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Salesforce self-service platform helps Aylesbury Vale district council save millions

Tom Macaulay | March 29, 2017
The 'My Account' platform brings commercial practices to the public sector.

"We've got 33,000 households of the 75,000 households signed up to that in just over a year," says Grant.

"Clearly we've hit a sweet spot where people do want to look at the core things that they're doing with the council and not have to phone us up. We can increasingly give more value and products into My Account as we grow the functionality."

The council estimates that My Account saved more than 900 hours of employee time within six months of going live. It's now been running for more than a year, incorporating extra elements along the way such as arranging licences for taxi drivers and ordering bins.

"The biggest saving was actually getting us to be free from our desks because we can use the web browser for our services anywhere," says Grant.

"We've had a sharp drop in the number of people visiting customer services because they don't need to, we've had a sharp drop in email and phone traffic - between 10 and 30 percent in each area - so there are fewer interactions because they're not needed.

"What we're trying to do is prepare ourselves to grow the business later when we can base that on sales and products and services based on this knowledge."


Citizens as customers

Grant wants to integrate citizens' data into the cloud so that staff, customers, and partners are all connected and each individual can automatically be offered the specific services they want before they've even thought of it.

The new objective is described in a new "Connected Knowledge" strategy as a "digital business service experience within a smarter, data-driven council."

"Any other person in the private sector would be saying we've got to acquire some customers first, which is your biggest cost," Grant explains. "We've got those customers."

He hopes to motivate those customers to use the council to find further products and services provided by private companies.

"Ninety-five percent if not more of our citizens probably wouldn't need us for more than the bins but they're spending money, they're earning money in our area, how do they spend it with us, that's really the business model," he says.

"Digital isn't really an end itself, it's a way of understanding your customer better so that we can be a better council and more resilient and financially secure."

AVDC is also experimenting with emerging consumer technology. It recently became the first council in the country to conduct trials with Amazon Alexa, to see how the voice-controlled personal assistant can improve customer support services.

Councils across the country are struggling to provide adequate services due to cuts to their funding that are only set to deepen. Grant believes that the current socioeconomic climate will force them to radically change their established practices, and further draw on practices from the private sector.


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