Customer Insight Research at Thurrock Council


‘Channel shift’ happens when residents choose (or are requested) to use a different method of communication to contact and do business with their Council or service providers. It is believed to contribute to a more effective and efficient customer services and bring financial advantages over costlier face to face and telephone -based customer services.

Thurrock Council wants to examine the business case for pursuing a programme of channel shift.  The Council are also keen to ensure any changes to customer services are informed by the views of local residents including those who may be disempowered or excluded by channel shift. OPM’s role was to undertake customer insight research to improve understanding of Thurrock residents’ willingness and ability to contact and interact with the Council differently.

What we did

Over six weeks OPM:

  • Undertook a 500 person telephone survey (broadly representative of the Thurrock population);
  • Facilitated five focus groups (Grays, South Ockendon, Purfleet, West Tilbury, East Thurrock);
  • Used Mosaic data to segment Thurrock’s total population and understand each segments geo-demographic profile and their more likely behaviours. We then brought these segments to life using the deep customer insights we gained by talking to Thurrock’s customers during the survey and focus groups; and
  • Conducted face to face and telephone interviews with key personnel from across the Council and delivered an internal workshop to report headline findings.


Although we recognise Thurrock have many different types of customer, our research found that Thurrock residents could be broadly clustered and characterised by five personas – which we created and clearly illustrated different segments willingness and ability to interact with the council. This research helped to secure a significant amount of money (c£1.6million) to take forward the next stages of the Thurruck’s channel shift programme.