Firmstep – the way forward

It’s been 6 months since the launch of our customer platform, Firmstep. We’ve been working hard to build new forms and processes both internally and externally. But have we achieved what we set out to do? How do we go forward?

We had the pleasure of spending some time with Hilary Jones, Customer Ambassador for Firmstep, previously Deputy Chief Executive at Scarborough Borough Council, leading on the successful implementation of Firmstep into many parts of their organisation.

Building the right team

At the start of the project, they made a ‘virtual team’, people with a passion to improve, innovate and with the skills to provide an excellent customer experience. The team would consist of colleagues in ICT, Comms, Customer Services, a service area representative (to provide an independent eye), a web developer and the Firmstep process builder. Even after the implementation project has finished, they discovered this team is key to taking the system further, realising its potential and helping the organisation benefit from the savings it could provide.

Benefits

Scarborough, although a smaller organisation, tackled similar issues that we have. With multiple systems for similar tasks, they saw easy benefits from using Firmstep to replace these systems. Not only from reducing spend on annual fees, Firmstep allowed their processes to be more visible and giving more customisation in how a process is built. Rather than the very static layout of a prebuilt system, they could rebuild the system as they want it, looking at what was and wasn’t working and improve it.

Looking forward

Hilary’s key role currently is to look at how Firmstep can support their customers, to provide a central resource for best practice, examples and detailed guides. With this resource, councils can build more sophisticated processes and with the shared knowledge, learning from others what worked best in similar situations.

It was fascinating to hear how another council had tackled the project, both in the run up to go live but also going forward and the challenges they faced. We’ve still got a lot more to do and we haven’t quite yet achieved our goals, but this has given us plenty of food for thought and extra motivation to take things forward to keep improving digital services for our users.

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