Contact Harlow

Janet Jackson from Harlow Council describes their experience of implementing and using AchieveService.

January 2011 –Seems such a long time ago now but that was when we got the go ahead… we were actually going to design our new CRM system and I have no IT knowledge…hmm, that could be a challenge. So much to do and so little time to do it, as some one once said.

February 2011 – I designed my first process….goodness me that process was awful but at the time I thought I had created a masterpiece. Then I was presented with an angel, one that never knew when to keep quiet and had no common sense but I could see the genius shining through and her name was Jo.

March 2011 – Lots happened, Russ from Firmstep took charge (thankfully) - showing us what we needed to do to get to a point where we could go live. We began online training with Frank from Firmstep who became our guru, (don’t know how we could have coped without him, although I still don’t think it was reciprocated) and the go live date was decided, 10th May!!!

April 2011 – Pretty much every waking hour working on the system and making the training videos. They were well received by the team, even after 17 attempts to record one, due to the dog barking, phone ringing, kids fighting and people visiting, I am still experiencing the nightmares they caused.

May 2011 – 10 days and counting, it was a pretty stressful time however we knew it would be all worthwhile….really it would.

10th May 2011 – Go Live Day!!!! It worked. It actually worked, we got a system up and running in 11 weeks…..Wow.

Since then we haven’t stopped, I could ramble on for hours about the system, how brilliant, easy to use, intelligent and the best purchase Harlow Council ever made. But I am biased, so I have asked some of the users, both internal services and external partners to give me their views.

"The new system has been in use for approximately 11 weeks. Although there are some teething problems Janet and Jo are working hard to resolve them. Kier Harlow and Harlow Council have in my opinion always maintained a good working relationship but the new system has improved this by ensuring that all members of staff take ownership of their work, complaint levels have reduced due to the questions that are being asked at the first point of contact and the customers are being given the correct information at the same time.

Staff members are more confident in contacting various departments across the contract to ensure that a speedy conclusion’s are forth coming.”

Kier Harlow – Manages the Council’s Housing & Non Housing repairs, Street Scene and Ground Maintenance Services via a Joint Venture Company.

"The new system has saved us (in the office) time and money with only having to print out one sheet for each type of collection and only having to ‘answer/input’ variations other than not outs, I find it easier and faster to use as it is web based and not on a shared system therefore giving everyone in the office access at once rather than having to wait for someone to finish what they are doing first. We prefer using this system and it is preventing the crews from returning needlessly on missed collections."

Veolia – Manages the Council’s domestic waste clearance services.

"Although its still early days, the new Contact system is already proving a more user friendly and effective system than the previous system.  Looking at the point of contact in the first instance, the monitoring of each enquiry or complaint raised seems to be effective and fast. The Advisors are given a list of questions and depending on the answers, will then direct the enquiry or complaint to the appropriate department for action. This alone should ensure the appropriate department receives the work promptly, eliminating unnecessary delays and confusion, delivering a more effective Customer Service.  The way in which the system works will help to ‘naturally train’ Advisors in areas of Council work which will be beneficial in the recruitment of new staff."

Harlow Council Housing Management Team

"The whole process from the procurement of the service to the day we went live with it has been really straight forward. It has been really refreshing to have a system that we can build ourselves and which we can tailor to suit our needs and those of our customers. Whilst there has always been a really good level of support from Firmstep, we haven’t had to be experts in IT to implement it. The flexibility that the products offer mean that we can completely change the way in which we work and not need to worry that they system can’t adapt to it.

Overall we are really pleased with it and although barely three months in we are already seeing the benefits both financially and in the quality of the service that we are able to offer our customers.”

Simon Pipe, Customer Services Manager