Based in Hampshire, the local authority covers around 80 square kilometres with a population of 125,000 and 53,000 households.
The council’s IT team has around 16 staff including the head and they set out improve and enhance its digital channel for accessing services in this densely populated area.
Around two years ago, Eastleigh realised it needed an interactive digital channel to better serve its citizens and initially considered launching a mobile application alongside a customer portal on its website.
Unfortunately, providing such a solution proved costly and with the larger take up of 3G and availability of free Wi-Fi, the council realised a one device diagnostic solution made more sense.
The local authority required the portal to act as single place to carry out transactions with the council, enabling users to apply for services, make bookings and payments and the track the progress of requests and sign up for services.
For David Berrow, Senior Business Analyst at Eastleigh Borough Council, customer experience was an essential part of the portal and for this reason, required Single Sign On (SSO) as an essential feature.
“Mostly we do not ask residents to log in to carry out transactions with us, but when they are required to, I stipulated that I wanted SSO, so that you can sign in and can get to everything, making it as simple as possible.”
Alongside developing its self-service portal, known as ‘My Eastleigh,’ Eastleigh was seeking a solution that would allow it to streamline room bookings for staff and provide an online booking facility for residents.
As well as forming part of the self-service portal, Outreach has been able to help the local authority update and extend the functionality offered by its previous out-of-date forms system.
“My Eastleigh is a building block and everything we add will sit on that so it was important to get the foundations right,” added Berrow.
The first part of Eastleigh’s project with Toplevel to go live was an online booking facility for its Park Sport event of free summer activities for children.
This service received phenomenal demand, with 3000 bookings in the first 11 hours and an instant 90% online take-up, more than in line with the council’s channel shift strategy.
Such success also revealed that Outreach was a valuable, robust and stable solution that could support the demand that online booking has generated.
Berrow also explained that since implementing facilities to book online, the huge pressure that was placed upon the authority’s call centre previous has been removed and staff now have more time to focus efforts elsewhere.
“The option to book by phone remains but in previous years parents have asked for online booking so we’re pleased to be able to offer that.”
“The fact so many have chosen to book online demonstrates the importance of offering services online. Plus it smooths out those peaks of demand, freeing up our contact centre staff to respond to other things,” he added.