How laser sharp focus delivers a 12 point improvement in 12 months

Georges River Council achieved a 12 point improvement in their quality assurance score within 12 months. Margaret Le (Customer Experience and Events Manager) provided a roadmap for creating better customer experiences across the council.

‘SenseCX has been incredibly effective for us, allowing us to not just improve the customer experience but also provide a consistent experience across all departments and channels’

Margaret LeCustomer Experience and Events Manager

Customers the number one priority – from day one

Georges River is a relatively small Sydney council that was formed through the merger of Hurstville and Kogarah councils in 2016. From the outset, our General Manager, Gail Connolly, made it clear that customers were our reason for being and number one priority – declaring 2016/17 ‘the Year of the Customer’.

Early on, we worked with CSBA to journey map ten different customer journeys – from applying for a tree permit to receiving a parking infringement – so we could see what it was really like for our customers.

By 2019, we had implemented 44 individual projects designed to streamline, improve and enhance the customer experience. It was the ideal time to take the next step and see how our CX compared to other local governments. To do this, CSBA performed 500 independent assessments of the experience provided across phone, email, face to face, chat, social media and service requests.

As you can imagine, after investing two years in improving our CX, we were very keen to see where we were at. The overall performance score for the Customer Service Team was 53%, one point below the median of the 40 councils assessed.

Raising the bar

We weren’t satisfied with just being average and decided to set the bar high, be bold and be ambitious – setting a 10 point improvement target to achieve an overall score of 63% at the end of 2020.

Knowing only one other council had achieved an improvement of this magnitude in such a time frame, we knew we had to be smart and strategic and focus on the behaviours that would have the most impact.

The Introduce and Close components of the interaction were our weakest and were also areas where we could embed practical behaviour changes in a systematic way – so we made them the focus.

Working towards the goal

We were very mindful not to ‘bite off more than we could chew’ and knew that to shift the dial we had to lift the low performers – so we focused on the low performers in each department.

We also prioritised three teams for intensive training, support and feedback – the Customer Service, Rates and Tree Management teams. They were selected because of the high volume of community interaction they have, and/or because, for various reasons, these teams had higher instances of unhappy customers.

Each month, CSBA would perform 20-40 assessments. We’d sit down together, go through the results, look at the trends, celebrate our successes and use the reports to identify new resources and coaching activities that were needed to improve – behaviour by behaviour. It was all about keeping it simple, not overwhelming people and making goals achievable.

While we were improving, we weren’t improving fast enough to reach our target. We had an out of office, after hours meeting with the CX team. It was about empowering them and making sure they knew how integral they were to the process and how important they were to the organisation. It elevated their sense of importance and motivated them. The next month their scores were in the 70’s.

Exceeding all expectations

In August and September 2020, we continued our monthly assessments. You can imagine our delight and the sense of achievement we felt as an organisation when we achieved a score of 65% – 2 points above our target. But more importantly, we saw improvements across all departments, all touch points and all measures – not just the ones we focused on and prioritised.

This score put Georges River in the top 5 performing Local Governments (out of the 44 assessed). In just 12 months, we went from the middle of the pack to the front of pack using SenseCX.

SenseCX has been incredibly effective for us, allowing us to improve the experience customers have interacting with us and ensure we provide a consistent experience across all departments and channels.

I highly recommend CSBA and SenseCX to all local governments looking to provide their community with better experiences.

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