Empowering staff to deliver a better customer experience

News story
In empowering frontline staff, the Department of Transport’s cultural transformation has driven operational improvements and a better customer experience
Department of Transport customer centre staff on headset answering a call

WA citizens who contact the Department of Transport’s (DoT) customer contact centre are benefitting from the Department’s efforts to drive cultural transformations that have removed unnecessary processes, and empowered frontline staff to deliver a better customer experience.

DoT’s customer contact centre receives thousands of calls per day which can range from simple queries requiring routine responses, to questions related to complex processes such as dealing with transferring licences from non-recognised countries.

“Over the last three years we’ve been looking to transform our 40 year-old operating model so that it looks at the experience behind the customer journey, not just the IT-based solution enabling it,” said Joan Brierley, Acting Director Customer Service Delivery, Driver and Vehicle Services.

“People call us because they’re frustrated they can’t find the answer, or they’ve tried to do something themselves and there’s been a failure in that self-service point. We want to better enable people to self-service so that we can focus on the things that add real value.”

The first step in this journey was acknowledging the in-house processes that had prevented frontline staff from leading operational improvements or making decisions.

“There was a preceding culture of ‘I can’t make decisions’, and ‘I just read from the information that’s on the screen’. We had a high turnover in the contact centre space because people didn’t feel their work was worthwhile,” said Joan.

DoT made a point of working on its workplace culture in order to drive better customer experiences. By collaborating with frontline staff, and empowering them to make decisions within their daily interactions, DoT has been able to deliver more innovative and truly transformational changes.

“We’ve recently introduced what we call Fresh Think Tank and we encourage staff to come up with great ideas to keep improving our business each quarter. Every quarter I’ll get about 60 or 70 fresh ideas. It shows how invested our teams are in the organisation and how confident they are in sharing innovative ideas to make their work more rewarding and our customers’ lives better,” said Joan.

“Your customers will be the first ones to tell you what’s not working with your website or your processes. You just need to create a culture that empowers your colleagues to share this information and engage them enough to want to develop innovative solutions.”

An example of this was the creation of a portal to allow mooring and boat license payments to be processed in the same way road vehicles licences are. This type of innovation has led to increased traffic on DoT Direct, the Department’s self-service portal.

“Four years ago we were getting three to four thousand sign-ups a month, and now we’re up to 15,000 a month. That’s because of the value that our staff see in using DoT Direct. They’ve become champions of our organisations and of our transformation initiatives because they can see that value.”

DoTs efforts align with the public sector reform’s focus on creating a more efficient, collaborative and high performing public sector. By breaking down silos, both internally and across the sector, staff and agencies can work more effectively together to deliver better services to the community.

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Page reviewed 3 February 2020
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