Kingston Council has reduced its running costs by £400,000 over the last three years, by moving services online and encouraging the use of digital services for customers to pay, report and make requests online, rather than using the telephone or council offices.
The authority has invested in its website and Customer Relationship (CRM) technology so it can offer more services online rather than relying on traditional services.
In April of this year, online self-service transactions amounted to a majority of transactions, compared to phone or face-to-face services.
Three years ago, only 15% of council service transactions were made online but now Kingston residents can use the website to report potholes, request Building Control inspections, apply for a council tax discount, or paying for garden waste collection, amongst other things.
The services have been designed to work on tablets and mobile devices with around of third of all visits to the authority’s website from people using tablets or smartphones.
Councillor Gaj Wallooppillai, Deputy Leader at Kingston Council, said: “Online self-service is quickly becoming the preferred choice for our residents when contacting their council. It’s convenient for them and cost-effective for us.
“We recognise that not everyone wants to deal with their council via a website, so we will retain high quality telephone and face-to-face channels for those who want or need them.
“But any councils that are not seriously exploring channel shift as a way of saving money and protecting frontline services is missing a trick.”
Looking forward, the council is planning to rollout a ‘webchat’ service, following a successful trial.
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