NI14 back in the news?

December 3, 2008

A recent survey from supplier Rostrvm included the addendum that:

“Other problems identified by the contact centres include the ambiguity of what is required (19%), the necessity of training staff to comply (11%) and preparing the back office and service support systems to handle the extra data (10%). A further 8% would struggle due to a lack of resources and time constraints. Just 4% of the local authorities surveyed did not perceive any problems preventing them from meeting the target. ”

I was actually surprised at the large numbers doing anything, although at the recent Tower NI14 event I was the only one who admitted their authority wasn’t being particularly active, I suspect I was the only one stupid enough to do so in front of the Audit Commission and Government Office!

The problem demonstrated by the survey is that in its true conception the indicator is not just for call centres and should cover all citizen contact be that face-to-face, email or web, so it needs to be dealt with as a CORPORATE issue! I wonder how many can truly say that?

 The fact that ‘avoidable contact’ or whatever is not just for call centres is proven by The ‘Half-yearly review and results summary’ of the Socitm/Govmetric Customer Access Improvement Service where on page 8 was the revelation that  not all channels are equal that whilst telephony was favoured for many there was an clear lead on the web for adult services and that in satisfaction terms the web was less satisfactory across all the services listed! This is a clear vote for Citizen Engagement Exchange to dig into the reasons why, especially when most of those using the telephone for all services were satisfied. I’m afraid the publication is for users and Socitm Insight subscribers so I can’t link to it here, but it just proves what those of us looking at the breadth of channels will have realised! It also showed just how great the web channel usage was compared with the others…despite lack of satisfaction.

Viewing the market

November 19, 2008

Having mentioned GovMetric and Mavis over recent months I felt it fair to list the other suppliers of systems specialising in NI14 and/or satisfaction, other than the pure customer relationship management (CRM) systems that have been adapted to record ‘avoidable contact’. If anybody knows any other systems, please let me know. I’m not saying that any are any good, and I know some are very expensive and some quite limited but one of these days I’ll prepare a comparison chart:

Another two added on the 20th November:

A brief comparison table added  as a PDF 21 November 2008: company-table

Who is doing what at the moment in local government? Joined-up research…

October 26, 2008

I had been in touch with Brendan McCarron of the CIPFA Performance Improvement Network in the past and it had been he that had pointed me to the paper on the Scottish Accounts Commission on gap analysis that I’ve mentioned before:

He has been working with Simon Speller, councillor and academic (who was referenced in the aforementioned report) on customer satisfaction in a series of works for the CIPFA Performance Improvement Network – Improving Customer Satisfaction.

On the 9th October I gave a short presentation in Preston on an academic view of customer satisfaction for the ESD-Toolkit group looking at Customer Insight which is related to the one on profiling. This also provided some feedback to my research – ESD-Toolkit – Customer profiling & satisfaction

On November 11th I am presenting another academic view at the EiP conference in London, the EiP Group is looking at Customer Insight, Citizen Engagement and Change In Local Government

How many more networks are there? I’ve also been involved with Socitm‘s discussions around metrics and these overlap with the ESD-Toolkit since both employ GovMetric, a couple of whose staff I had conversations with at the outset of my research.

Are we all talking to each other folks or are you relying upon me talking to you?

IDeA NI14 Guidance and GovMetric

August 2, 2008

Public Sector Forums have made a great deal of the fact that the IDeA guidance upon NI14 promoted GovMetric and only GovMetric as a possible solution.

I’ll declare some interests here, I have met wil rol the company that produce GovMetric and over a year ago had an academic discussion with them about the while concept of customer satisfaction and channel migration.The council I work for currently employs the Socitm solution for doing web site evaluation which partialy employs a tool produced by rol, who are working with Socitm to do service benchmarking. I am also a Socitm member, a member of my regional Socitm executive and also on the Local Government Chief Information Officer Council, which Socitm were recruited by central government to create.

I like the concept of GovMetric and haven’t seen anything other than built in CRM tools to match it and of course they don’t all come with the templates for web sites or a complete and designed-for-purpose suite of tools. There is Opinion-8, which I believe doesn’t work quite the same way either.

I’ll agree that it was daft for the IDeA to nominate one tool, I don’t think they could have avoided promoting the ESD-Toolkit, since its their child! However, I have yet to find anything conceptually up to GovMetric. We asked our web developers to build a tool into the web site CSS to collect feedback and they wanted a lot of money, it would probably have contributing to buying GovMetric, which isn’t cheap, and tying up the other channels!

What’s the solution? Horses for courses, I suspect, by the time people get around to trying to collect NI14 data manually they’ll realise what a time waster it is and plump for an electronic tool. What is needed in collecting the data is rigour and an awareness that NI14 is not the answer, the answer is feedback from staff and citizens about the systems we use, be they delivering answers by the web, telephone or face-to-face. We need to collect that feedback and act upon it but at the same time supply the required indicator.

Why do we need to do that? To instil confidence in the public that we mean to change, to transform. We do mean to do this, of course, but we need to demonstrate it! We also need to placate the Minister!


June 28, 2008

My concerns about benchmarking, targets and related matters, whilst not universal appears to have some adherants! During the last week have discussed it amongst colleagues at Socitm (Yorkshire & Humber) and with Paul Canning and Public Sector Web Managers Group.

I also discoved a paper from the U.S. General Services Administration – Improving Citizen Customer Service V 1.0, which also supports my theory and also uses the term ‘yardstick’ which I think is a much better term when dealing with purely internal metrics as opposed to (possible) target setting. If you don’t want to read it all, just focus on chapters 5 and 6.

Four of the eight guidelines in the conclusions are:

“A quantitative “value” for citizen satisfaction can be used as a yardstick for trends. This value can be defined in various ways. Agencies can track the percentage of citizens who expressed complete satisfaction with their contact or use a scoring system defined internally or by a third party.

Qualitative satisfaction questions and information will help agencies analyze citizens’ expectations and areas in which they are not meeting those expectations.

Quantitative (and to some extent qualitative) satisfaction data should be used to examine the correlation between the performance metrics and benchmarks used in this document and citizen satisfaction. For example, if improving average handle times at an agency is not resulting in an increase in satisfaction scores, the agency’s time and effort is better spent elsewhere in the service environment.

Surveys can be conducted at the end of a contact or within a reasonable timeframe after
the interaction.”

and also states:

“Performance metrics described in this document are only effective if they are captured, reported and analyzed in a timely manner and reach the right decision maker. Also, metrics should be used not in isolation but in the context of a strategy and methodology.”

Of course I’m not arguing to import this wholeheartedly from the USA, if one reads the document it is still rather onerous for a small organisation but data integration and analyis or Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) can be done – if only GovMetric weren’t so expensive ! It’d blow NI14 into last year…