Customer Engagement Strategy
2023 – 2026
High performing, service led organisations are customer focussed*. Customers are at the heart of our vision to ensure Mole Valley is a place where a beautiful environment, enterprise and opportunity combine creating a vibrant place to live, work and enjoy.
Over the past three years, Mole Valley District Council has improved the customer experience, focussing on our core values to Care, Listen, Trust, Lead and Respect. We have been reviewing and developing our services with our customers in mind, delivering new easy-to-use online forms to enable access to more of our services 24/7. We are also committed to embedding a continuous improvement culture, so that our staff feel confident to make changes for the better. Our digital first approach has meant we have invested in improving our website to ensure it is more accessible and with easier navigation; and we have engaged with our local communities to help inform the decisions we have taken on a range of issues from playground design to budget-setting.
This new Customer Engagement Strategy sets out our vision, principles, and approach to customer engagement as we transition through Evolve 2026. By using this strategy and the principles contained within it, we will consistently design and deliver our services with the customer at the heart of everything that we do, whilst pro-actively managing the ongoing financial pressures that local authorities face.
We need to consider how to encourage a successful channel shift. This will be a two stage approach where we first review our direct contact within high traffic service areas (both phone and email) and consider whether there are any ‘quick wins’ in terms of e-forms, improved web pages etc.. Part of this will be understanding how to ensure that the majority of phone contact comes via CSU so that more enquiries can be resolved at first point of contact while freeing up specialist staff to handle more complex casework. The second stage would be to review such contact with a view to reducing the amount of telephone and face-to-face enquiries that we receive overall, by making further online improvements based on the customer experience and implementing new services such as online Direct Debit and introducing LiveChat.
We will also seek to expand our online databases which will allow us to increase efficiency of direct communications and reduce cost per message.
A central guiding principle to our customer engagement strategy will be to adopt a shift left policy for all our customer contact. In essence this is for MVDC to actively look to encourage customers to utilise our more cost effective and efficient methods of engagement. This will require us to ensure that our e-enabled offer is the preferred way of interacting with the council by making the solutions simple and surpassing expectations of our customer base.
Improved customer experience
Our aim is to continuously improve so we provide a positive and effective customer experience. To do this we will carry out consultations and engagement with our communities as we make changes to our services, listening and using insight to improve and evolve. We will also empower our staff to deliver consistent and high-quality services and we will embed a sustainable continuous improvement culture.
We know from web and eform usage data that many of our residents, businesses and visitors want to engage with us online. We will undertake customer journey mapping to fully understand the customer experience from start to finish and do all we can to make our website and eforms so easy to use that they become the ‘go to’ way of contacting us. For those who are unable to use our digital services, we will review our processes so that we can do more to resolve calls and visits at the first point of contact.
Our structured, geo-targeted and pro-active communications inform residents about MVDC projects, services and support available, delivering the right messages to the right target audiences. Communicating via social media provides opportunities of real-time updates and effective feedback channel for customers; we will continue building up our presence through those platforms. By using integrated marketing and communications campaigns we will increase reach and engagement.
No One Left Behind
We ensure that all our digital services are built with accessibility in mind and we treat customer data with respect. Our communications channels are inclusive and our staff are trained in producing accessible content and they understand the need to deliver easy-to-read messages. We make an effort to identify and engage difficult to reach customers’ groups.
We provide services that are accessible 24/7 and are fast, reliable, and efficient. We also understand that there are some who may have more complex needs and who may need a friendly and empathetic person to help resolve the issue at hand, so we will continue to offer services by phone and in person. Our values to listen and to care mean that no-one gets left behind.
How will it feel?
- We Trust. Customers are confident that MVDC consistently delivers fast and efficient services, 24/7, and ensures information is always safely handled.
- We Respect. Customers feel understood, respected and valued
- We Listen. There is support available for those who don’t feel confident to use our digital channels and we ensure all our content is accessible.
- We Care. Empathy is key and our tone will always reflect our compassion.
- We Lead. We will continue to review our different channels of communication to help us deliver our services to the right people in the right way.
Our customer engagement design principles will be:
Customer focused – all services will be reviewed and designed with the customer in mind. We must place the customer at the heart of all new initiatives, process improvements, and digital designs. We will resolve as many enquiries as possible at the first point of contact. Our Values will drive what we do and how we do it.
Delivering better outcomes – changes made will focus on delivering better, more effective services (money, time, impact) – and this will include structured business readiness planning that ensures we, and our customers are ready as changes are implemented.
Reducing failure demand – aligning to digital strategy and service transformation, we will use customer insight to shape improvements.
Stakeholder specific – we will be clear whether we are consulting or informing while role modelling and emphasising our values in all we do.
Defining structured communications – communications plans are built into all change initiatives (key groups impacted always feeling informed) – we will proactively update and inform our customers wherever possible and ensure that our content is accessible for everyone.
*By ‘customer’ we mean any user of our services including residents, visitors, businesses, parish councils and residents associations