different elements of the journey can work in a single instance. We have more work to do in this space but are coming to the end of our research and will be finalising our mapping in the coming weeks.

We will also have detailed versions of each stage, showing the front stage (what the tenant experiences during the journey) and the backstage (what the tenant doesn’t see, including all the processes and systems that we use internally in the council).

This was the first iteration of the high level tenant customer journey
The first iteration has evolved, testing ways in which to bring to life the every changing tenant journey’s

Learned things

We have also delivered two masterclass sessions to help with upskilling the team and our wider council colleagues.

  • The first was delivered by one of our content designers, Sarah. We invited colleagues who have a responsibility for content across the four areas we are working with, as well as the Web Team.
  • The second was delivered by one of our user researchers, Richard. The session was for those across our IT and Digital teams, including our Business Analysts.

I learned from the content design masterclass that screen readers read out every letter when you write something in capitals, knowledge I have been putting into practice this week to create some materials to engage users. I also learnt what good link text looks like – not ‘click here’ as we so often see, but instead a descriptor of where the link will take you to, for example: To sign up, register.

Next time

Our next update is going to share more on the activity on each of our workstreams. Stay tuned!

Many thanks to Hannah Pinnock (Methods) for pulling together the weeknote!

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