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Citizen and customer profiling - introduction

 

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Conservative Lib Dem plans show the need for customer profiling and costing in order to achieve efficiencies.

By using the Customer Profiling techniques available in esd-toolkit you can design your services around the needs of your customers.  

Given the variety of organisations across the public sector offering services, we really need to be sure we are all talking the same language when we describe our service, our locality and the needs of the citizens we serve. Everywhere is different – and organisations need to be able to recognise this and react to the differences.  There are large national, regional, local and social variations in the uptake or potential uptake of services via electronic means so understanding who will be most likely to change to a cheaper method will help when considering channel optimisation.  

Questions answered by profiling:

  1. Which services should we web enable next?
  2. Where should we place our walk-in contact centres?
  3. Are we serving “hard-to-reach” groups?
  4. How do we communicate with target groups?

Understanding links between eligibility, perceptions of entitlement and location will enable accurate targeting of services to increase take-up amongst those who need them most.

Drives to reduce budgets in the public sector mean that we are no longer in a position to offer services as we have done for the past fifty years. One size fits all means that it fits no one.

Profiling gives you the opportunity of designing services around the needs of your customers.  Through the use of the Local Government Services List (LGSL- defining UK local authority citizen facing services) - and channel (LGChL - defining the means (web, phone, face to face, etc) by which services are accessed) we recognise that public services are similar across not only the UK but also the EU and wider, profiling indentifies individualities in the needs of the citizens. 

Profiling allows you to recognise which channels groups of customers prefer and the most suitable way of delivering services and communicating.  

At a relatively low cost, the organisation can become quicker to react, more proactive and even start to predict future needs.

This in turn will improve customer satisfaction, empower staff and develop greater public confidence in how services are delivered across the public sector.

The Local Government Business Model, developed  by esd-toolkit forms a component of the framework that will underpin service delivery across the public sector.  A life event (like becoming unemployed) changes a citizens circumstances (from employed to unemployed) this in turn implies a need (a job or access to benefits etc). Services based upon eligibility (eg children, accommodation requirements, savings, age etc) address the need.  All of this impacts upon the outcomes for that citizen and can be measured as a performance indicator.  (eg working age people claiming out of work benefit). 

Use of a standard core list of services will give a common language but will not dictate how a service is delivered.

Use of a framework will allow organisations to grow to a common structure but it will not stifle individuality or innovation.

Use of profiling will allow you to be more responsive to your customers yet will inform efficient service re-design.

esd-toolkit maps local demographic profiles (unique to each participating council) against esd-toolkit’s extensive list of services delivered to customers. Through automated or semi-automated means, councils are outputting transactional data to the esd-toolkit so that demographic profiles are identified by volume and channel of access against each service (web, telephone and face-to-face are examples of access channels). From this process, councils are able to find out which demographic profiles are using what services and, for each service delivered, current customer channel preferences and the cost of servicing channel preferences.

Detailed below are some of the new measures that the new coalition government have announced and how esd-toolkit tools can support you have been added in italics.   

In response to the CAA plan 'on how to increase accountability for local public services through more transparency, richer data and less inspection'. – esd-toolkit can help with standards for data sharing / re-use of information and the costing of services.


Other measures include:

  • a finance review of local government – Activity Based costing / Profiling will allow organisations to understand how much services actually cost 
  • introduce new powers to help local communities save services and facilities threatened with closure – Profiling of local surveys and profiling of services used by the locality will give greater customer insight .  New work with customer journeys will also support how we serve our citizens.
  • implement the sustainable communities act, so citizens know how taxpayers money is spent and can have greater say over expenditure – Activity Based Costing / Profiling will enable organisations to know more precisely what a service costs and how it might be delivered in a different way or via a cheaper channel so a more informed debate might take place. 
  • give residents power to instigate local referendums on any local issue – Profiling will ensure a fair cross section of the community is voting and voicing opinions.
  • take forward measures to enhance customer service in the private and public sectors esd-toolkit supports profiling, benchmarking, ABC Costing and customer insight.

 

As part of the 2010 / 2011 work programme esd-toolkit will be developing  a means of evaluating customer journeys – ensuring the service is transparent, designed around the needs of the customers and delivered in the most efficient way

We are also tasked with developing a means of employing customer satisfaction and avoidable contact into service re-design.  This will give the customer greater say in how services are delivered within the public sector.

esd-toolkit is very much on the pace of the new agenda and will be happy to take advice from all our members as to how we might improve any of our functionality to give greater support.

See:

E-mail Sheila.Apicella@esd.org.uk for more details of the Customer Profiling Project.