Have you seen #FutureComms yet? This is a brilliant new resource by the LGA, LGComms, Solace, and the Public Relations and Communications Association. It brings together fresh thinking on the role of communications in building public services for the future.
You must identify weaknesses now and shift your comms
I was privileged to be asked to contribute to this resource which discusses the challenges and opportunities for communicators in the public sector – especially local government.
Through a series of perspectives or “think pieces” if you like, #FutureComms mulls over what “good” will need to look like in the development and delivery of modern and strategic communications.
I’ve outlined why I firmly believe that the only way for a comms function to survive is to become indispensable to an organisation and the people it serves. And that value needs to be unlocked and demonstrated now, before teams are cut entirely.
How can comms become indispensable? [Examples]
How do you do that? How can you prove the value of your communications? Public services must start by aligning comms with a customer services purpose; with measurable objectives and outcomes.
Wrexham and a 48% reduction in customer calls
For example, Wrexham County Borough Council’s automated bin collection email reminders have reduced customer service calls about missed bins by 48%. This comms intervention has delivered a clear financial saving, allowing staff to focus on other casework, and reducing call costs.
The financial return on marketing investment (ROMI) also pays for the email marketing platform they use (govDelivery) to deliver the bin reminders, several times over. This is a crucial point, because you will need to use marketing automation and audience segmentation features within a digital engagement platform to avoid creating more work for your time-poor teams. It’s a “no-brainer”. Every local authority responsible for waste and recycling collections, service renewals, permits and licences should be using a solution with email automation to issue reminders and decrease the cost of remedial action / lapsed subscriptions. Please get in touch if you want to set some up.
Birmingham and a £13.4k ROI from a simple email series
Or let’s look at Birmingham City Council’s targeted emails used to communicate updates to parents throughout the school admissions process. By providing the info people need by email at critical moments in the journey leading up to “offer day”, Birmingham has reduced the number of parents calling up to find out about their child’s application by up to 72%. This equated to a saving of £13.4k during the 2018 secondary school place allocation week.
Make a smart move today ready for tomorrow
Take a look at my #FutureComms piece for guidance on making your comms really count.
Because if you’re not able to show the value of your communications in monetary terms, the current financial climate in local government especially means you may have a tough time justifying the existence of your teams in the not-to-distance future. Many teams are already facing this reality.
Please get in touch if you’d like some help to make sure your comms (and tech choices) put customers first and deliver greater returns on investment for your organisation.
I’d love to help keep your comms “alive” for longer.