City council explores use of unique property reference number in bringing together CRM and profiling data
Salford City Council is testing the unique property reference number (UPRN) in linking data from its customer relationship management system and profiling database.
It is part of an effort to target its services more effectively and nudge residents towards making more use of its online channels – part of its broad campaign to meet savings targets.
John Gibbons, the council’s authority address custodian, told UKAuthority it is currently running a project to explore the possibilities in using the UPRN – the unique identifier for every addressable location – to bring together the CRM and profiling data.
While it is still assessing to which services the method could be applied, Gibbons said that if a customer can be linked to a UPRN it should make it possible to follow up a service request more quickly, and it could provide the key for more automation.
He said the work was prompted by an exercise the council ran last year with PricewaterhouseCoopers on meeting its savings target. The consultancy said it could make more use of its data and introduced the concept of intelligent information provision programme, of which the data linking is a prime element.
“The idea was that if we linked the profiling data with the UPRN we could make deductions about how people are using our services and drive them away from inefficient channels towards others, notably electronic channels,” he said.
The CRM provides information on where people contacting the council live, the type of calls and when they make them, while the profiling database categorises residents through 60 profile types. The UPRN link makes it possible to identify which geographical areas different types of enquiries and service requests are coming from. In turn, this can show where specific services need improving and to support residents in finding services.
“Because the CRM is personalised we can target individuals,” Gibbbons said. “For instance, if someone is calling about a council bin collection we can guide them towards using the electronic form as a more efficient channel.”
He added: “The system is designed around residents’ skills and needs with increased customer satisfaction a driving force to the changes. It means that information can be delivered much quicker to self-sufficient customers who are able to access council services at a time that suits them.
“It’s quicker, easier and better - our delivery aim - for residents to get services through the website.”
UPRNs are produced by local authorities and managed by GeoPlace, a joint venture between the Local Government Association and Ordnance Survey, with the aim of removing errors in the exchange of data.
Image: Salford Town Hall by Jhamez84, public domain through Wikimedia