Wonder Woman to the rescue!

So we’re nearing the end of one of our channel shift exercises. The top five requests dealt with by the customer call centre are being reviewed to look for areas in the processes that can be streamlined, where we can cut out any double-handling and identifying where customers are ready for making the jump from face-to-face to phone or phone to online. This time we were looking at our special and garden uplifts.

It’s been a fascinating journey and I’ve enjoyed learning about all the behind-the-scenes things that go on to make this work and learning about the process from the minute the request comes in to the minute it’s signed off by the cleansing guys.

We’ve compared notes with other councils, looked at new technology, analysed stats, looked at volumetrics, the reasons for no value calls, customer satisfaction and even compared what people put on their list of things to be uplifted compared to what faced the guys when they turned up to collect it. Apparently people often under-estimate (lie about) how much they’re putting out, sometimes the neighbours add to it after dark and often white goods mysteriously disappear into vans in the dead of the night!

We’ve come up with a list of recommendations which are in draft at the moment. Some people may wonder why a comms person is attending these workshops and aside from a) working on one of those channels i.e. the council website and b) being nosey, I reckon we should have a place at the table otherwise how are people going to know we expect them to make the change or even that there is more than the option they’ve used all along. I’ve suggested that we do campaign for each project to persuade people to make the shift in channel using behavioural insight along with the demographics and data from the esd toolkit. This will work much better than an over-arching channel shift campaign because the audience for reporting a pothole is probably different to requesting an uplift  which is different again to claiming council tax benefit.

On other news one of our Management Development cohorts has been tasked with looking at how the council is using social media, best practice in other organisations and making a road map for our next steps. It’s been great watching them on a very steep learning curve going from almost zero awareness to having a very deep understanding of, both where we’re at and where we could be going. Their report is almost done and they’ve to present to our CMT at the end of February. They are sending out an internal survey to gauge how staff are using social media personally and to see how they’d like the council to be using it. I think they were interested in the ideas staff will come up with but I pointed out that it will also be useful to identify existing social media skills that we could be tapping into. One of their suggestions is to have social media champions in each department which I think is a great idea but I have requested that if we get them that I get promoted to Social Media Superhero – I’ve always fancied a Wonder Woman costume 😉

Just thought I’d share this with you, although not literally. My brother and sister-in-law are up for a visit from Milton Keynes and look what they brought me for Christmas (the little one is normal sized, the big one is a mutant). Nom!


Today I have learned:

  • I’m inherently nosey
  • my love for social media is infectious
  • I still want a Wonder Woman costume

Today’s recipe

PerfectEveryTime Rice



  • this works with long grain, easy cook, basmati, jasmine and Hong Kong sticky rice. I’m still trying the timing with brown rice and when I’ve worked it our I’ll let you know
  • you can add any of the following in any combination – cinnamon sticks, mustard seeds, whole star anise, lime leaves
  • boiling water

Method: Put the rice in a pan which has a tight-fitting lid. Add your extras but you have to promise me you’ll try lime leaves – I got a big bag from the See Woo in Glasgow and the smell when cooking is heavenly and it tastes fab. I’ll never have plain boiled rice again! When I’m making rice for 2, I add four leaves.

Cover with boiling water to 1 cm above the rice. Put on the lid and heat till boiling. Turn down to a simmer for 8 minutes.

Once the timer has buzzed switch off the heat but leave the lid on for 10 minutes.

It’ll be ready to fluff up and mine has been perfect every time I’ve used this method.

My rude bag of lime leaves!

My rude bag of lime leaves!


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