How Demand Management helps Cut Costs and Improve Customer Service

16 September 2020



With the average council getting 15,000 calls about waste and recycling every year, all service managers will recognise the growing demand being placed on their resources. Working efficiently is obviously part of the answer, and our optimisation and automation technology is helping councils do just this, but local authorities should also be looking at how they can reduce the amount of work required of them in the first place.

Demand Management in this context means reducing the citizen’s need for help from the council. For example, not missing a bin during a round means you don’t have to go back and collect it. Allowing someone to self-serve online, means you don’t have to handle the call. By reducing demand you improve both costs and customer satisfaction.

Technology can help in a number of ways.

In-Cab information for drivers helps reduce the number of bins that get missed

Missed bins often occur when something has changed on a round. By providing drivers and crews with accurate and up-to-date service information about the collections on their round, In-Cab reduces the number of bins that get missed and the subsequent complaints from residents. Service checks on the system also ensure properties or streets with previous issues can be verified as they are done, while information like access codes helps avoids crews not getting access to bins.

At Scarborough Borough Council, their digital transformation programme has seen a 26 per cent reduction in phone calls to the call centre, and a 34 per cent reduction in missed bins that they need to go back and collect.

Getting live service information online cuts calls to the council

Channel shift is a great example of reducing demand on a higher cost process (typically phone calls) by increasing the use of a lower cost process (online self-service). Councils have made many investments in customer experience technology to support this objective. But to ensure online services add real value to residents, and indeed divert demand from the contact centre and depot teams, front end websites need to be integrated with live service information.

At Falkirk Council for example, online calendars are available on the council’s public website. By creating these directly from their round management system, the council can be sure that the information is accurate and up to date. As a result, missed bin calls have come down by 20% on an average week as more accurate information has helped residents present the correct bins for collection. The council has also seen fewer calls to the contact centre as would be callers check online or through their app. Calls related to collection dates are down 15%.

Proper planning ensures the right resource for the job

Many service issues, and the resulting work, also arise from poorly planned services. We read of one story recently where a persistent missed bin was the result of the contractor using a vehicle that was too big to access the road. To resolve the issue, they needed to match the right resource to the right tasks.

Our optimisation software not only ensures you run a more efficient service, but also ensures that the correct vehicles are allocated to the correct work. And by having optimisation software that is part of the same solution as your operational round management system, you can also ensure that detailed issues and information inform your round design process and give yourself the best chance of keeping service issues like missed bins to a minimum.


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