Asker municipality outside Oslo, Norway, has used Site Search from Haive (previously IntelliSearch) on their website since 2011. They see positive effects on the number of incoming inquiries to the municipality’s contact points. The main communication channel towards their inhabitants is the website.
Asker municipality has more than 60000 inhabitants with varying communication needs related to the services they offer. Most inhabitants use one or more services daily, such as water and sewage, schools or daycare, health services and renovation. Quick and easy communication is key.
The website is the most important communication channel
«The website is our main arena for communication with our inhabitants and is actively used together with social media and print publications», Geir-Arne Lindsholm explains. He is Asker municipality’s webmaster.
The website has around 1.2 million unique visitors and 4 million page views annually. 3-4000 users stop by the website every day. To make it easier to navigate, Asker municipality has used Haive’s Site Search since 2011.
“There are many advantages in having a solid and customized site search. In addition to the pre-configured functionality in the solution, we continuously work to improve search results through a user-friendly interface,” Lindsholm says.
Out of the box functionality, ready for fine-tuning
Haive’s Site Search comes with a strong search technology to ensure relevant search results from the get-go. Furthermore, it is easy to improve and fine-tune the relevance by weighting different sections, paragraphs and adjusting the sources that are indexed. It is also possible to add specific synonyms, or use the “promoted hits” functionality, enabling the web editor to decide the first hits.
“We work a lot with synonyms and fine-tuning the words and hits that are particularly important. Users will say that all roads lead to Rome, and use different words and search phrases to get there. That is why synonyms is one of our focus areas”, says Øyvind Moen, web editor in Asker municipality.
“We use trigger words, i.e. words we know many use when searching the website, so that we can ensure relevant search results”, he explains.
As a result, they are building their own search library into the solution, ensuring that the search results become more and more relevant and precise over time. It is important that the content uses the same words and phrases that people use.
«Our internal lingo should not be used on the external website. We check search logs and talk to our audience-facing services to understand where we are lacking information – or the information is not found. As a result, we continuously update content and the search function, in order to ensure relevant search results”, Moen says.
High demands to search functionality
The greatest competitor to the internal Site Search is Google.
“Users are demanding, as they are used to the high quality in the world’s most used search engine. A solid Site Search is very important when people don’t know where to start looking”, Moen says.
Less incoming inquiries
Asker municipality aims to reduce the number of incoming phone calls and inquiries. The basic information should be available on the website, and not require phone or e-mail communication.
“Good and relevant information, together with a solid site search, ensures that fewer people need to contact us directly to get the information they need. When we launched our new website a while back, the number of incoming requests went down, and we see further reductions as the search is improved”, Moen says.
They don’t have any complaints on the solutions or service from Haive.
“We have a robust search solution that delivers what it promises. There are rarely any problems, and Haive is ready to fix things if an issue arises”, Lindsholm says.