UK government to run national CRM pilot
The UK government has launched a national CRM (customer relationship management) programme in an effort to transform local government customer service and set standards for local authority CRM implementations.
The programme, supported by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Government e-Envoy, is backed by approved funding of £4.25 million, and aims to create a definitive local government CRM strategy for the whole of the United Kingdom.
The National CRM Programme, which was officially opened on June 17th, 2003, takes the form of a local government CRM toolkit, for the purchase of which many local authorities will be eligible for funding.
Central backing The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has recognised that CRM is a critical component in modernising local government and helping councils to become more citizen friendly.
This view is held, however, despite the fact that ODPM has found that a large proportion of local councils are still undecided as to the role, purpose, implications, scope, and approach to implementing CRM.
Direction A programme board has been set up to steer the initiative, with representatives from a variety of regional local authorities. There is also representation from the ODPM, and the government's e-envoy team.
"The programme has been established to help councils understand and take advantage of the benefits that CRM can bring to their services," said Eric Bohl, sponsor of the National CRM Programme, and corporate director of customer services at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (the local authority which is leading the project).
Sound reasoning "By implementing a CRM strategy, the councils' frontline customer service staff will be able to deal with routine requests and queries at the first port of call," he added, "which means no more passing the call around to be solved."
During the course of the National CRM Programme, which is to be concluded by April 30th, 2004, the group will develop and publish the lessons learned, drawing on and analysing the entire range of experiences, including those from authorities not directly involved the programme.
The government's aim is for the programme to finally deliver a definitive 'How to' guide for local authority CRM, a suppliers' forum (to ensure that the industry supports the most cost-effective and rapid rollout of CRM across local government), and a 'CRM Academy' to provide independent advice, guidance and support for CRM deployments and to assist local authorities in CRM decision-making.
Bohl continued, "For local authority customers, CRM will make their interaction simpler and more effective, enabling councils to get a comprehensive view of each citizen."
Businesses benefit too The programme will not only affect citizens who make use of local authority services but it will also make life easier for business operators in many cases (e.g. simplifying the process by which businesses obtain licences from local authorities).
The National CRM Programme will publish its findings and tools throughout its lifecycle, and these publications and findings are to be made available free of charge to local authorities and other public sector bodies.