How to increase rates of effective problem resolution in your municipality.
Ever wonder how you can improve the quality of service offered by your municipal customer support contact centre? Are regular complaints, high call volumes and ineffective support bogging down your office? Does a lack of flexibility and customer engagement in the office keep municipal residents feeling distanced, unheard and undervalued?
If you answered yes to any of the above, it may be time for you to rethink the ways that your municipal office offers solutions to residents. Working in a governmental office requires you to work within strict guidelines, but that doesn’t mean there is no way to develop a sense of flexibility and personalization in the customer experience to increase overall resident satisfaction. Read on to learn the basics of how municipalities can rethink their approach to customer service for better problem resolution.
What Is Great Municipal Customer Service?
Before you set out to improve the quality of your customer service, it’s essential to understand what great municipal customer service means. Municipal customer support differs from company customer service in a few important ways, one of which being the shift away from selling a product or service and toward problem solving.
Great municipal customer service is all about resolving the problems of residents. This can mean anything from responding to an inquiry in a timely fashion, understanding caller backgrounds to better address their issue, providing the right customer support and ensuring adequate self-service.
How Analytics Can Help
Tracking the right analytics can help customer support contact centres keep track of how well they’re supporting residents with successful and timely responses. But be careful not to get caught in the trap of obsessing over surface level metrics that reflect very little or not at all on the bigger picture. Metrics like average handle time (AHT) may seem useful to track, but when customer support relies on so much more than quick and timely responses, it’s well worth your time and efforts to allow for longer handle times for the sake of quality customer service.
Instead, focus on metrics that matter. Here are a couple of analytics to keep on your radar:
- Average Speed of Answer/Response time: Your response rates should also be kept to a minimum, but these can differ depending on the channel. For example, you might have a goal of responding to phone calls within 60 seconds, while responding to email inquiries within one hour. According to a report by Forrester, 71 percent of customers claim that the most important aspect of a service experience is feeling as if their time is valued.
- Call abandonment: Your call abandonment rate is the percentage of incoming calls in which the caller hangs up before speaking to an agent. Keep call abandonment low to ensure that callers’ needs are heard.
Understand What Residents Want
What do residents truly want when it comes to municipality support? The answer can be shockingly simple. For often than not, residents’ needs are met when municipal agents make an effort to truly understand them. To give residents what they want, consider these basic criteria for your municipality:
- 24-hour support
- Support in both official languages
- A focus on first contact resolution
- Open and honest customer engagement
Providing Great Alternatives
Another key element to excellent municipal support is providing alternatives to normal contact channels. This allows a wider breadth of residents to contact the municipality while exerting the least effort possible. Here are a few ways to widen residents’ options when they require support:
- Multichannel service: Keep municipalities staffed with enough agents and the right technology to allow for multichannel support, including live chat, email, SMS and social media. According to eDigitalResearch, live chat has the highest customer satisfaction rate of any channel.
- Self-service: Save residents the trouble of contacting the municipality with adequate self-service. Keep FAQs updated and offer interactive voice response (IVR) for simple, repeated inquiries.
- Third-party provider: Outsource to a third-party service provider to manage overflow and improve the overall quality of your municipal service with around-the-clock support, expert service strategies and the right technology for comprehensive multi-channel modern solutions.
To help improve the quality of service offered by your municipality, it’s essential to understand the basics of customer service. Remember to focus on customer satisfaction and engagement over surface level metrics, but don’t forget that everyone wants their time to be valued as well. Offer support around the clock, in multiple languages, and across multiple channels so you are available at your resident’s convenience, and of course, keep self-service options up-to-date.