Work process changes in the Customer Service Centre

08 June 2018 - Published by Renske Stumpel
The Customer Contact Center (CCC) of the Municipality Groningen (NL) experiences a rise in customer contact when bulk mailings are sent to inhabitants. Why that is? Often information in the mailing is not complete, or the style of writing is too complex. So people contact the municipality to clarify. This needs to change. That is why a new approach to municipal bulk letters and mailings is implemented by focusing on coordination between the various municipal departments.

Director of Public Services Municipality Groningen Gert Willem Hanekamp: "We all send quite a few letters, mailings and advertisements, often referring to contact the CCC for further information. In the text we mention the general telephone number, the WhatsApp number and e-mail address of the municipality. So far it all goes well; residents know how to reach the municipality through different channels. But unfortunately, it happens too often that the CCC is not up to date on the content of the letters. "undefined

Serving customers: the importance of first time fix
Wim Schorfhaar, head of the CCC, is not pleased with this unnecessary customer contact. Extra contacts lead to higher costs for his CCC . Most important however according to him "We aim to serve customers best, that’s were our added value lies”.

Better letters for citizens campaign
The new campaign ‘Better letters’ focusses on the role of the CCC. Letters which are sent in large amounts (500 and more) or with an important message to the recipient are communicated with the CCC five days prior to the sending date. The CCC checks the comprehensibility of the language, the possible questions for citizens arising from the letters, and whether the referral information is in order.  When the comprehensibility of the language is questionable, the CCC can send the letters to the Communication Department of the Municipality of Groningen. They have a ‘letter-doctor’ who can edit the letters to make them easier to understand. Besides, the letters are introduced in a focus-group comprised of less literate people in cooperation with the Alfa-college in Groningen to test whether letters are understandable.

Thus, cooperation between the various departments of the municipality of Groningen, together with the CCC, the letter-doctor, the department of Communications and the focus-group leads to better understandable, clearer and more complete letters. In that way, citizens of Groningen can better comprehend the messages of the municipality, and when further information is needed, they can be supported in an active way. This creates inclusiveness by focussing on the target group by understanding what they need.