Has never been easier, thanks to the London Boroughâs pioneering implementation of MapThat interactive web mapping on its re-launched website
Lewisham Councilâs previous website allowed only limited reporting and there was no map with which residents could pinpoint exact locations. Matt Spencer, Service Group Manager for Service Point, explains: âOur old website offered some online forms but these only generated e-mails to the back office after collecting basic information entered by users. Instead of using these limited self-serve channels, customers preferred to âphone the call centre where reports would be logged. However, address and location information was inconsistent, being open to misinterpretation by both customer and call taker. This naturally caused difficulties for our back office operatives who were left to interpret these details or, where possible, call back for clarification.â ShortcomingsThe Council was further hampered by a disjointed and complicated system containing disparate and âlow-techâ databases requiring a high manual input. For example, it used to monitor the progress of service requests by using a database in Lotus Notes. But this was considered to be a very dated system and, again, was open to inconsistencies in how details were keyed-in. Nor was it easy to spot duplicate reports or analyse the number of service requests being received.Lewisham needed to overhaul the way it collected and processed residentsâ reports. It also wanted a joined-up system that would offer a slick and user-friendly service to customers and encourage the online reporting of problems. The aim was to create a fully self-service facility on its website â¦ one that would reduce processing costs while, simultaneously, improving speed, efficiency and consistency.In response, Lewisham was the first to implement MapThat interactive web mapping software from CADline (www.cadline.co.uk) - part of the team that designed the Councilâs new website. The project entailed integration with several existing databases, the Local Land and Property Gazetteer, Gandlakeâs intelligent eForms, and cross-referencing Dynamicsâ CRM.DelightedMatt Spencer and his colleagues are delighted with the result. âMapThat and a Report-It platform have made our website more valuable to our customers, by enabling self-service. However, where telephone and face-to-face contact is required it also enables staff to confidently report service requests to the back office with the knowledge that the correct location information is being provided in an understandable format to our field operatives. The introduction by CADline of a Local Land and Property Gazetteer integrated with the Report-It platform has led to locations having a unique record which can be selected either by entering part of the details or by finding them on a map.âBy adopting an improved self-service platform, the Council is looking to ânudgeâ customer contact to the most appropriate channels for both themselves and the customers in terms of speed, efficiency and cost. As reported by SOCITM in Better served: Customer access, efficiency and channel shift (February 2011), the average phone call costs Â£2.90 and a face-to-face contact is Â£7.40, whereas a web contact costs just Â£0.32. The previous website was not able to help Lewisham Council to efficiently manage customer contacts and reduce costs, whereas, due to the assistance from CADline and other ICT partners, the Council is now in a position to begin to drive appropriate services through cheaper channels.Boosting online trafficThe new website at www.lewisham.gov.uk is far more intuitive and easier for residents to use too, thereby encouraging more online traffic. As a service request form is being completed, customers may be authenticated and address details pre-populated making the process quicker and smoother for those completing the form, as well as eliminating errors. Manual intervention is greatly reduced and the outcome is a much faster turnaround of service. Each eForm generates an immediate automated response to the customer via CRM, who, if previously registered with the website, can check the status of their report at any time simply by logging on.If the customer does not know the address of the problem they are reporting, they can now pinpoint it on a map and a polygon is created to cross-reference the LLPG and provide a list of addresses for verification. Aerial views, and hybrid views where street names are overlaid on the aerial picture, help the customer to recognise the location.âRecorded data is now in a consistent format; no time is wasted by our back office on interpreting what was meant,â explains Matt. âThe potential for duplicate reports has vastly decreased too, because people can first check the map to find out whether we have already been alerted to the problem.âServices LocatorMapThat offers a particularly impressive public services locator. Thanks to the integration of Lewisham Councilâs directory databases, users can now select from a list any number of types of public places and services to be displayed on the map simultaneously. All views are displayed with clarity due to the high resolution graphics, and navigation around the map is rapid and easy. Hovering the mouse over a map pin reveals the address of that particular service.CADline has developed a bespoke add-on for Lewisham Council, called âRounds Applicationâ, to organise the refuse and recycling collection rounds. This was previously managed separately in Excel but data could not be relied on to be up-to-date. Due to the implementation of this system, all data is now being updated and regularly maintained. The Council can plan refuse rounds on the map, with addresses being selected either within a polygon drawn by an operative, or by ward, postcode, street or individual household. The Councilâs field operatives have benefitted too, as they are now able to work more efficiently due to consistency of information and being able to find locations immediately.Matt says his organisation has an âexcellentâ business relationship with CADline. âIt is a much valued partner which listens to our needs and works accordingly, staying engaged and keeping us informed throughout the website planning and development work. It really takes ownership of the system it has developed before, during and after implementation.âIn order to keep costs to a minimum, Matt is keen to ensure that technology is multi-purpose where possible. He is now working with CADline to use the Rounds Application idea for lumber collection, to streamline the collection of large or bulky items of refuse such as white goods and furniture, along with establishing catchment areas for respective services. In addition, CADline is continuing to work with Lewisham Council on the way it delivers services to customers.Pictured above: MapThat offers a particularly impressive public services locator, here being used to interrogate the schools and leisure services database
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