Make every citizen request count
Equipping frontline council staff with digital tools to deliver better citizen outcomes
A few months ago, I wrote about the exceptional experience I got from Amazon’s customer services (read Six Steps for Citizen-Centric Experiences in the Expectation Economy blog). That is the same expectation me, you or another other consumer have from every company, organisation or brand we interact with today. When customer service is subpar and customer contact centres aren’t performing as well as they should be, it’s understandable that businesses, regardless of the industry they operate in, look at what that means for the bottom line and the customer.
Understanding the ways poor customer service impacts the wider business is something all industries have in common, this includes public sector organisations. Local councils and authorities often have vital information, and citizens across the UK rely on their contact centres and communications portals such as social media and websites to find answers to urgent queries.
It’s hugely important to sympathise with residents when they don’t have a good experience getting through to their local council – if they cannot access the information they need in time, it can negatively impact their lives. We discuss these findings in our latest research – “Rethinking Communications”, which shows that over a third (37%) of UK citizens have been unable to obtain critical information from their local councils because they couldn’t reach the right department through the customer service team.
We also found that 71% of residents said they expected customer service levels from their local authority to improve in line with council tax increases. One in five (20%) have missed a council tax payment, 14% have signed up for the wrong benefits and 17% have missed benefits payments because they couldn’t get the information they needed.
This also impacts customer service agents that work in local authorities. The agent is the person on the end of the line that doesn’t always get thanked and regularly receives blame for the call queues and misinformation. The unfortunate thing is that often the agent isn’t at fault. They need a way to quickly find information, knowledge, and expertise, from siloed legacy systems that don’t talk to each other.
Frontline customer service agents interact with citizens every day. So, providing contact centre tools that empower agents to solve problems using customer journey analytics, and knowledge management software that captures everyone’s expertise and facilitates collaboration on issues, cases or with experts, can help councils reduce call queues and deliver the kind of customer service that people talk (and tweet) about. It’s no secret that agents perform more confidently if they have clear information to hand to manage calls, but they are often hampered by a lack of information. Without these modern capabilities, agents will continue to struggle to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
Bringing customer and internal team communications onto one system of engagement in the cloud, allows a steady flow of information between departments, helping contact centre staff in these types of organisations resolve queries more quickly, and make the citizen experience better.
To understand the issues citizens face when contacting their local councils download our research.
Contact our public sector team at [email protected] or call 0333 043 8888 to learn why 8x8 is the only complete communications platform that uses the collective power of your organisation to improve citizen and employee experiences across all interaction channels.