Issue - meetings

Customer Services and Call Handling Update

Meeting: 11/06/2015 - Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 13)

13 Customer Services and Call Handling Update pdf icon PDF 62 KB


(a)       That the Committee has received some assurance with regard to the development of the call handling arrangements;


(b)       That the officers be asked to monitor the performance risks/concerns expressed at the meeting;


(c)        That it be recommended that the proposed enhancement to the automated service (immediate dial now for extension numbers) be introduced as soon as possible; and


(d)       That an update report be submitted to the Committee in due course.  



The Chief Officer (Community & Enterprise) introduced a report to update Members on the progress made towards the changes to the way telephone calls were received via 01352 752121 (Switchboard).


                        She detailed the background to the report and explained that Contact Centre telephony software had been introduced to the main switchboard on 22 April 2015.  The current switchboard service would cease on 31 August 2015.  The Chief Officer suggested an amended recommendation which would be to seek Member assurance about the proposals.  It was reported that approximately 10% of calls to Switchboard were internal and it was the intention to make it easier for staff to be able to identify the number they required themselves.  Reassurance was provided that the Switchboard service would not end from September 2015 as callers who had chosen option 4 and were currently directed to the Switchboard, would instead be directed to the existing contact centres in Streetscene, Housing and Revenues & Benefits.  An option would also be included for callers to input the extension number of the person they wanted to contact if they knew it.  The Chief Officer also advised that the Reception Area would not be closing and that work was ongoing to establish whether some or all of the current reception areas could be consolidated. 


                        Councillor Ron Hampson referred to the excellent service provided by the Switchboard Team.  He raised concern that option 4 would no longer be available and was assured by the Chief Officer that these calls would be directed to the existing call centres rather than to the Switchboard.  On the issue of agile working, Councillor Marion Bateman queried whether it was possible for Members to be provided with a list of mobile telephone numbers for officers.  The Chief Executive indicated that officers who had a Council owned mobile telephone should be including all methods of contact on their correspondence, such as emails.  Councillor Bateman also expressed her disappointment that answerphones were not being used and that phones sometimes were left to ring out.  The Chief Officer advised that work was underway to roll out advice to all staff about the use of voicemail/mobiles.  She added that it was important that all telephones were answered in front facing teams and asked that Members let her know of any problems that they experienced with phones not being answered. 


Councillor Richard Jones concurred that it would be useful for Members to have a list of contact numbers including mobile phone details and asked why all services could not be covered by the Contact Centres.  In response, the Chief Officer said that not all services had a contact centre but considerations were being given to whether the Council should have a single Contact Centre.  She felt that it was not acceptable for phones to go unanswered or for work mobile number details to not be provided.  The Customer Services Manager advised that a phone directory was available on the Infonet and that work was ongoing to address the issue of mobile numbers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13