Local Government Technology: Moving to a new CRM (8 tips from Hounslow Borough Council)

Having recently moved from a legacy provider to Jadu CXM, the experience of moving CRMs is still front of mind for Hounslow’s Customer Relations Manager, Tina Dunkin. So, to help those on a similar journey, Tina has listed 8 tips to help others.

Local authority moves CRM

1.  Consider spreading out your case types

2.  Choose the project team wisely – ensure any central team is included

3.  Have a thorough internal communications strategy

4.  Make sure you’re aware of other projects that could impact yours

5.  Build in time for testing (and be prepared to increase it)

6.  Keep an updated issue log that makes it clear what is outstanding

7.  Training is a valuable opportunity for engagement

8.  Offer different types of training

1. Consider spreading out your case types

We started with a very difficult set of cases which are integral to many aspects of customer service and involve a wide variety of services. The project covered all the following case types:

  • Member/Leader and MP Enquiries
  • Freedom of Information
  • Environmental Information Regulations
  • Subject Access Requests
  • Ombudsman Enquiries
  • Corporate Complaints

Our logic was that once we’d gone through these, everything else would be easy in comparison. The approach worked for us, but was not easy! 

Although the project covered all the case types we were able to stagger the deployment slightly which was a good thing as it helped with communication across the council.

It also meant we had the resource to facilitate drop-in training sessions as we went along (more on training below).

It’s a matter of preference and will be different for each authority, but consider closely the order that you implement and deploy services.

2. Make the central team/Customer Relations the nucleus

The Customer Relations team is the main user of our CRM and has a really deep understanding of how everything works, the improvements that need to be made and the pitfalls to be avoided.

If your Customer Relations team is anything like ours, its knowledge and experience will be invaluable when mapping everything out and getting a grip on existing workflows and processes.

Make sure they’re front and centre from the very beginning. 

Big efficiency gains can be uncovered and achieved with the smallest tweaks. For example, when we looked at the Subject Access Request process, we’d previously spent a lot of time chasing people for their IDs. The process in the new workflow means that the information has to be provided upfront. The simple tweak has saved the council a lot of time.

Detailed workflows were always played back to the Customer Relations Team before Jadu worked its magic and built things.

3. Have a thorough internal communications strategy

Have an internal communications strategy and engagement plan to reach all levels of the organisation, from senior management to the officers on the ground delivering services.

This needs a lot of attention (and time). Colleagues must be made aware that there will be a new system in place and understand what it means to them.

Think about the third parties you work with and make sure they’re involved from the outset.

Attend as many meetings as you can to publicise the move. If there is one thing that we’ve learned, it’s that not everyone reads their email! You need to get out there and spread the word.

4. Make sure you’re aware of other projects that could impact yours

Our project was impacted mid-delivery. Garden Waste had to be launched rapidly and temporarily removed most of our ICT resources. 

It’s important to make sure you have a wider view of the projects that are happening, which could have a knock-on impact and cause delays.

5. Build in time for testing (and be prepared to increase it)

It’s best to keep the testing numbers small and to facilitate one-to-one time. Providing test scripts enables individuals to work at their own pace and you to record the issues being raised.

We had a lengthy snagging list and the Customer Relations team worked hard to provide additional testing sessions within the limited time we had.  We offered multiple sessions; some open to all, some targeted as specific service area groups and some one-to-one. 

Also make sure to leave space between sessions for adequate changes to be made.

6. Keep an up-to-date issues log that makes it clear what is outstanding

It’s really important to define roles and responsibilities. Right from the start of the project, everyone needs to be very clear.

It’s also important to document the outcome of conversations. For us, there was so much happening and so many discussions that it was sometimes difficult to recall what was agreed.

7. Training is a valuable opportunity for engagement

Apart from the obvious benefits of training, it’s also an opportunity to show users the benefits of the new system. Showing the potential helps them see the value and increases engagement.

For example, with Jadu Continuum CXM training, we used it as a chance to show teams how easy it was for them to have direct access to cases and their status.

All the teams across the council who handle any case work need to be set-up on the new system. These people needed to be listed, along with their team group name. It should only be the officer actually handling the case work. Think about the number of groups you have. We started with over 150 groups and now we have it down to about 100.  Check and double check with the service groups that they’re happy with how it’s set-up.

After deployment, we focused on embedding the system - continuing training, attending team meetings, reviewing and looking at improvements.

There will be changes, we’re seven months on and most teams now fully understand how it works.

8. Offer different types of training

We have trained over 550 members of staff. We offered lots of different types of training, which was definitely needed. We did lecture set-ups, we did groups and one-to-one sessions. For key users, we sat next to them and talked them through. We went to offsite offices. We did refresher training and continue to do so. For us it is really important that our colleagues are confident in using the system and we will always support them.

One of the best things we offered was online training that users can use as a reference guide.  One of my colleagues in ICT created the online training. He just broke it down into various slides and it takes about 10-15 minutes to go through each case type. Those needing a refresher can just find the slides they need and go back to it whenever they need.

Final Thoughts

Moving CRMs can be hugely beneficial; in terms of case management, Jadu Continuum CXM has many benefits compared to our legacy system. It’s more accessible and gives teams greater ownership of their cases. They’re able to view things in real time, which they weren’t able to do before. The audit trail is incredibly clear and a big benefit to teams that much more control.

To find out more about the journey please visit: A digital journey to improve online service delivery

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