- Success Story
- Stevenage Borough Council
How Stevenage improved its online customer interface
Stevenage is a borough in Hertfordshire, England about 30 miles north of London. Located between Letchworth Garden City to the north and Welwyn Garden City to the south, Stevenage has a population of about 86,000 people. The council provided some basic online services for customers, but the system’s simple forms did not allow for request tracking. In 2020, the Stevenage Borough Council set out to make substantial changes to their online customer interface using Granicus’ digital forms and services technology. As a result of this successful overhaul, Stevenage Borough Council is the recipient of the 2022 Granicus Digital Public Sector award for Operational Efficiency.
- 29% of customer requests handled online
- Increased pageviews
- More engaging website
- Expanded number of online services
Improving customer service
The council has historically had extremely high volumes of telephone and in-person inquiries — receiving over 190,000 calls and 18,000 visits in 2019. This was the result of the council’s online service offerings being quite “shallow,” and not capable of allowing visitors to fulfil their needs online. The council’s prior system allowed customers to apply or report things online, but only through simple e-forms that didn’t allow them to track request progress. People were also put off by the system because it required them to provide information like their name and address every time.
Operating a drop-in service allowed council employees to see customers face-to-face but created significant wait times for customers. Stevenage had not previously invested much in providing alternatives to in-person visits and according to a 2021 residents’ survey, customers wanted the council to reduce the time and money spent on paperwork and invest in digital, self-service resources.
Online solutions help manage resources
Stevenage sought a technology solution that would meet digital accessibility requirements and make it easier for customers to find information on their website. The council’s new website created a wide range of online services, tied to a customer account, that integrates with back-office systems and provides meaningful updates and interactivity to customers. Stevenage was able to effectively handle its high volume of in-person and telephone requests by converting them to digital inquiries and using digitised solutions built for the public sector.
Additionally, Stevenage’s new website helped the council prioritise its resources and streamline its processes. The new digital solution directed customers to online methods for payments and introduced an appointment-only model with a calendar booking function. Stevenage residents now enjoy easy and fast online experiences using Granicus’ digital forms and service technology.
Creating greater customer engagement with technology
As a result of their transformational work, Stevenage Borough Council haveseen significant changes in their customer behaviour. In July 2020, just 10.2% of customer requests were completed online; by July 2022 29.2% of residents were able to self-serve. In addition, the council saw an increase in both website pageviews and usage of automated telephone payments. Together, this enabled the council to reduce their customer services resourcing by 29% in just two years. They also maintained their customer satisfaction scores on the phone in all but one quarter.