News : Local Government Association Boosts Customer Focus
Sept 18, 2014 -- The Local Government Association of Queensland is in the process of upgrading its CRM system and rolling out document management software as part of a customer-centric technology refresh.
LGAQ is a peak body for local government in the state and counts as members 77 local councils. Although the current technology refresh is the product of an 18-month process, its origins stretch back even further, said LGAQ's manager for internal business development, Jake Boyle.
Five years ago, local government in Queensland went through a process of amalgamation, reducing the number of councils from 150 down to, at the time, 73. LGAQ took the opportunity to review its organisational structure and how it engaged with councils.
"Traditionally we'd provided products and services and then gone out to members and looked for ways we could apply them," Boyle said.
"We've pretty much turned that on its head and decided to look at what our members needed and then found products and services to meet those needs. It was just a subtle change, but quite revolutionary internally."
Key to the organisation's renewed customer focus is developing an intimate understanding of members' needs in order to deliver products and services in a timely manner, Boyle said.
However, "the tools that we had at that time — our CRM and our document management systems — were outdated and probably a little bit cumbersome and clumsy," Boyle said.
The "bread and butter" of the organisation is policy and advocacy work on behalf of local government, Boyle said, but LGAQ also provides products and services that meet gaps in the market for members.
For example remote and regional councils may struggle to access specialised legal services, HR and IR consulting and training services.
LGAQ can connect councils to these services and also owns a number of service providers that operate at arm's length from the organisation, including group-purchasing organisation Local Buy, IT service provider Resolute IT, and call centre provider Propel.
In addition, the organisation provides access to subject matter experts that can provide historical policy and legislative information.
LGAQ's operations rely on the segmentation of its members. The organisation breaks its membership down into bite-size groups that face common challenges or operate in common environments, in order to identify products and services that can be rolled out to them. For example councils in areas with significant resource industries may struggle with housing shortages.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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