2019 Local Government Customer Experience Insights Report Reveals Key CX Issues Facing Local Government
Three quarters of residents are satisfied with the recent contact they have had with their council, according to new research carried out by Fifth Quadrant. The report outlines which councils had the highest satisfaction percentage, and as it turns out also had the highest first contact resolution (FCR) rate. The study suggests that FCR continues to be a crucial metric within the realm of local council customer experience (‘CX’).
As customer expectations continue to rise, people now expect Apple and Amazon-level CX in every facet of their life, including in their dealings with local councils. To find out more about how customer expectations are evolving, Fifth Quadrant surveyed over 1,500 residents of Greater Sydney & Surrounds regarding their recent interactions with their local council in order to gain insights into current levels of satisfaction, expectations, and channel usage.
The report grouped the respondents into six regions as follows: Central Coast and Hunter, Sutherland and Illawarra, Sydney North, Sydney East, Sydney West, and Sydney Outer West. Respondents in Central Coast and Hunter, Sutherland and Illawarra, Sydney North skewed older, with the main generation surveyed being over 60 years old. Those in Sydney East, Sydney West, and Sydney Outer West were on average younger, with the main generation surveyed between 30 and 39 years of age.
Customer satisfaction with councils was the highest Sutherland and Illawarra (79%) and the lowest in the Sydney East (69%) area, which was the only region to receive a satisfaction score below 70%. Central Coast & Hunter also scored strongly (79%), but had a lower “very satisfied” rating than Sutherland and Illawarra. Sydney West and Sydney Outer West were tied for overall satisfaction at 74%, with the latter achieving a higher “very satisfied” rating. Sydney North was rated at the lower end, with a 71% satisfaction score.
As the name would suggest, FCR is a common metric used by contact centres to determine whether or not a customer enquiry was resolved on first contact. Customers expect their issues to be resolved quickly and efficiently.
According to Lizzie Dawson, Lead Researcher for the report, “Both short and long term strategies should ensure that the customer feels their time is valued, be it through accurate trace of contact history or improved response times.”
High Customer Satisfaction correlates with High FCR
The data backs this up. The report found that customer satisfaction decreased significantly in accordance with the number of times needed to contact the council to resolve an issue. For example, councils which achieved FCR were able to leave 85% of respondents satisfied. However, if two or three incidents of contact were required, that satisfaction rate dropped to 60%. Four or five contacts lowered satisfaction to 39% and over 6 times reduced it to 30%.
“Customers desire a more consistent and proactive response from their council. Whilst first contact resolution is not always possible, ensuring knowledge of the customer’s case history is likely to go a long way in driving satisfaction rates” according to Dawson.
Looking at each region, the report showed a clear correlation between FCR and respondent satisfaction levels. For example, Sutherland and Illawarra, the leading region for satisfaction, also had the highest rate of FCR at 77%. Sydney East, which ranked lowest for satisfaction, also had the worst record when it came to FCR at 68%. It was also the region with the highest percentage of queries that remain unresolved (6%), tied with Sydney North, which also scored at the lower end of overall satisfaction.
When it comes to FCR, simpler tasks unsurprisingly dominate. Paying for something (91%), requesting a service (81%) or getting information about Council services or activities (77%), were the top three issues resolved on the first attempt. At the other end of the spectrum more complex issues required more contact. For example, only 33% of respondents attempting to book council facilities were able to do so on the first attempt. Making a complaint, which was also the most likely to remain unresolved (22%), was could only attain FCR 42% of the time.
How to improve FCR?
...provide customers with access to their preferred channel to complete the most common interactions with the minimum level of effort."
Going forward, the results of the study suggest that local councils should place more focus on FCR and ways to improve it, which in turn would improve operational efficiency. Of the councils surveyed, Sydney East would appear to require the most work in this area.
As we have discussed before, research by Harvard Business Review shows that 57% of calls come from customers who have already been to a company's website looking for answers.
According to Fifth Quadrant's Head of CX Consulting and report author, Stephanie Bauer, “In order to both meet customer needs and manage overall cost to serve, it is important that Councils provide customers with access to their preferred channels to complete the most common interactions with the minimum level of effort.”
Councils can begin by going for the low hanging fruit and ensuring that simple tasks such as making payments and getting information can be done quickly and easily. In most cases, a properly designed and functioning website is the best way to achieve this. It is an idea which ties in with another key insight from the report, namely councils’ need to create intuitive and easy to navigate websites which allow for effective web self-service that ultimately eases the pressures on other touch points.
The full 2019 Local Government CX Report is available with accompanying webinars to follow over the next few months. When you register for the report, we'll also notify you of related upcoming events.
Fifth Quadrant is also offering organisations the opportunity to partner with us to provide insights and commentary on a number of CX Thought Leadership Research Reports coming this year. Sponsorship of these studies gets your brand in front of decision makers in need of solutions.
Benefits include: wide exposure among CX decision makers across industries, recognition as an industry thought leader, brand elevation through association with Fifth Quadrant, access to research data, and lead generation through a branded webinar. For more information, contact us today.