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Customer Insight

Welcome to the community space for all those with a special interest in customer insight.

Collage of pictures of smiling families and couples.

Understanding your customers and citizens has never been easier.  There are many tools available now through esd-toolkit that will support you in making policy decisions, design efficient services around the needs of your locality and generate creative solutions.  These methods will not only save money but will also improve customer satisfaction.

The government and citizen expectation of local government is increasingly more demanding and with CSR 10-13 (Comprehensive Spending Review) and the localism agenda it will not be possible to provide services as they have been traditionally offered.  Only by understanding the needs of your locality will you be able to make intelligent judgments and tough decisions as to what is really important to people, keeping both politicians and the public satisfied.

A multi dimensional approach can give weighty evidence to service design to enable councils to do more with less yet protect the vulnerable:

Customer Insight uses a variety of intelligence from across the organisation;

  1. Segmentation / Predictive data: from external source; E.g with licenced Experian Mosaic data you can analyse your population to postcode and/or household level.  These data sets give you access to commercial data more current than census data traditionally used and classify your customer base according to attributes such as affluence, age, household make-up, health etc;
  2. Actual data: from internal source;  E.g service utilisation data with GIS integration; is the traditional method but with a segmentation licence outlined in no. 1 you are able to analyse service data to postcode and/or household level.  By uploading your transactions to esd-toolkit you are able to crossmatch transactions with the segmentation data to identify which customers access and take up services by which channels and recognise proportionality related to population
  3. Front line staff: feedback on what customers actually say and do; e.g. Failure Demand/Avoidable ContactCan also be defined as contact caused by failing to do the right thing for the customer, or contact of low or no value (i.e. waste or data gathered by front-line staff for the Government’s NI14 )
  4. Surveys and consultation:  directly with customers; e.g. to inform service design from the customer’s perspective; including open-ended feedback.  This will identify customers’ wants, needs and behaviours.  The surveys can be profiled through esd-toolkit to ensure all groups are represented.
  5. Customer journey mapping: experience what the customer experiences; e.g. tracking the real journeys customers have, noting durations and applying costs to each stage; tracking of the customers’ emotional levels throughout their experiences is often startlingly revealing.  Profiling these contacts will also help understand how different groups and types approach interaction with the council.
  6. Correspondence & other contact; e.g. e-mail, surface mail, telephone and face to face; including complaints, compliments, comments, etc.  Often quick contacts are difficult to track as it would take more time to log than deal with the interaction.  There is a trade off here with making sure statistics can be kept to inform service design against recognising that the customer’s time is valuable (and staff contact time expensive).
  7. Usability testing and website analysis; e.g. feedback from customers with differing needs and the challenge of logging post codes from web contact this often can only be achieved via on-line forms.  Stats from LDG re-directs can give some idea who is using the most popular.
  8. Formal and informal contact with representative bodies, agents or intermediaries
  9. Media coverage; proactive as well as reactive will give an indication of how well you are doing.
  10. Ethnography; the process of analysing the context in which people act, usually researched by observing subjects in their natural habitat:  e.g. understanding how people deal with forms including any comprehension difficulty. This will help design forms that are simple to complete, instructions that are easy to understand and schedules, where complex or varied sources of evidence are needed, are fully explained.
  11. Activity based costing; splitting the cost of providing services into activities that may be performed in more than one place within an organisation:  to help identify; which services are most cost effective to provide via the most cost effective channel for your authority.  e.g. which service will achieve the greatest take via, for example, web or direct debit taking the local area population make up into account or  which services can be cut within the Powers & Duties list yet still protect the vulnerable and not adversely affect those who need them most.


esd-toolkit links also pulls together data from a variety of sources for example the community maps show the different characteristics of your area and its people.  Use the maps to identify where there is most need and target your services, using the most appropriate communications and delivery channels.

Maps show different circumstances (as defined in esd-toolkit’s Circumstance Lists) broken down for different geographical areas with a local authority’s boundaries ranging from ward down to individual output areas or post codes.

Freely available for all registered local government officers are maps with information gathered by CLG, academic bodies and the Delivery Innovation Team.  These maps show:

  • Attitudes to using the Web
  • Deprivation
  • Digital exclusion
  • Internet use
  • Internet access
  • Next generation (broadband) access
  • Rurality
  • Working hours

Subscribed esd-toolkit users and esd-suppliers consultants also see maps built from ONS data on

  • Age
  • Educational attainment
  • Employment status
  • Ethnicity (self reported)
  • Gender
  • Health
  • Household composition
  • Household income
  • Marital status
  • Output Area Classification (OAC) groups and types
  • Religion
  • Size of household
  • Tenure

Anyone from subscribed local authorities can also see commercially licensed data sets from:

  • Experian
    • Origins (ethnicity / language / religion) by postcode
    • Mosaic 2003 and Mosaic Public Sector

The latest Mosaic Public Sector (MPS) was introduced in 2009 and last updated in 2010.  MPS has been developed specifically with the Public Sector in mind.  It combines a range of public sector information in its data sets and profiles including:

  • British Crime Survey
  • British Household Panel Survey
  • Health Survey for England
  • Higher Education Statistics Agency
  • Hospital Episodes Statistics
  • Index of Multiple Deprivation

So, in one place, esd-toolkit lets everyone from each subscribing local authority see OAC by output area AND Mosaic by ward.

If you have a licence for Mosaic, maps show the classification for individual post codes AND the profiles are loaded for use in esd-toolkit’s service and survey profiling tools.  Indeed if you have a household licence you can analyse data down to individual household level giving you a wealth of information at your fingertips.

Our About maps provides more information.

Also use the Life Events, and the Needs Lists to help identify who needs your services by using the mappings provided by esd-toolkit. The Local Government Business Model  has been developed to give structure to how the public sector works together to deliver efficient services in partnership and is made possible by the use of the standards hosted in esd-toolkit.  Using these standards will help you benchmark with other LAs who are demographically similar to you. 

A Life Event changes a citizen’s circumstance which implies a need satisfied by a service or group of services.  esd-toolkit helps bundle these services together and profiling helps understand who might be the most vulnerable or where the hard to reach groups might live.   Several authorities have done case studies demonstrating how they went about various aspects of customer profiling.


You can see how to join the customer profiling project and LAs who are involved

or email Sheila Apicella