Logan City is home to more than 327,000 people, with the projected population to exceed 500,000 by 2036. Around 50% of residents are aged 34 or younger and the city consists of more than 217 different cultures, proudly being one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in Australia. The city is ideally located between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, just 45 minutes away from two international airports and 20 minutes to the Port of Brisbane, made up of 70 suburbs and covers 959 square kilometres. Logan City Council employs just over 1,700 staff and controls an annual budget in excess of $1 billion, managing assets worth more than $6 billion, providing support to over 119,000 rateable properties and over 20,000 businesses with an economy of nearly $13 billion.
Logan City Council are committed to delivering service excellence at all levels of the organisation. The foundation for this comes from setting a clear direction regarding its customer service and broader service excellence commitments and desired outcomes. While a lot of attention has been provided to the traditional contact channels of telephone and counter, an increasing demand for digital service as well as the advancement of technology capabilities has provided a catalyst for support to improve design and functionality for self-managed digital services.
A digital customer experience project team was formed to centralise the management and coordination of these services. The team consists of internal Customer Experience & Community Engagement Branch resources and additional support is provided by relevant areas such as Information Services (IT), City Futures Branch (digital innovation) and external consultancies with vendors engaged as required. This resulted in a significant capability and knowledge uplift for the Customer Experience & Community Engagement Branch with regards to advancing technology and innovation opportunities including the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
A foundation piece (and the largest undertaking) was the rebuild of a new corporate website. This would also provide a platform for improved online services and the connection for customers to other self-service tools such as the My Property system and the chatbot. Working closely with a plain language expert for this part of the project, provided valuable assistance with training a group of staff to write in a way which would better meet the needs of the community and customers. The digital customer experience team worked closely with subject matter experts to simplify the content on each page while still providing necessary depth and detail. The writers followed guidelines for plain language and developed an internal style guide to ensure consistency.
The Customer Insights project using artificial intelligence was a further commitment to better understand the community and expanding voice of the customer approach. It brings together a range of information and data that until now had not been understood in a broader context around sentiment and patterns of issues to themes and location. This is now paying dividends all across Council as the Customer Experience & Community Engagement Branch is providing internal and external showcases for the innovation work completed to date.
A key challenge but also success was the decision to use in-house resources to drive the project rather than external project leads. Whilst the initial level of knowledge for these types of technologies and projects was low, the built and now retained corporate knowledge is invaluable as they continue to build upon these achievements. This will further bolster the momentum of innovation and customer experience improvement into the future of the website transformation project.