Only a quarter of UK authorities are currently offering a majority of their core customer services online, with over a third failing to provide more than a quarter of key services digitally, according to research from Verint Systems.
Researchers surveyed over 90 local councils across the UK, found that despite a lack of progress in installing key customer services online, over a third of respondents expect almost all services to be online within the next two years.
Around two-thirds of local authorities are currently evaluating how best to progress into the digital age; however, less than 15% are directly engaging customers to shape that decision-making process, and around 20% are prioritising services that are easiest to move online.
Nearly half of the local authorities are targeting live chat functionality as part of their customer service delivery and a similar number are planning to improve mobile compatibility; around a third are set to use increased social media transactions with Facebook and Twitter.
An overwhelming majority of respondents said that enabling front and back office staff to access all the necessary information about an individual to tailor customer service is a key priority, but only 10% have the capabilities to implement this.
David Moody, vice president and global leader, government and public sector, Verint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions said, “targets must be set and expectations carefully managed… and deciding if a totally digital approach is really going to be appropriate.
“The right tools must underpin new digital infrastructure along with pre-existing channels, but many councils and public sector organisations lack the right digital technologies and resources.
“To help address such deficiencies, they must plan and carefully decide when digital channels will be most appropriate for a select number of services. If they don’t adhere to this, they may not realise the full benefits of digital,” he warned.
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