Following a discussion at the progress Group, to consider the current customer contact data in relation to calls to customer services, walk in arrangements and demands through other access channels.
The Committee welcomed Marybeth Quaintmere, Customer Services Manager and Mary Timmins, Customer Services Team Leader who were in attendance to give a presentation on current customer contact data in relation to calls to Customer Services, walk in arrangements and demand through other access channels.
The Committee received an overview of the Customer Services (CS) team. The team consisted of 18 members of staff, currently, two males, four with English as their second language, four part time, one six-month fixed term contract and one vacant post.
During the pandemic it was noted that many changes had been made on the way the service had been delivered. These changes had shaped the way the service was offered going forward, including where work sat within teams/services. Examples of work that had shifted from individual services to the CS team included:
· Local Tax - work transferred included copy bills, discounts, direct debit enquiries and other low complexity work – more complex issues and recovery were still dealt with by the Local Taxation team.
· Housing – during the pandemic it was highlighted that duplicate contacts were increasing with customers contacting both Housing and CS. A six-month trial was being undertaken to understand demand and identify non specialist housing work, to allow for a process to be designed to respond appropriately to different enquiry types. The outcomes so far, had allowed CS to respond to customers who had criteria based or update enquiries, a dedicated officer had been appointed with three additional advisors trained to pick up any overflow work as required.
The Committee reviewed call data since the beginning of 2022. The data showed calls answered and abandoned and other contact streams, such as email, Love Rushmoor, various webforms, PCN’s, etc. The data related to use of the Council’s reception area had also been reviewed and this had shown a significant drop in numbers using this drop in, face to face offer. As an example, 63 customers had attended reception to make a payment since January, 2022, pre pandemic this figure had been 2,849. Data had also been provided on digital take-up in relation to waste and environmental services, this had shown an increase per quarter for these services.
Moving forward the Committee noted a number of areas that had been identified that could impact on the service provided by the CS team, these included:
· Move of off-street parking to the CS team
· New telephony systems
· Replacement of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and developments thereafter
· Housing trial (three months remaining)
· Post and print project
· Council tax digital offer
· Office move
Following a discussion, a number of queries were raised by the Committee, these included:
· Demand and management of staff - it was advised that demand could be identified on a half hourly basis if required, and resource shifted to accommodate as necessary. In general, demand predictions and actuals were aligned
· Consideration be given to a dedicated Councillor enquiry line – this would be taken away for consideration
· Warm handovers would be available on the new system ensuring customers reached an appropriate officer
· Consideration of a multilingual receptionist – this would be taken away for consideration, however a translation service was available, and connection was usually very quick
· CRM funding – it was advised that funding was in place
· Reference numbers could be used as part of the new system to help track calls and responses
· How could the Love Rushmoor App be used more effectively?
The Chairman thanked Ms Quaintmere and Ms Timmins for their presentation.