Innovation Exchange

Customer Service Digital Transformation

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Further information

In 2015 The Council’s numerous systems for handling customer contacts were ageing, fragile, not compliant with modern security standards and could not support the way customers wanted to contact us. Following an extensive customer consultation, the development of a new Customer Service Strategy and Digital First policy, was agreed and a new joined up, omni-channel single solution was procured and implemented by the Digital Services Team. This cutting edge solution revolutionises the way the contact centre and service points work so that contacts made via a myriad of different channels can be flowed to agents to balance out workloads and respond to customers using the most appropriate medium. Customers all have individual accounts where full records of their multichannel interactions are kept and the solution has a high degree of automation to further streamline processes. The system also has superior analytical reporting capabilities to help identify failure demand, assist with targeting channel shift opportunities and keep on top of performance against service levels. It is a significant enabler to help Services meet the challenge of service efficiencies. 

Theme: Digital

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In October 2014 a survey on customer service was completed by over 490 customers who told us very clearly about how they wanted to contact the council, what the barriers were and what services they wanted to see online. Those results were addressed in the new corporate Customer Service Strategy for the Council and in the approval of a new Digital First policy that required the development of digital services so good that customers would want to use them, whilst providing help (Assisted Digital) for those who found this difficult.

 

The imperative was therefore to get a single new omni-channel solution that fully supported the new Strategy and Policy and put in place a solution capable of encouraging customers to move from high cost channels such as face to face, to low cost ones and to self-serve as much as possible.   This was a major undertaking in just a year as over 140 processes had to be built from scratch and a similar number of employees trained in the new system. A new web portal was also built with 26 web self-service request forms flowing directly to officers for fulfilment. A flexible new bespoke system for elected members was also built, which allowed logging and tracking of service requests raised on behalf of constituents. The corporate complaints management system was also completely rebuilt, all seamlessly cut over with no service disruption noticeable to customers. Following a full tender the new solution was procured in September 2015 and went successfully live council wide on 30th March 2016.

The new customer engagement solution has two core elements:

 

Netcall Liberty: To provide contact handling management for phone, face to face, email, webmail, SMS text, webchat, social media, plus 24/7 voice automated services. It also allows contacts from any channel to be streamed to agents based on priority, agent skill and status and contact volumes. This evens out peaks and troughs of demand across channels and the “blended agents” make much better use of scarce resources to provide a more responsive service for customers. Senior staff can now see a wallboard of all Customer Service Centre performance in real time from any PC and allow easy analysis of data. It has state of the art voice automated services which improves the routing of our corporate switchboard to 80% of all calls successfully routed. There is also a built in free and automated Callback service for customers when waiting times in the contact centre exceed 1 minute. Liberty integrates with Oracle fulfilment passing over key details such as the telephone number and email address of the customer, so their details can be popped on screen without the need for searching and also passes identifiers to allow call recordings to be tracked back if required. The integration also stops call recordings automatically when a customer gives out their card number when making a payment. It has also been completely integrated to Lync/Skype functionality for ease of call transfer and recall, checking availability of officers and emergency call routing.

 

Oracle Service Cloud: Is the service request fulfilment part of the solution, which is cloud hosted for extra resilience. Being web browser based, agents can access it from any council networked or wireless location (great for business continuity) and we have integrated it to the Netcall Liberty system. It has a tremendous array of tools to help agents resolve enquiries speedily and to log service requests. Different information resources are automatically presented depending on the nature of the enquiry, checklists, mapping tools, web based search resources and automated prompts are all used to help agents get it right for the customer first time. In addition the system has been integrated to a host of key back office systems such as Web Pay, Northgate, Civica Document Management, Carefirst, WDM Roads and Lighting, the corporate address gazetteer and the Council’s website.

Case handlers can record every detail on each incident including uploading supporting correspondence. The new Members Caseload management system allows every member to have access to raise and see customised data regarding what is being asked for in their constituency.

Oracle has an unrivalled reporting and analytics toolkit which allows any information that is captured to be reported on and presented in dashboards for ease of interpretation. Every enquiry that is received has the channel type and is mapped against the classification of the enquiry type, which means reports can be run to inform our channel shift successes and areas for development. Similarly, every enquiry is marked as whether or not the contact could have been avoided. This new ability to measure and identify needless contacts can help us take steps to eliminate this “Failure Demand” and drive efficiencies and enhanced customer service. The new system helps us to automatically track customer satisfaction by providing links for customers to short surveys on every Oracle web form and mediated service request completion notice that is issued.

Significant Benefits;

 

  • The infrastructure is now fully PSN security compliant and the cease-recording during payment taking feature makes us Payment Card industry standards compliant in the CSC.
  • Seven systems have been made redundant by the new solution. Outages also reduced due to the streamlined and resilient solution and agents can now work from any council office location.
  • Over 46,000 service requests were logged against customer and business accounts on the solution in FQ1 of 2016/17 using 7 different channels. The percentage of callers hanging up before they are answered has fallen from 13% to 5.5%
  • Customers also took to the new online services with over a thousand of the new web forms being completed. The assisted digital voice automated payment service was successfully used over 3,000 times and the new call back service was used by 623 customers all  in FQ1.
  • We now have the platform that will allow us to realise our Digital First ambitions.

A Lead Team Member for the Project from IT should have been identified that had ideally previous experience of system implementation and structured testing. The lack of this skill set early in the Project resulted in the I.T. Project Leader taking on this day to day role. This issue was much reduced in the later stages of the Project.

 

With regard to the implementation of bookable rooms, a forum should have been established in the early stage of the project to collate information on all rooms available in the Council and any restrictions on their use. In practice it was often difficult to collate information and establish what if any restrictions there should be on a rooms use.

 

More specific questions in future Invitation to Tenders on the specific requirement of specific desktop components, where the Council IT Security policy prohibits general granting of PC Administration rights to end users.   This caused issues in rolling out access to software.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Rober Miller

Digital Development and Support Manager

01546 604026

Case study added to site: February 2017

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