Making it easier and faster for customers to interact online is the goal of some significant changes being made at Auckland Council.
More than 26 new ‘smart’ application forms went online this week as part of a “customer-centric” transformation in the way the council interacts with stakeholders. Customers will also have a choice about how they log-in to transact online with the council – via email, Google, Facebook or RealMe.
The changes were among a range designed after listening to the views of 4000 customers, whose insights are leading to more streamlined services intended to save time and effort, with the added long-term goal of lower costs for ratepayers.
"The expectations of our customers are changing and we are moving quickly to respond," says Regulatory Committee chair Councillor Linda Cooper.
“We have listened to the concerns of our residents and ratepayers and we’re making a concerted effort to address issues and raise the satisfaction levels with our improved online services," she says.
Many of the most common applications made to the council, including dog licences, liquor and food licences, consents, waste and event applications, plus rates payments, infringements and venue bookings are now being made accessible online. Further services are due to become accessible online over the next two years, with most of the common services able to be completed online by 2019.
“It’s a mammoth task and we are committed to leading the way in being more customer focused than councils have been historically,” says Councillor Cooper.
Auckland Council Transformation Director Patricia Reade says, "Many of our customers want to access the services they need at any time, from anywhere. So we need to make it easier for them to engage with us on their terms."
Online services and transactions
- Consenting Made Easy – delivers tailored service offers to speed up consents for straight-forward projects while providing more in-depth service and advice for bigger or more complex projects. Easy self-serve online options will also help make the consenting process easier, faster and more efficient.
- Going Places Online – a booking tool that allows customers to search, book and pay online for council places and spaces, such as community venues, library rooms and camping grounds.
The goal is for customers to be able to access 70 per cent of the most common transactions online by 2019.
Initial significant improvements include:
- 165,000 annualised booking spots now available online for community facilities and library rooms across Auckland. This has already increased community facility bookings by ten per cent overall and reduced the time customers have to spend online from 15 minutes to eight. It has also reduced email enquiries from 350 to 230 per day.
- Reduced queues at swim centres by enabling online payments.
- A standardised online experience for 60 per cent of LIMs (Land Information Memorandum searches).
- 82,000 dog registrations able to be completed online.
“We are breaking new ground with some of these services, so we appreciate the support, patience and constructive feedback we are receiving from our customers as we bring new forms online,” says Patricia Reade.