Videos to help with Council benefits

Customers who receive Bradford Council benefits often contact us with questions about notification letters. As well as FAQs (which included both text and images), this year we have also made two videos.

These videos replicate, as far as possible, the experience of a customer service advisor talking through a benefit notification.

I wrote the scripts together with face-to-face staff, who knew the types of queries they got and how best to answer them. While writing the scripts, a colleague showed me an online video bill for her digital TV subscription. This both confirmed that we were onto a good idea, and also amazed me.

The video bill, delivered using Vimeo, isn’t just a generic overview of a bill. It is actually that customer’s own bill, in a video, complete with a breakdown of what they owe.

Our two videos are on the Bradford Council website (with FAQs about Council Tax Reduction letters and FAQs about Housing Benefit letters) and on our YouTube channel.  This means customers can watch them whenever, and wherever is suitable for them. We are also using the videos in our customer service centres, where customers can access them via the self-service PCs. We will soon be playing them on the plasma screens in our reception and waiting areas.

We have also made Slovak and Urdu versions of the videos to address the needs of some of our residents whose first language is not English.

I feel the use of video for customer services in local government is only going to increase, whether that be FAQs like ours, personalised bills or live video chat. Because videos can be more accessible than text for some people, and online video is a preferred channel for the Millennial Generation, it should be at the front of our minds when considering digital customer services.

First published on LocalGov Digital.


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I am a digital communications and marketing officer for Bradford Council and a musician.

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