Basildon Council saves £600,000 in first year of new contact centre

Basildon Borough Council says it has saved £600,000 in the first year of opening a new customer contact centre, that uses self-service technology.

The council says it services 180,000 visitors per year, and that it has saved the money through its Customer Experience Programme of Change, using technology from Qmatic.

The programme has established a centralised customer service operation that aimed to deliver an improved customer experience at a reduced cost. As part of this programme the face-to-face service centre has been redesigned to "emphasise assisted self-service", as opposed to a focus on simply "doing for" or "managing rather than responding to channel access trends".

Qmatic technologies helped facilitate these face-to-face changes, with customers choosing services they need independently on two touchscreens, which incorporate partner providers such as the Department for Work and Pensions.

Qmatic has also provided screens with live wait time information so that people can make informed choices about service access.

“An improved customer experience means serving visitors with the right information, through the right channel in the right time - ultimately getting the basics right,” said Tom Walker, business relationship manager for customer services at Basildon Borough Council.

He said: “Qmatic helped us to identify how to make the guided self-service theory a practical reality with its enabling technologies, helping to deliver a slick customer journey here in Basildon.

"The systems create the right impression for an organisation focused on harnessing technology across the business and creating opportunity for the people of Basildon.”

Lee Washbrook, manager of customer services at Basildon Borough Council, said: “As a consequence of the partnership with Qmatic we’ve been able to report an increase in our customer satisfaction by two percent. It might not sound a lot but we are pleased with this given all of the changes that we made as part of the programme."

He added: "We were expecting to see a slight dip in satisfaction levels while our customers acclimatised to the new system and layout, as it can be challenging to garner support for such bold changes. So this is a promising sign and we anticipate satisfaction levels to continue to rise.”

Live performance information about waiting times from Qmatic’s software now enables the council to filter queries more effectively meaning there are fewer and smaller queues at the door and less time waiting for general enquiries.

Physical barriers have been removed and two self-service touch screens are now in place in the reception area. These are accompanied by automated payment kiosks and tablet-enabled mobile advisors.

Customers are no longer required to check-in - on arrival "they simply choose the services they want to access via the best channel", the council said.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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