Increasing self service rate in Local Government

Embrace digital tools to enhance customer communication

Increasing self service rate in Local Government

8th February 2019

By Tim Burnett

Connect Assist has worked closely with local government from the very beginning, so we’re well aware of the challenges the sector faces when it comes to the sheer volume of calls their customer service centre (CSC) staff handle on a day-to-day basis.

The problem is that a proportion of incoming calls are unnecessary – many from people asking councils about something entirely out of their remit. With thousands of incoming calls a day, at an average of six minutes each… Well, you don’t need to be good at maths to know that’s a lot of money.

Among the customer queries that are relevant, many could be answered more efficiently and cost-effectively through self-service options. We decided, therefore, to host a 40-minute webinar on the subject, with the aim of helping more authorities realise the benefits of digital service options like knowledge bases and Smart Assistants. We were delighted that there was so much interest in the subject.Illustration of three colleagues discussing virtual assistant

In the spotlight for the webinar was Argyll and Bute Council, an organisation we have worked with for several years. They wanted to reduce the volume of ‘Contact Us’ queries from its website to its CSC and provide a more effective 24/7 out-of-hours query service.

Our solution? Embrace digital tools to enhance customer communication.

This would involve harmonising an Oracle-powered knowledge base, which supports helpline staff in answering queries, with Smart Assistant software so that the same answers are provided for agents and self-service customers.

If you know Connect Assist, you’ll know that we aim to empower companies with solutions centred on technology, with a human touch. That’s why we like the approach taken by Argyll and Bute Council so much.

Illustration of three collleagues standing around a floating lightbulb discussing virtual assistant The human element is delivered through an in-house ‘self-learning’ feature, where agents are incentivised to propose enquiries put forward by customers, but that weren’t answered by Smart Assistant. Each enquiry goes through quality assurance before being made available on the platform.

The quality of the content is largely driven by the call handlers; it’s continually updated and therefore improved.Illustration of a woman sitting at her desk with a headset on working showing a deflection in calls

The results speak for themselves:

deflection rates were up driven up from 18% at inception in April 2018 to over 30% by December 2018.

While 5,900 ‘Contact Us’ forms dropped to 2,706 Smart Assistant bailouts during the first three quarters of 2018/19. The increased efficiency contributed to the call abandon rate dropping from over 12% in FQ1 to under 3% in FQ3.

Stats aside, Argyll and Bute Council proudly scooped up the Silver Excellence Award in the Innovation Category at the Council Awards ceremony last November – a certain morale boost for the team!

Icon for the charity sector

Icon for the health sector

Icon for local and central governmentOf course, it’s not just local gov that can benefit from upgrading customer support services. We work with a wide scope of sectors, from healthcare to charity, to help companies improve communications and personal outcomes of their customers.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about this case study, why not get in touch? You can call us on 01443 827 600 or fill in the enquiry form below. Or, you can come and say hello at the Local Government Camp Wales, taking place on the February 28!

This webinar kicks off a series of webinars that we’re going to be hosting over the course of the year, with the next one on the use of chat bots in Local Government taking place in March. We hope to ‘see’ you there.

 


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