Strathbogie a mobile shire

The Strathbogie Shire Council is making effective use of industry-based applications and available technologies to expand its face-to-face customer services to townships.

This technology has seen the introduction of a cost neutral ‘Mobile Customer Service’ program that has already spread to three of its townships.

 “We saw that one of the many difficulties of being a Shire that covers over 300,000 hectares of land area, is that our residents have been restricted in the amount of access that they have to our staff.”  Strathbogie Shire Chief Executive, Steve Crawcour said.

“A Customer Service Officer now has the ability to provide quality customer service out in the field, whilst constantly staying connected with the Council office and providing virtual call centre functions.”

Council now utilises Voice Over IP (phone/internet technology) and Virtual Private Networks (data security) at two different destinations. Violet Town is served by a 3G internet connection, and Nagambie utilises an existing standard internet connection to deliver this service to local communities.

Manager of Customer Relations, Andrea Richards said “This technology allows our Customer Service Officers who are out in the field to stay connected with the office and take calls in the queue when they are in between customers. This mode of mobile service also provides for excellent disaster recovery, whereby our staff can still meet the needs of our customers without being behind a desk in the office.”

Following a successful trial of ‘Mobile Customer Service’ in Nagambie in 2012, further trials have been completed in Avenel and Violet Town.

“Statistics of customer interaction have been closely monitored throughout these trials, and essentially the key to the success of a ‘Mobile  Customer Service’ location comes down to the amount of local residents walking through the door,” said Ms. Richards.

“Whilst effective, Council recognises that Mobile Customer Service is not a one size fits all solution for all of its townships.

“In the case of Avenel, which has a population of over 1000 people, the number of people coming in didn’t justify a staff member available each week.

 “Further feedback has been gathered and we are currently investigating an alternative option to service Avenel effectively,” Ms Richards concluded.