A clear path to a streamlined solution is what Midland is trying to achieve for its customers.
Angela Grenier, CXO (customer experience office) manager, provided an update to Midland council during a recent committee of the whole meeting, to share goals, collaborations and progress since the department’s inauguration earlier this year.
“CXO is now the face of customer service for the organization at the front counter,” announced Grenier. “We’re now providing ‘one-window’ or ‘one-stop-shopping’ customer service for the town. Customer service staff are attempting to resolve issues on the first point of contact rather than transferring customers to other departments if possible.”
Providing townsfolk with satisfactory resolutions has been a point of pride for CAO David Denault, who praised Grenier and the entire Midland organization in embracing the unfamiliar program launched in March of 2021.
“I sense it’s starting to settle in and people actually do understand how this is a significant change to how we were delivering services to our customers,” said Denault. “That is no criticism to how it was being done before, because it was being done by heroes doing it off the edge of their desk.”
The comment evoked nods of approval from many council members, including Mayor Stewart Strathearn.
“And it is extremely cost-effective to do it this way,” Denault continued, “because you allow those people who were doing it off the edge of their desk to actually focus on their jobs -- whether that’s planning, finance, building, whatever it was; where we have tremendous amount of volume coming in -- so they can actually get to the work.”
Through the restructured customer service model, inbound E-service requests, general email inquiries and many calls are channeled to CXO staff, which reduces cross-departmental confusion and incomplete requests.
Coun. Cher Cunningham appreciated the data transparency through the E-service dashboard, but was curious about the non-digital tracking of customer interactions.
“I was surprised to see how many different channels of concern we are handling, and wondered if all of those are landing in our E-service platform so that we’re capturing the type of concern, the location of the concern, but also the ability to not let things fall through the crack that software lets us do.”
“We do track anything that does need to be followed up and that we don’t want to fall through the cracks,” responded Grenier. “But anything that we are able to resolve immediately, like a general inquiry, we don’t necessarily add that to the E-service software; it’s really items that need to be followed up and tracked at a later date.”
This summer, both Strathearn and Cunningham dealt directly with a Midland Point resident whose concerns over boat mooring at Gawley Park Beach had fallen through the cracks.
Statistics provided since the department’s launch cited an average of 277 daily customer interactions, or 34 per hour. Voice and telephone interactions reached 134 in total, digital interactions tallied 38, while in-person interactions amounted to 105; 75 of those happening at town hall and the other 30 at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre (NSSRC).
“Every two minutes there’s a transaction happening here,” Denault explained. “If you can unload that volume to a digital channel and allow your people to serve those people who need it in-person, then you’ve got a winning formula to serve them appropriately.
“That’s what we’re trying to balance here: give a digital alternative for those who can do it and embrace it, but use the in-person experience -- which will always be the one that’s most valued -- use that experience for the people who truly need it, and deliver an experience that they’ll certainly value.”
Mayor Strathearn offered congratulations to the CXO staff, remarking that for “growly” people that enter the town office, he noticed “there’s not a little cloud hanging over their heads” when they leave.
Information on the full CXO presentation can be found on the town of Midland website agenda page.
Council meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, and can be viewed on Rogers TV cable channel 53, or through the livestream on the Rogers TV website. Archives of council meetings are available through Rogers TV and on the Town of Midland’s YouTube channel.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca