IEG4 Insights

Opening doors and unlocking the potential of better customer service

Posted by Jackie Gill on Oct 4, 2019 9:57:26 AM
Jackie Gill

Imagine, as a local authority citizen, walking down a corridor where each door relates to a page shown every time a hyperlink is clicked, that potentially leads you to the information you require.

Many doors may need to be opened before you find the answer you want. In fact, with this analogy, it doesn't matter the circumstance of the person opening the door, the time of year, whether revenues and benefits recovery and billing has happened; each door remains fixed in place, and the answers remain hidden.

It doesn't sound the most effective way to respond to customer enquiries does it?

Yet, that is how citizen legacy self-serve solutions for Revenues and Benefits work. It's little wonder therefore, that the actual call volumes that councils receive are not reduced, despite the presence of a digital channel.

Let’s go back to our corridor of doors.  Wouldn't it be smarter if the user could see ten doors simultaneously and there was writing on those doors that was personalised to the citizen's circumstances and even related to an activity the council had just carried out regarding that citizen, e.g. billing/recovery?

The truth is councils know, from call centre statistics for example, the type of questions citizens ask to contact centre staff who deal with service calls for council tax, business rates or benefits. Councils also know how these questions dynamically change based on being asked at certain times of the financial year or certain times within a month.

Some questions have difficult answers that, in traditional self-serve solutions, would require many doors being opened in order to work out the answer. It is this reason that means citizens still make those expensive calls.  They know a council employee can get to that answer faster than them.

It's human nature to choose the path of least resistance, so rather than persevere with these legacy self-serve solutions, they call, regardless of the possible waiting times, until they are connected to a customer service advisor.

With IEG4's OneVu solution, the council controls the content that is visible to their citizens. The council controls when things change in order to reflect different times of year. The council can add powerful, conditional logic to drive highly personalised answers to difficult questions.

OneVu enables a council to make the content its own. Its own questions and its own answers. The information is surfaced in a way that means citizens get their answers fast and without the need to open too many doors.


Let's look at a couple of examples which put this into a real-life scenario.

"When is my next Council Tax payment due?"

John calls up because his next payment shows an amount owing of £200.00 in the legacy self-serve solution, which is more than he expected it to be.

With OneVu this would show - and more importantly be explained - as:

"Your next payment is £200.00. It's higher than normal because you have a normal payment of £100.00 due on 01 October 2019 and you also didn't pay the instalment of £100.00 due on 01 September 2019."

This is the response a human would give to this question and it's exactly how it would be answered within OneVu.

Let's take another example.

"Why have I got a reminder?"

Legacy solutions would only show a statement of account and a list of bills to view. They will not answer the question asked. Legacy solutions are designed as digital self-serve manifestations of the back office; not as a tool to reduce phone calls.

With OneVu, this query could be simply answered with:

"In the following bill we outlined your instalments for the year:

{Table showing bill and date}

As of today, you should have paid:


You have actually paid:


As you have not paid in line with the instalments, you have been sent this reminder:

{Table showing reminder and date}"

The above are both relevant to Council Tax / Business Rates. But what about Benefits; the most complex service of all?

Let's first consider a simple example:

"How much is my next benefits payment?"

With OneVu you can add personalised answers based upon:

  • Payment frequency
  • Tenancy type
  • Presence of DHP
  • Amount
  • Payee
  • Presence of overpayment recovery

Which means that a payment made to a private tenant with an element of DHP can provide a totally different explanation to one provided to a council tenant who has a recovery element being taken from their payments. Even if this text existed in the legacy systems (it doesn’t), it wouldn't be editable by you and you wouldn't be able to change or add to the logic.

What about, perhaps the most complex, and perhaps most frequently asked benefit question:

“Why doesn’t housing benefit cover all of my rent?”.

You can provide clear answers that a human would provide with OneVu. E.g. you can provide customer specific, council and citizen personalised answers such as these:

  • Your income is £20.98 more than benefit rules allow
  • We are taking a deduction of £15.60 per week for Sam Jackson living with you. This is called a non-dependent deduction
  • Benefit rules say your household needs three bedrooms. Because you have four, we have had to make a reduction of 14% which works out as a reduction of £30.50.

These are but three of a number of answers that can be provided to customers worded exactly as you want them to be and changed over time, without the need of assistance from IEG4.  Customisable content that puts the council in control.

So, with OneVu, it's not just about making the door you want easier to find, it's about trying to ensure it’s the only one you need.

Topics: digital local government, digital transformation, software, personalisation, onevu, channel shift, citizenaccess

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