2122 — New Contact Centre drives service improvements at South Hams District Council

Jul 10, 2006 | Conteúdos Em Ingles

A customer survey conducted within the South Hams district of Devon has revealed that customer satisfaction has risen and abandoned call rates fallen since the introduction of a customer contact centre in October 2005.

“We’re extremely pleased with the results of the survey” said John Paul Sanders, Head of Customer Services at South Hams District Council. “In the 6 months we’ve been operating the centre, customer satisfaction has increased by 4% – with 89% of people now ‘satisfied’ with our overall telephone service and 99% ‘satisfied’ with our telephone payments service

The new contact centre has also had a dramatic impact on reducing the number of calls being abandoned while callers are waiting to be answered. “We’ve noticed a significant improvement in reduced calls being abandoned since the centre opened and in particular callers are delighted they are now kept informed with messages and given options while queuing” states John Paul Sanders.

“It’s had a dramatic impact in key service areas. Since the centre has been handling calls for our busy Environmental Health section, for example, abandoned call rates have fallen from around 35% to 5%. Customer complaints about service have also fallen considerably

The South Hams customer contact centre is powered by CallPlus contact centre technology from Macfarlane Telesystems and CRM technology from Lagan Technologies. The Macfarlane CallPlus system provides intelligent call management services – including call queuing, intelligent call routing, call recording, management statistics and interactive voice response. Integration between the Macfarlane and Lagan systems also enables callers’ details to be presented on agents’ screens as calls are delivered to their desks. Other technologies deployed within the centre include a Singularity corporate work flow system and a Document Management System. The technology project was managed by Anite.

The contact centre project was initiated in 2002. Although the Council received an ‘Excellent’ rating in its 2003 CPA inspection, Council Members believed that performance could be improved in key areas and a Business Improvement plan was put together and passed in 2003. After a technology tendering process, the Macfarlane CallPlus system, the Lagan Front Line CRM and other solutions were purchased and implemented, and the Customer Service Team assembled.

In the first stage of roll out, starting October 2005, the contact centre took on responsibility for handling calls regarding Waste and Refuse services, Car Park permits, fines and appeals, Job Vacancies, and Environmental Health Services. In the second phase of roll out, which started in 2006, Landscaping and Leisure and Planning Services are gradually being added into the centre.

The centre currently employs 16 full and part time personnel (9 full time equivalents). “Prior to the implementation of the contact centre, we didn’t have many management statistics, and so couldn’t accurately measure the volume of incoming calls, the average time taken to answer calls, or the number of customer calls being abandoned” explains John Paul Sanders. “Today, we can instantly access this information and therefore manage staffing levels much more responsively and effectively. Average time to answer has improved dramatically, and there’s less caller frustration, with much more organised call queuing. We believe that our ability to handle more calls with the same level of resources is a real Gershon saving

South Hams IT Manager Robin Barlow believes that technology has a major role to play in the future of the centre. “We need to integrate other customer contact channels in the future as customer needs dictate as well as move to new technologies such as voice over IP (VoIP). However we will do so at the pace that suits our needs and that technology will allow us to. We still face many technology challenges, not least of which is to effectively integrate the new solutions we’ve invested in. Macfarlane has been professional and supportive throughout the technology build-up process and I must congratulate them on their speed of response, even when that has meant serving our needs out-of-hours

“South Hams has an enviable reputation within the local Government sector and it was an honour to have been chosen to work on this exciting project” said William Gray, Managing Director of Macfarlane Telesystems. “The results of the recent customer survey reflect the excellent service the Council provides


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