Improving customer communication for municipalities

For a municipality, communicating with inhabitants is crucial, whether it is providing or receiving information. A large part of this communication will be the public contacting you to report faults. With Gemini Melding (Communicator), this process is made easier and more efficient, benefiting municipalities and inhabitants alike.

An all-in-one solution

Frustration at waiting times on the phone and no straight answer as to when faults will be fixed are just some issues that can lead to stress and annoyance for both parties. Gemini Melding gives you the opportunity to register, process and save enquiries in one place, meaning that the process of fault reporting is made easier for customers, and more efficient for municipalities.

It allows you to store information in one database, making internal communication more efficient. With everything in one place, such as schedules of maintenance work and known problems, various departments can update and systemise the material and answer enquires more promptly.

Information stored can also be used and analysed at a later stage, such as when planning and prioritising for the future.

From post-it notes to web

One municipality that has benefitted from using Gemini Melding is Stavanger. Stig Tørresdal has worked there for over 40 years, and has the main responsibility for all Gemini solutions used in the municipality.

As recent as in 2009, messages at Tørresdal’s office were often passed on between colleagues verbally or on post-it notes. Tørresdal says that it became more and more apparent that this did not provide the customer experience they were striving for. “Often messages were overlooked, were unclear or had missing information,” he says. “We concluded that this was not good enough and we set out to offer our customers better service.”

Stavanger’s desire to improve their customer service led them to try Gemini Melding. They also decided to actively try to involve the public and on the back of this, a web version of Gemini Melding was launched, with Tørresdal being instrumental in this development.

“Gemini Melding is fairly new for us, but we saw early on that it could be developed to be a self-service tool,” says Tørresdal. He started cooperating with Powel on developing the solution as an online portal, in addition to installing the solution for faults reported over the phone.

“It became a collaboration between us and Powel. We provided feedback and Powel made adjustments accordingly,” he says. “The ball went back and forth until both parties were happy and felt ready to launch it.”

Improved customer communication

In early 2010, both solutions were implemented. Through VOF, Stavanger’s online customer portal, the public could now report faults and send enquires online. There was no real marketing effort behind it, but by 2014, the number of cases reported online overtook the number reported by phone.

“The online web portal has been a major success for us, it is easier and simpler for customers to report cases to us, and we have had very good customer feedback,” says Tørresdal. “In addition to making it simpler for the public, it takes the pressure off our operators, which allows them to work more efficiently.”

With the online web portal, it is possible to check the status of your problem online, with the log showing what faults have been processed and not. “The public is a good watchdog to ensure that faults are being fixed,” says Tørresdal.

In addition to the web portal for the public, employees also has the ability to go mobile and access the database and deal with enquires from out of the office. This means that when investigating a reported fault, they can add photos and additional information directly from the site.  

Stavanger uses the solution for enquires relating to water and wastewater, roads, park, sanitation, sport, building and property and bikes. The total number of enquires received in one year is around 10,000-12,000. As half of these enquires are now registered by the public themselves, operators have to deal with at least 5,000 calls less than a few years ago, meaning a saving of many hours for the municipality.

“We are very happy with Gemini Melding as well as the Gemini solutions in general,” says Tørresdal. “It is very rare that there is downtime on the system, the database is great, and it has really helped us improve our customer communication.”