North Norfolk council goes digital with the introduction of web chat option for customers

Generic image of a person typing on a laptop with a mouse Picture: James Bass

Generic image of a person typing on a laptop with a mouse Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Traipsing to council officers or hanging on the telephone can be a frustrating process for people who find themselves in need of speaking to council staff.

However, in North Norfolk, a new way of communicating with the council's customer services team has been introduced, meaning this can be done without unnecessary trips or holding music.

North Norfolk District Council has recently introduced web chats to the council website, meaning any queries can be made in real time, via text.

The service, which was recently introduced, does not involve a webcam, but instead links people up with council staff via in instant messenger service, similar to text messages, for real time advice.

A spokesman for North Norfolk District Council said: 'The introduction of 'webchat' to improve our customer service is available via our website and offers members of the public the flexibility to communicate in real time with the council's customer service team using a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone at their convenient.'

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However, the service is designed as a supplementary one to the council's other means of communication and will not result in any other means being lost.

The spokesman added: 'The webchats work alongside calls and face-to-face-meetings. It is anticipated that as the volume of webchat increases, the volume of other contact channels will decrease, but we will not be removing telephone or face-to-face contact.'

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People living in the area will be able to raise any issue they have with the council through the new service, which was brought in earlier in the year, with staff then able to advise them on how best to proceed.

The introduction was part of an ongoing digital transformation programme for the council, which has also seen council mobile phones refreshed and upgraded and 40 extra laptops funded.

The webchat service is available to people living in the area in line with the council office opening times.

These times are Monday to Friday, as follows:

Monday: 8.30am to 5pm

Tuesday: 8.30am to 5pm

Wednesday: 10am to 5pm

Thursday: 8.30am to 5pm

Friday: 8,30am to 4.30pm

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