Harborough District Council have adopted Text Messaging in order to communicate more effectively with residents, businesses and council employees.
Improving services for rural communities with SMS
Harborough District Council serves a 230 square mile area of South Leicestershire, incorporating the market towns of Market Harborough and Lutterworth.
Because of its rural location, the distance to the Council Offices makes visiting difficult and time consuming for a good percentage of residents, so alternative ways of communication are always being sought and improved.
SMS Email Integration
With a large percentage of its constituents living quite a distance from the its offices, the Council were looking for a quick and easy way for residents to report problems (noise, fly-tipping, etc) and to ask questions.
SMS-based communication was the obvious choice and ProcessFlows were commissioned to supply one of their bi-directional Text Messaging Solutions, which was funded by a Government grant.
Peter Rowbotham, Customer services manager at Harborough Council said "The challenge was about making it easier for people to contact the council. Not everyone has the time to visit the council offices in person and can find texting questions and service requests easier and faster."
With the system installed and integrated, incoming SMS messages are now automatically converted and then delivered to the Council's contact centre in the form of an email, which can be replied to in the email client and then delivered back to the sender as an SMS.
Maximising the investment
Peter Rowbotham said: "The Council acknowledges that SMS is a complementary and convenient channel for our customers to contact us, but SMS is not just about simple service requests. We see the potential for SMS in notifying our customers of service changes, carrying out consultation etc. and we will be working to develop the processing of car parking payments using this technology."
He goes on to say, "We will also be using the system for distributing important information to our own staff – such as severe weather warnings."
ProcessFlows' SMS communications technology, provides a true messaging platform. It integrates seamlessly with email, CRM and back-end software and services, to provide fast and cost-effective communications. It is just a matter of time before every business network is SMS enabled. Organisations that have embraced this technology are already reaping the benefits of enhanced information.
"With the E Government agenda we are confident that the use of SMS will continue to grow in the public sector." Peter Rowbotham, Customer Services Manager at Harborough Council