The business case for public sector channel-shift

For the last decade, public sector organisations have been increasingly realising the benefits of a successful channel shift programme, driving down cost-to-serve (CTS) and providing residents with the latest digital services. “Digital by Default” is now established as best practice, encouraging more organisations to explore the benefits of digital services and especially social customer service.

With leading organisations unveiling ever-more sophisticated social customer service channels, and customers choosing to take to social media to ask a question or vent a frustration, it’s predicted that channel-shifting will continue to grow year on year. The rising demand for social customer service is putting pressure on public sector organisations, they are realising that it is a vital component when building a future-proofed customer service offering, but need to demonstrate a clear ROI to justify the costs of investing in the latest social media management technology.

Police Forces, Local Councils, Schools and more are needing to highlight the benefits of investing time and resources into their social channels. In order to showcase their social media success it’s essential that they measure these three important ROI metrics.


Customer service can be confusing with residents choosing to communicate through a variety of methods – drop in visits, telephone calls, emails, social media and the list goes on. But with a little work organisations can encourage their residents to follow and use social media by providing a steady stream of relevant, informative or entertaining content. With social customer service now established as a main communication channel for the public, organisations can benefit from this by directing queries to digital, reducing the CTS for their organisation and making their internal processes smoother, quicker and cheaper to maintain.

Social media is considerably simpler and faster than more traditional customer service methods when done correctly. The ability to resolve issues whilst retaining detailed audit trails can remove any concern around security whilst boosting efficiency. By decentralising control of your social media channels, public sector organisations can enable their teams to redirect enquiries directly to the departments that can resolve the issue the fastest and most effectively. Essentially cutting out the middleman and providing detailed, accurate responses more quickly. Social media also allows organisations to maintain the human, personal approach that people love.
Benefits of a public sector channel shift

Cost reduction

Channel-shifting is fast becoming recognised as a necessary alteration to public sector procedures – to cut expenditures, meet resident’s changing demands and to future-proof their services. By offering social customer service, public sector organisations can provide residents with a method of communication that is simpler and cheaper for both parties, whilst retaining a human touch. Shifting their residents to social media can significantly reduce CTS, costing approximately £0.08p per online transaction, when compared with traditional methods such as face-to-face meetings which costs on average £14. This opportunity to reduce customer service costs so dramatically is offering organisations a way to embrace new challenges, as well as offering a better service at a lower cost.

The business case for public sector channel-shift

Continuous improvement of business impact, not fluffy metrics

Traditionally social media has been seen as an outlet that proves to be challenging to show a clear ROI. Often organisations have been monitoring fluffy metrics like engagement, reach and follower growth, without investigating the big changes that their businesses may be experiencing due to their social media channels – such as increased socially driven website traffic and sales. However with recent advances in technology it is being made simple to prove actual business impact, social media management platforms enable organisations to track and accurately report key business impact stats such as cost savings and resident satisfaction rates. The processes to prove social media’s worth in public sector organisations is becoming easier and it is enabling more public sector organisations to embrace social media whilst showing key drivers. pexels-photo-106344

When looking to drive your organisation into the digital age, social media is a key tool to ensuring that your residents see you as easily accessible and approachable. With the right tools you can turn your social channels into the first port of call and encourage your residents to use the most cost and time efficient customer service option.

We have clients in a variety of public sector organisations – from Staffordshire Police to Islington London Borough Council, who have seen fantastic results from channel shifting their customer service. 


About the Writer:

Rhiannon Birch Rhiannon Birch is PR & Marketing Coordinator at SocialSignIn. She is passionate about all aspects of writing and enjoys discussing the real-life stories behind social media. With two young children and three dogs, Rhiannon spends her (very little) spare time exploring new places and watching Star Wars.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow her on Twitter @RhiSkywalker