By Evlynn Hayes

From Excel Spreadsheets to a Cloud-Based CRM: How the Office for Ageing Well Improved Digital Government Service

a happy government employee happy with the outcome of her meeting with the managed services team in Simplus

In a two-part series, we’re sharing insights from our customer Office for Ageing Well and two of Simplus’ public sector experts, to help demonstrate what a successful digital transformation looks like and how your government body can do the same.

We’ve all heard the line, “Can I please speak to the manager,” and it usually means one thing: a complaint is imminent. However, for one state government agency that is no longer the case thanks to the power of cloud-based CRM.

The Office for Ageing Well supports older South Australian residents to do exactly that – age well. With a customer base ranging from 60 to 110 years old, the Office for Ageing Well realised they needed to keep up with the technical savviness of the boomer generation and offer digital solutions to help them feel connected to their communities.

“The next generation of seniors are really changing the rules. I realised if we didn’t keep up and keep evolving, we were going to get left behind,” explains Manager, Seniors Card & Business Services, Evlynn Hayes.

It was in 2009 that Evlynn was done with spreadsheets; Australia’s ageing population meant Evlynn’s customer base was only going to grow and she needed a database to support it.

“As luck would have it, our IT department at the time had just acquired their first Salesforce licenses and suggested that Salesforce would be the perfect solution for our needs,” says Evlynn. “We implemented Sales Cloud to manage our leads, opportunities, quotes, accounts and contacts.”

But that was just the beginning of Evlynn’s Salesforce story. In part one of this public sector series, Evlynn shares why she reached out to Simplus to help her build and deliver exceptional digital government services.

We’re a unique government agency

As an office within the Department for Health and Wellbeing, we operate in a really unique position, generating revenue through advertising to support our programs like the Seniors Card. The purpose of the Seniors Card program is to deliver discounts and offers to enable older South Australian residents to live their best lives and we work with around 700 businesses to deliver this. In turn, we promote the services of these businesses to a quarter of SA’s population in a really targeted way.

CRMs work best when synchronised to your marketing platform

When we launched our fortnightly WeekendPlus digital magazine and eDM in 2013, our email marketing platform wasn’t synchronised to our existing Salesforce Sales Cloud CRM, which resulted in double handling of data and sending emails to unsubscribed customers. As time went on, it became evident that we needed the right tools to achieve success. We were a small team with big dreams!

The key is to find an implementation partner to help you achieve your dreams

It wasn’t until 2018 that we engaged Simplus through a procurement process to consolidate our existing email marketing platform data into Sales Cloud and integrate Marketing Cloud Connector. Of all the suppliers we spoke to, Simplus were the ones that left me feeling confident in their ability to undertake the project. There was a clear dedication to truly understand what we do and work in partnership to ensure our success and that has really stuck with me.

With Simplus and Salesforce, we flipped government customer experience on its head

I recognised early this was a great opportunity to deliver a high-quality digital government service for our members and business customers, as well as setting the Office up for long-term financial success. And Simplus were on that journey with us, offering suggestions and recommendations that were relevant to our unique business model.

What we needed was a digital solution to stop sending marketing emails to unsubscribed members, to improve database intelligence, and we needed the ability to segment the data and run effective marketing campaigns for our business customers. When Simplus implemented the Marketing Cloud Connector, Sales Cloud became our source of truth for member subscription data and eliminated the need to separate member subscription data on multiple platforms.

With about 25,000 older South Australians applying for a Seniors Card every year, 85% of them are now applying online. And thanks to the power of the Salesforce platform, the online application process is incredibly simple. Members can self-manage their subscription references and we’ve had zero complaints about the processes.

And for our business customers, their experience has also been transformed. Now that we’re able to gather more customer data insights we can provide them with more effective marketing campaigns – resulting in 40% open rates and 35% click-through rates!

Customers were calling us to thank us, not berate us

And that is when I knew our digital transformation was something special. When a 76-year-old woman calls you up to thank you for making the Seniors Card application process and membership management so simple, you can’t help but be moved.

To make a tangible difference in older Australians’ lives is why we went ahead and did what we did. Success in my eyes was always going to look like a functional digital solution that provided our members with positive customer experiences.

But great systems still need buy-in from the people using them

It’s important to have buy-in from executives, but if you don’t have buy-in from your own team, then there’s no point having these great systems in place. A digital transformation is just as much a culture piece as it is a technology piece.

I really believe in empowering staff to take ownership of the system. I lead a team meeting once a month where we openly discuss how the database is working and if anyone has suggestions or enhancements. I also like to share feedback; we have a whiteboard where we write positive feedback or even funny pieces, like “My dog ate my Seniors Card” (yes, that really happened).

And while positive feedback is nice, sharing those revenue wins is just as important. When the marketing team secures a really good deal, it’s important to share that with the admin team so they can tangibly see how their contribution is making a difference.

My team’s embracement of the Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud Connector has all contributed to the success of our digital transformation.

We set a benchmark for government customer experience

When legislation passed last year to implement an elder abuse prevention phone line I knew keeping the customer at the centre of the service was going to be vital due to the complex and sensitive nature of the topic. A system needed to be created from scratch – one that could manage vulnerable customers, their families, friends and carers, service providers and other government agencies.

Because of the previous success with Simplus, I engaged them to implement Salesforce Service Cloud. It was a brand new service, all new staff, all new processes, all new legislation, and Simplus really became part of the team. They dug deep to understand our requirements, which at the time we didn’t even know what they were.

It was because of this ability to quickly grasp our needs, that Simplus was able to develop a system to house cases, contacts and accounts in Service Cloud within three months – which was quite a short timeframe.

The system went live in October and is operating really smoothly. The team have taken about 35 phone calls, and instigated assessment and investigations of elder abuse in some cases. There will be tweaks as we go, but because we have a managed services agreement with Simplus, making these changes is exactly that – simple.

Simplus is vigilant when it comes to understanding their customer

Their holistic approach to our business is what sets Simplus apart from other vendors I’ve worked with over the years. Their attention to detail provided me with confidence and trust and it really felt like they were part of the team. I hadn’t experienced that previously, many vendors will only focus on the particulars of the business related to the project at hand.

My best piece of advice?

Plan your digital transformation and get it right from the start. You see it quite often, particularly in government digital projects, where there hasn’t been enough planning and the project isn’t received well, or things change really quickly and you have to scrap what you’ve done and change direction.

If you’re not willing to take the time to understand your customers and plan then you’re not ready to undertake a digital transformation. When you’re dealing with a massive group of customers, you need to reevaluate who they are before deciding what the best customer experience looks like. Consult and engage with those customers and ask them what they want. I think that research is the key to a successful transformation.

Learn more

If you want to learn how Simplus can help you transform your digital government services, contact a Simplus team member today.

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