A council contact centre can face many challenges on the road to providing exceptional customer experience.
In the run-up to its 18th annual Government Contact Centre Summit, scheduled to be held in Sydney on 28 and 29 August, conference organiser IQPC released a promotional case-study: How one local council is taking a Customer-first approach to improve first call resolution.
The council is Kingston City, and the case study is based on an interview with the council’s customer service manager, Brandon Davis.
The council is responsible for an area of 91 square kilometres on the shores of Port Philip Bay in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It’s home to about 150,000 people.
According to the case study the council’s 18 seat contact centre has been implementing digital channels to make it more customer centric and is also working to become more strategic in the way it connects with other departments and functions in the council.
“As a local council we have 40 different businesses under one umbrella.”
This, Davis said, was a major challenge for the contact centre. “As a local council we have 40 different businesses under one umbrella,” he said.
“The challenge is that these different businesses sometimes don’t connect, interact or work as closely as they could with other parts of the organisation. Our aim is to ensure our contact centre is equipped with the tools, capabilities and telephony to ensure collaboration and communication between these business areas.”
A significant initiative in the council’s call centre transformation journey was to invite 45 customers to share their expectations around communication and engagement, over two and a half days.
One significant initiative in its call centre transformation journey was to invite 45 customers to share their expectations around communication and engagement, over two and a half days.
Davis has also established new standards around customer service, and to ensure these are achieved and maintained, the council has implemented monthly call coaching sessions for operators.
“It is about listening to their calls and indicating improvements that can be made,” Davis said. “The aim of the process is to engage our staff in our objective of delivering world-class customer service and providing them with the tools to be successful.”
Beyond this, Davis says one of the biggest challenges is empowering agents to take ownership and responsibility so they can provide the best service for customers.
“It comes down to giving staff permission to take this approach, which is often the biggest challenge.” Davis said, “We can collect the data and we can update the telephony. But if we don’t give our people permission to solve problems for the customers and provide the right answers, then it will take longer to change the outcome.”
“Customers call about anything – from complaining about a next door neighbour’s cat walking on their car and leaving footprints; to complaining about the fact that it’s raining and their house is flooding.”
And in a council context, these problems can be very diverse.
“Customers call about anything – from complaining about a next door neighbour’s cat walking on their car and leaving footprints; to complaining about the fact that it’s raining and their house is flooding,” Davis said.
The 2018 Contact Centre Summit will be held at the Swissotel Sydney on 28 and 29 August.
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