Dynamic CRM software cuts the deficit and enables more efficient public services
With Chancellor George Osborne’s stated £12 billion savings in his Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), there is greater impetus for digital interactions between residents and public services – which reduce print, paper, postage and staff costs.
You may have read about many of the projects driving digital interactions – electronic patient records, e-procurement, NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), for example.
Some projects are being prioritised for completion or expansion following the CSR, but many others, like the much-criticised NPfIT, are being scrapped.
“Smaller and more agile” is now the key phrase as was stated in March this year in the government’s new ICT strategy paper. It suggests: “…we will move away from very large programmes to a greater number of smaller and more agile projects.”
But which projects will succeed, cut costs and improve service delivery? Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps organisations track, know and serve their customers better. In UK public services, it is delivering great gains.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is using CRM from Microsoft, customised and deployed by Optevia, to increase the number of home safety visits it performs at a significantly reduced cost.
These visits are essential and involve KFRS personnel delivering fire safety advice in the home.
The CRM has enabled KFRS to replace 36 telephone numbers with one freephone number. It enables central call handlers to book appointments directly into the diary of the home visit officers, making the process considerably more efficient.
It provides more accurate data, which enables KFRS to better understand and model fire risk, allowing more cost-effective home visit prioritisation and delivery. Plus, it helps KFRS work more closely with its other public service partners by recording a full audit trail of interactions with key groups such as vulnerable people.
The London Borough of Bromley is also using CRM from Optevia to reduce training costs of its contact centre staff and improve the quality of service given to residents via the contact centre.
The CRM acts as a single window for contact centre staff to access information held in IT systems across multiple departments. Bromley’s staff now only need knowledge of the CRM, not five to six different back-office systems. This reduces duplication of information and decreases call times with residents.
Telford and Wrekin Council has taken its CRM deployment from Optevia one step further by linking it with its own website. Residents in Telford and Wrekin who already have 24/7 access to information and services can now request services that are directed straight into the CRM, raising a job without the need for any officer involvement.
This frees up staff resources to focus on further customer service improvements and helps deliver savings through implementing more efficient processes.
Telford and Wrekin’s next development is to link service requests from the contact centre, and those raised directly by the public, to mobile devices used by staff working in the community.
This means that requests raised by residents are instantly prioritised and assigned to an appropriate officer and completed based on the officer’s workload and location.
The CRM can be rapidly and easily deployed. IT can be increased in size and shared with other departments or organisations to reduce costs further.
CRM software can help reduce costs by streamlining communication channels, helping to shift communication to the web.
Deployments of CRM across public services are great examples of the type of smaller, agile projects that epitomise the government’s new ICT strategy and can help to meet cuts identified through the Comprehensive Spending Review.