With council departments everywhere under increasing pressure to evidence accountable and responsible spending of public budgets, ensuring that all processes are efficient in their delivery and output has never been more important.
This partnered with short and long-term goals to achieve, means that the mismanagement of communication is under scrutiny. Councils need to ensure that the communications they send are effective and understood by all resident demographics. This falls under the Consumer Duty Act, whereby government organisations are requested to evidence that the communications in which they send, have the intended impact they set out to achieve. A large part of this process is to ensure that the communications sent are accessible for each intended resident, to maximise response and action.
But what does it really mean for councils to send accessible communications?
Communication accessibility is more than just offering physical and digital documents. It’s about being present on every channel so that audiences have access and choice for each communication they receive. In addition, it means that every format of communication is clear, direct and provides understanding to drive the required response.
For example, a study on how residents like to receive information about council tax showed that: 62% of residents prefer being contacted via letter, 29% prefer email and 7% prefer social media and text messages (Market Reach, 2020).
Demonstrating how no two residents are the same, and how the way in which a piece of communication is received can determine the outcome, depending on the audience and the content you are delivering.
Communication accessibility is therefore all about engaging with the right format, to the right audience to drive the right response, at the right time.
For communications to be completely accessible, however, this goes one step further than just offering channel choice communications. For example, large print or braille can be utilised for postal communications and text recordings can be used for emails and digital documents.
To do this efficiently, councils need to redefine their communication processes to incorporate every type of channel. This will allow them to engage effectively with every resident and this is done best, with a multi-channel communications approach.
This process includes the management of inbound, outbound, and physical and digital channels that are brought together to offer the perfect blended approach to drive results. No longer are communications considered a one-size-fits-all all approach, with resident communication choice and data-led decisions being accountable to help generate the best response.
Communication companies, or communication experts, are supporting councils in this delivery and understand that a multi-channel workflow is more than just being present in multiple places. They help find the right blend of channels, based on your department or council's requirements, your ambitions and your specific resident demographics.
They use intelligent data insight to make informed decisions to engage with audiences, helping you minimise the communications you send whilst getting the response you require. In turn, this keeps costs down and helps councils streamline their communications into one secure provider. In addition, the data-led decision making supports clear and transparent communications, by providing residents understanding in a channel they relate and/or engage with.
By adopting this workflow process to change the way you interact with your customers, and improving their customer experience, you will realise a change in your results and be able to evidence responsible communication expenditure.
Organisations like CFH are supporting councils across the UK in the delivery of multi-channel workflows to their residents to drive response and engage in an effective, secure way whilst keeping costs down. Why not find out more about CFH and how they are providing accessible communications at: www.cfh.com/IRRVPartner
First published in the IRRV Insight Magazine.