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Central Bedfordshire Council

How FixMyStreet Pro is creating a better user experience and achieving fast channel shift with Central Bedfordshire Council Highways

For the first time in a long time, Central Bedfordshire Council Highways is receiving more online reports from customers than through contact centre calls.

Just a few months after switching to FixMyStreet Pro, online reporting has increased by 46% and reporting costs have dropped by 24%.

Central Bedfordshire Council adopted FixMyStreet Pro in early 2021 as its new front door to residents for all street and highways defect reports.

Within the first full month of going live, FixMyStreet Pro got to work creating positive channel shift for the council, with a 46% increase in online reports that tipped the scales and made online reporting more attractive to residents.

By month four of using FixMyStreet Pro and consistently receiving more reports online than over the phone, Central Bedfordshire Council was projecting a 24% reduction in reporting costs.

And we’re only just getting started.

“This is an exciting development for Central Bedfordshire residents as the FixMyStreet Pro system is not only easier, faster to use, and more interactive, it can also connect with other systems to ultimately lead to smarter more efficient services.”

— Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, Central Bedfordshire Council

The problem Central Bedfordshire was facing

Before choosing to switch to FixMyStreet Pro to handle street and highways defect reports, Central Bedfordshire Highways was receiving a greater number of reports from residents via telephone. As well as being increasingly expensive for the council, this was a clear indication that the online reporting system wasn’t fit for purpose.

A significant portion of the calls Central Bedfordshire was receiving from residents were made not to report new problems, but to chase for updates on reports that had already been submitted. Add this to an increase in complaints from residents about the old online system, a channel shift was certainly starting to look like the best solution.

Why Central Bedfordshire chose FixMyStreet Pro

In addition to achieving channel shift and creating efficiencies, improving customer satisfaction and producing a better user experience for residents were top priorities for the council, so FixMyStreet Pro’s user-centric and transparent approach to reporting really stood out.

It was the benefits and support FixMyStreet Pro would bring for staff and the council as a whole that made it the perfect solution for Central Bedfordshire.

Not only can residents make faster, easier reports online thanks to FixMyStreet Pro’s accessible, responsive design, they can also make more accurate reports with helpful location features, intelligent asset layer displays and flexible categories. Plus, all reports are displayed publicly on the map from where anyone can subscribe to receive updates, helping to reduce duplicates and lessening the burden on customer contact centre staff – that was key for Central Bedfordshire.

Two-way data exchange

Seamless integration with backend asset management systems means that data can be shared intelligently to and from FixMyStreet Pro, helping staff to prioritise defect repairs and keeping report-makers in the loop

FixMyStreet Pro enables councils to send clear, jargon-free, templated responses that help to build a trust-based relationship between council and citizen.

Crucially here, Central Bedfordshire was impressed by FixMyStreet Pro’s ability to make the transfer of data from front to back end system customer-friendly. The council uses the Symology Insight asset management system, from which its previous online reporting system would extract a status code. Unfortunately, residents didn’t understand this internal code, so they would get straight back onto the phone, increasing pressure on the customer contact centre. FixMyStreet Pro enables councils to send clear, jargon-free, templated responses that help to build a trust-based relationship between council and citizen.

It was the benefits and support FixMyStreet Pro would bring for staff and the council as a whole that also made it the perfect solution for Central Bedfordshire. Our collaborative, inclusive approach to service delivery means that we build services around councils’ requirements, and provide regular opportunities for stakeholders to influence our continual development roadmap.

How FixMyStreet Pro is working for Central Bedfordshire so far

At the time of writing, it’s only been a few months since Central Bedfordshire’s branded version of FixMyStreet Pro launched, but early data is already showing some really positive channel shift results for the council and its residents.

As this graph shows, every month since adopting FixMyStreet Pro, online reporting (the blue line) has increased for Central Bedfordshire.

Graph showing the breakdown of reports at Central Bedfordshire Council between June 2020 and April 2021

Between December and January, the council saw a 46% increase in online reports that ended a long spell of receiving significantly higher numbers of calls about reports than those made by any other channel. This is exactly what we wanted to see; indicating an improved user experience online and a reduced requirement to call the council to chase for report updates.

In monetary terms, this new favouring of online reporting over telephone reporting represents a 24% reduction in reporting costs for the Highways service.

Given that this is still only the start of the journey for Central Bedfordshire and FixMyStreet Pro, these early results are incredibly encouraging and exciting.

What’s next for Central Bedfordshire and FixMyStreet Pro?

As the council and its residents continue to familiarise themselves with FixMyStreet Pro, we’ll be working together to refine and enhance the service for Central Bedfordshire in order to give their channel shift journey even more momentum.

This will involve catching up with inspectors and front line teams to see how they’re getting on with using FixMyStreet Pro, as well as exploring some new features for the council, such as text updates.

Watch this space!