It is a bit of a corny title but it is so true. This post is in praise of real team engagement and collaboration and the results it can provide.
Our Revenues and Benefits team are fully committed to modernising their service and totally up for the challenge. We have had members of their technical and operational team working alongside us from the start as well as team leaders and frontline staff embedding the change and guiding each other and our residents along the journey. This had led to us releasing some great new products including online change of address forms, new Direct Debit facilities (more on these to come) and this week the results of our new text messaging service.
Residents now have the option to sign up for text reminders about Council Tax payment. We have trialed sending texts before paper reminders and found that within a month, 50% of Council Tax and 40% of Council Tax Reduction recipients who have signed up for the text service paid before we needed to post a paper reminder.
A text only costs 3p, much cheaper for us than posting reminders and much more convenient for the majority of residents. A great result all round. And these results are currently from just sending a reminder with the telephone number to pay by phone. When the council payment system is upgraded so that the payments page on our website is compatible with smartphones and devices, we will be able to send a link by text directly to online payment. Imagine the results then if we are already achieving 50%!
However, we could make the most amazing new products in the world but without a team willing to use and promote them they wouldn’t bring residents any improved service or us any cost saving efficiencies. The team leaders and digital project managers make sure that staff taking calls receive on the spot praise if they hear them guiding residents through online processes and ensure they get coaching and toolkits. They have set up a Digital Focus group within the service. Staff have asked to have more input and involvement so they can feedback on what will make things easier for them. The systems programme manager is setting up workshops to involve them and get them voting on next steps. It is a total team effort, enabling us to deliver change, create efficiencies and improve customer experience….. and as a result, bring in , well…., how better to put it than bring in revenue….and benefits!