According to Qmatic, a customer flow management solutions provider, local authorities are finding ways to keep the doors open despite austerity-driven budget cuts forcing them to lose key members of staff. The report, “Managing Change” found that the majority (82%) of local authorities have to cut staff resources in the next 12 months as a result of budget cuts. However, 78% of councils say that they still offer some form of face-to-face services for their citizens in spite of this. While recognising the overwhelming benefits that face-to-face offers, local authorities are turning to technology solutions like web services, Business Intelligence (BI) and queue management. 92% of the authorities surveyed are actively encouraging citizens to interact with services virtually, either online (51%), over the phone (8%) or both of these (33%).
Long term, most local authorities expect to implement a range of customer service technologies to monitor service delivery and improve the accessibility of services to their citizens. Of these, the rollout of web resources is by far the most widely expected to increase. Self-service offerings are also expected to be more widely used.
At the same time as cutting resources, local authorities are looking to save money through the consolidation of staff and buildings. Queue management systems have played a key role in managing the change brought about by the consolidation process. The most popular reasons for using queue management technology are to increase customer satisfaction (35%), to ensure that customer waiting times are reduced (32%) and to ensure efficient use of resources in the new premises (31%)
“Local authorities should be praised for their innovation,” comments Steve Williams, Managing Director at Qmatic UK. “Despite facing some of the sharpest declines in funding in many decades, they are not closing their doors to the public. Instead they are thinking differently and finding new and interesting ways to use technology in order to serve their citizens even better than before.”