Customers rely on the council for a number of different reasons. They can include consent for building or renovating, maintaining roads, footpaths, and utilities, conserving and protecting the natural and built environment, and health and social care. This in addition to funding library access and acquisitions, and helping out local community groups. Many of these services represent essential needs for living or working, or running a business, or are a significant source of recreation and joy in people’s lives.
So, how do you shorten the approval process and create a more efficient customer-facing experience?
For a council with complex service offerings, a service blueprint is essential. It enables you to coordinate various teams and departments and multiple customer touch points. The key idea behind a service blueprint is that it maps your customer goals and journey to your offerings. Your service blueprint should also align to your strategic goals. For example, improving efficiencies or breaking down silos.
A service blueprint has obvious benefits for your council
Some of these include:
- Understanding the resources and processes required to provide your services, especially when taken
hand-to-hand with process mapping.
- Discovering weaknesses and gaps in the process. A service blueprint enables you to root out
systemic issues with service delivery that are invisible when taking a smaller view.
- Identifying what works. You can see where efficiencies occur and roll out similar systems across
the organisation, or use these as jumping-off points for innovation.
Your service blueprint visually maps your organisation’s processes, and is created using a similar collaborative processcollaborative process to journey mapping. That process involves five key stages: Finding support, defining the goal, gathering research, mapping the blueprint, and refining and distributing (see more about this process on the Nielsen Norman Group website).
Service blueprints involve taking an inventory of customer actions. The actions are visible (or front-stage), invisible (or back-stage), support processes, and physical evidence (anything required to make actions happen, including your website and digital platforms).
- Closing gaps in your service blueprint where departments aren’t sharing information.
- Using web-based forms to speed up data-collection.
- Deleting unnecessary process steps and bottlenecks.
- Giving approval power to teams lower in the chain to re-allocate work.
- Using MyFLO as your field-service management software to create a more efficient system for delivering services.
Innovation and new ways of thinking
As you create more efficiency in your approvals process, you also create room for innovation.
Councils struggling with these inefficiencies may choose to work with private contractors or social enterprise groups to speed up delivery and create a more pleasant customer experience.
Engagement with citizens enables you to prioritise needs and allocate resources. For example, as the population ages you will find services for this age group straining limited resources. By recognising and working with the elderly in your shire, you can place those resources where they are most needed and create a sense of ownership and community around services.
Potential additional revenue streams may arise from the service blueprint as new opportunities are identified.