How a Dad Can Use DAD to Create Efficiency in Local Government
What do these three guys all have in common? They are Dads. But that’s not what the DAD principle is about.
Many of us have worked in environments that have had processes laid down…..often with concrete resolve which makes change (even for the better) impossible.
“Hands down, that is the best way to do it!”
“This is how everyone expects it to be done’
“Hmmmm, it may be clunky but you’ll get used to it.”
How do you know this is the best way?
“That’s easy, that’s how we’ve always done it.”
Sound familiar? This is the way in so many of the organisations that we have been speaking to of late. While business can often move fast, some organisations that have levels of bureaucracy need a little help to interrogate an area that has been operating with a set of procedures for a really long time.
I know most managers will already know about the DAD principle for creating efficiency, and would be applying these actions almost daily. However, the three Dads in the above photo are getting pretty good at assisting local government to ask some questions about processes that have always been done a particular way using the DAD principle.
What is DAD?
Our specialty for local government is in community engagement and impacting local area economies through the use of venue hire.
Local governments have some of the most beautiful, historical and in some instances, best located venues for community events in a suburb (More about Community Spaces here). Unfortunately, all too often people interested don’t hire these amazing facilities because the process is just too onerous.
Why is the process so difficult? Because when it comes to community facilities, LGs have a responsibility to:
- ensure that they are available to all on a fair-for-all basis.
- look after the facilities to make sure that they are safely used
- bring in the necessary stakeholders at council to file the appropriate paperwork
But what is the real cost?
- Frustration for locals
- Expensive and repetitive data entry
- Too many people answering telephones
- Underutilised facilities
So what are those three Dads able to do to assist in this process. Let’s break it down:
There are a number of steps in the current venue hire process that are simply out-dated or no longer applicable.
- The forms can be generic.
- Multiple people are required to ensure that each booking can occur.
- There are multiple steps that could be simplified
- Phone calls shouldn’t always be required
- The number of communications…...How many back and forths communications need to occur to transmit the critical information that gets someone to pull out their credit card and book
Technology is incredibly powerful these days. At SpacetoCo we have worked tirelessly for two years to work out the best way to eliminate as many of these barriers to book as possible. With a streamlined interface, most of the details that encourage all of the back and forth become redundant.
Another area that can fall into the “we’ve always done it that way” box is the repetitive entry of data into multiple systems. As well as extensive reporting capabilities, there is no need for customer service agents to be tapping on a keyboard in multiple places.
An example of a wasteful use of time is the management of refunds or bonds by many local councils. This involves multiple departments, credit notes and a whole bunch of wasted time. In some cases we have heard that paper cheques are still in play! Can you imagine getting a cheque in the mail these days? There is a whole generation of young people who wouldn’t know what to do with it!
Big Disclaimer: We can’t eliminate the need for people. For instance, you can’t schedule Zumba next to a Wake. The results would be disastrous! But there are a tonne of activities that we can leave to the technical robots behind the SpacetoCo dashboard interface. They do it automatically, without error and at the speed of the internet.
But team members could be doing more with their time and skills if it’s not taken up with data entry (read more about how an online booking system can help). Space activation, community engagement, meeting customers on-site to welcome them (or check the venue after a booking) as well as playing a larger role in different areas of council.
Who should we delegate the task of extracting the critical information for a booking? Who better than to delegate the task of booking a venue than to the person who will use it! That's right - the customer!
No one knows what they want like the customer. They know the event they are holding, the number of people, the times that they want to hold the event, the facilities they need, and whether they do have any specific requirements. If they don’t, why make it convoluted? Also they know how to spell their name correctly - one of the most common issues with taking personal data over the phone...
Why do we continually ask the team at the bookings office to extract this information, particularly if this is when an error of interpretation can occur.
We recommend that you delegate this task to the customer with one suggestion: Make the process easy.
Like, so easy, that they can do it on their mobile phone in the way they might order an Uber or book a flight. If it isn’t that streamlined, you are simply dumping your work onto them. But if you make the process simple and intuitive and allow customers to see key information ahead of time, there is no need to go back and forth endlessly in email. Winning.
Essentially, if the process is simple and invisible, the customer feels empowered to take their booking prospects into their own hands. They want to be able to see their invoice and bookings in a dashboard. They want to be able to look at the availability themselves and determine the right time that fits their needs.
They shouldn’t have to pick up the phone to call anyone because the information that they need is right there. Not to mention that when they do pick up the phone, they are costing the local taxpayer between $3 to $7 each time to have someone answer a question about whether the hall is available starting at 1PM.
Many of the existing flows and processes are deeply rooted in the past when technology couldn’t solve these problems. However, now there are answers to all of these areas of simplification, and at SpacetoCo, we can assist you and your team to find the best flow for your local community!
The best part is that we aren’t an expensive consulting firm to tell you all of this stuff. We just know best practice because we have asked local councils what they need and built the software that suits the customer. Play with the software, and you get our team at no extra charge.
So the next time you are looking at a process, ask yourself: Are we doing this because we have always done it this way? If the answer is ‘yes’, then apply the DAD principle.
If you would like to learn more about how SpacetoCo can stimulate local area economies while creating efficiencies at your local community centres, reach out to Daniel at email@example.com.