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New research amongst the country's councils has revealed that technological improvements to call centre enquiry han...
New research amongst the country's councils has revealed that technological improvements to call centre enquiry handling could save£505m per year, according to APR Smartlogik research. Improved search technology enables the call centre agent to answer more queries and reduce the average call length to the commercial sector norm by finding information more quickly over an intranet. These savings would be in addition to those achieved by the implementation of self-service e-government.

The research is part of a rolling programme that has gained response from over half the country's local authorities. The principal findings from this latest research are:-

Key Findings

* Technologies that improve the consistent categorisation of council content, and enable more accurate searching, are becoming popular with councils wishing to implement citizen self-service over the web

* The same technology provides rapid, calculable payback by improving the efficiency with which over 400 million calls to local authorities are handled every year

* In the local authority call centre or switchboard, average call length is 4.51 minutes, compared with a commercial average of just 3.3 minutes

* Local government average cost per call minute is 94p, whereas the commercial is only 63p

* Even on the most conservative of models, UK councils could save over£500 million each year just by reducing call times to the commercial sector standard

* This equates to savings of over£1.1m per year for the average UK local authority

Richard Pinder, sales and marketing director, APR Smartlogik, commented: 'Much has been made of the cost-savings available through e-government, but it is unrealistic to expect all citizen queries to be dealt with over the internet, especially given that around 50% of UK households does not have internet access. However, implementing the right technology will improve query handling across all channels of communication, delivering the advantages of joined-up government to citizens and local authorities alike.'

About APR Smartlogik

APR Smartlogik Ltd is a leading supplier of decision intelligence technology for intranet, internet and portal applications. By combining guided search, indexing, taxonomy and categorisation technologies, and authoring tools with intelligent profiling, Smartlogik technology organises unstructured information, increases the efficiency of decision-making and improves access to information and services for customers, citizens, subscribers, members and employees. Smartlogik technology is used in more than 1,000 global organisations in the private and public sectors, including Thurrock LBC, Sutton LBC, theHouses of Parliament, BAA, Surrey-Online, the Bank of England, the BBC, Trade Partners UK (DTI) and Yell.

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