I’m working on the ‘Effortless’ programme at Adur & Worthing Councils - trying to make it effortless for customers to contact us and get their query dealt with.

My focus is on improving our use of Salesforce (a ‘customer relationship manager’ or CRM for short), particularly how we use it to deal with the queries we get for our Adur Homes residents.

But first, a bit of background about what a ‘CRM’ is.

A CRM is software used to record customer details from the calls, face-to-face visits and emails we receive from Adur & Worthing residents. It makes it easier to manage queries we have. For example, if an Adur Homes resident calls to report an issue with their rent account and calls back in a few days to see what progress has been made, the Service area are able to add notes to the CRM advising of the actions taken. The Contact Centre are able to see these notes and update the customer without having to call the service area resolve the issue.

You might ask why we don’t just enter everything onto Salesforce at the moment, and here is where things get a bit complicated. You see, we deal with so many different queries across the Councils, during this project we have identified over 80 functions just for the Adur homes callstream. Each function requires a custom form to be designed, this is part of what I’m working on at the moment as part of the ‘Effortless’ programme.

At the moment my focus is on interactions with Adur Homes residents. We’re trying to make everything go through Salesforce to track the resident’s journey of contacting us from the beginning to the end.

The benefit of this is that we’ll be able to see everything that has happened to that customer in relation to Adur Homes. If they call multiple times, we’ll be able to see what has happened internally with their query - this will mean that we won’t have to chase up the Adur Homes teams to track progress because we’ll be able to see what the Adur Homes team has done through the system.

A big bit of development which has happened as part of this programme is that we’ve moved all emails about Adur Homes matters on to Salesforce (instead of people emailing through their individual work email accounts). This may sound small but it was a lot of work to get this in place and it has had a really big impact - allowing anyone in the Contact Centre to see messages that have been sent to Adur Homes.

It’s been a lot of work to get to where we are now, but it’s a development which was much needed and has been positively received by the Contact Centre staff. It means we’re no longer partially in the dark about different issues people call up about - we can all see what’s happened and can contact the right person.

We’ve also made progress in cutting down the number of systems we have to manually log into by integrating the Adur Repairs portal (where we log a repair to be done) into the Salesforce system. This saves time for staff as well as the person on the phone.

This has been an exciting project to work on. People in the Contact Centre have been positive about it, despite some pushback at the start which is to be expected whenever you change things. People are really pleased with the progress - it makes it easier to do a good job.

It’s brought about personal development for me too as this work has prompted me to do the PRINCE-2 practitioner course (a project management course) to manage this project more effectively. I’ve enjoyed being able to bring about positive change to make things better for the advisors and the customers.

And what’s next…? A lot more work!

Over the coming weeks, we hope to be working with the Adur Homes teams to get them adding data to Salesforce so that Contact Centre advisors have access to more information about the case. We’ll also be working with data and metrics in the future so that we can anticipate how long a request for work will take.

This can only mean good things for our residents - reducing call numbers, giving us the ability to clearly manage expectations and increase customer satisfaction!