Ratepayers still reach for phones

A TOTAL of $60,000 was spent by the Southern Downs Regional Council to improve its customer request system - but phone still remains the most popular method of contact for ratepayers.

A Southern Downs Council spokeswoman said the improvements to the system were a priority.

"The total budget was used to purchase the Merit solutions package, its integration into both the Tech One system and Mapping system, training for staff and the apps to complete the full suite of the customer request system," she said.

"These systems represent a significant change in the response times for council but also a brilliant mechanism in capturing data for the council."

To track the difference the upgrades have made, the council will receive monthly reports detailing how many requests the council receives, how they receive them and how they are dealt with.

The August report found of the 4431 requests received, 3284 came via phone.

Only 189 people walked in to lodge a request, 35 used the internet and only two used the newly launched app.

And with rates notices only recently distributed, it is no surprise that rates, land and property was the topic a majority of ratepayers lodged requests about. It was a big jump to the second biggest issue of water supply, and animal issues came in at a close third.

Councillors were impressed with the report, which was presented to them during last Wednesday's general meeting. However Vic Pennisi said it would be nice to see statistics on how many requests had been resolved.

The council spokeswoman said the report was still being finetuned and in due course would be published on a quarterly basis through the council.

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