Lake Macquarie City Council

Transforming your city’s customer experience can feel overwhelming at best. 

Too often, it’s thought of as one big project, one large boulder, one heavy lift. It’s this project-based mindset that can sabotage a digital services effort from the outset. The pressure to do it all and get it right the first time is not only impractical, it’s also inefficient. 

When Lake Macquarie City Council embarked on its ‘Community Portal’ journey, the Council chose to implement a beta site. This strategy allowed Council to initially focus on its “top nine” services, as determined by traffic to the existing website and interactions at the Customer Service Centre. 

The Community Portal project team, which included staff from the Council’s Customer Experience, Communications and IT teams, worked closely with stakeholders across Council throughout the project. They reviewed existing customer journeys and internal processes, and rapidly transitioned services from downloadable PDF forms to streamlined online forms, with a focus on launching early, measuring usage, and rapidly iterating.

Converting PDFs to online forms

Since launch, the Community Portal has made more than 100 self-service options available to customers. Despite the success already measured for both community and staff - a single online form saves respondents 72 minutes and staff 20 minutes, in contrast to in-person interactions -  the web team regularly revisits its online forms, using the OpenForms Insights Dashboard to identify bottlenecks and improve the experience.

Data insights drive better decisions

“Our customer enquiry forms represent one of our most popular online services. Using OpenForms Insights, I was able to sit with the Customer Service team and quickly identify pain points, errors and drop-offs within those forms,” said Ali Farzand, Web Systems Administrator with Lake Macquarie. “By being able to identify where people are having issues, we can make the right updates and fixes, and continuously measure improvements in performance.”

In this iterative approach, the Council has found it much easier to continuously improve their digital services and processes. “Using aggregated cost-to-serve values, the OpenForms Insights dashboard has helped us measure an estimated $50k in savings for the City,” said Farzand. And that’s only the beginning.

 

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