Stratford-on-Avon will be using Macfarlane's customer
service telephony solution, CallPlus. CallPlus offers a range of customer
Recording, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Management Information System
(MIS), integration to existing software applications (CTI) and links to the
council's existing Merlin switchboard. Stratford-on-Avon has also chosen
Macfarlane's LoneWorker solution to monitor the safety of its mobile workers
while allowing them to link into the system remotely.
Following the department's restructuring in July 2000, a backlog of
correspondence had built up. Performance of the division was suffering and
agents were receiving an increasing number of enquiries from the public.
Dave Webb, head of revenues, comments: 'We had up to 40 staff answering the
phones at the busiest times, which meant that there weren't enough staff
doing the actual work. We were working reactively rather than proactively
and we knew it had to change.'
Prior to Macfarlane's involvement, customers dialled the main switch and
were transferred to a hunt group. A preliminary study carried out by
Stratford-on-Avon showed that calls would frequently be aborted or would be
cut off without being answered due to insufficient capacity. Customers now
use a direct dial number to contact the department, and are transferred to
recorded information or a human agent as appropriate.
It is sometimes unavoidable during peak periods such as Monday mornings or
in emergency situations that all agents are busy. In this situation the
caller is put on hold but is regularly updated as to their position in the
queue, together with the mean waiting time. Callers who do not wish to hold
can leave a message and key in a time to be called back. An operator will
return their call through the automatic call-back facility within CallPlus.
Once a call enters the system, the length of time it takes to be answered is
monitored, and an alert is issued if the call exceeds the pre-set longest
waiting time. This enables the revenues division to decide how many staff
need to be acting as call agents at any time. Staff can log in and out of
the system as appropriate in order to meet demand.
Stratford-on-Avon also chose Macfarlane's LoneWorker system to maintain
contact with its mobile workers. The lone worker can telephone the system,
enter their PIN, leave a voicemail message, and key in the time they would
like to be called back. If an officer in unable to acknowledge the call
back at the pre-arranged time, an alarm is activated by the system
telephoning a set of pre-configured telephone numbers. When the alarm is
answered, a message is heard stating who the lone worker is and the system
then plays the last two messages that were left by the lone worker.
Dave Webb added: 'Macfarlane's CallPlus system allows us to handle the same
amount of customer enquiries with a team of six as we did before with a team
of 40, allowing more staff to concentrate on doing work rather than fielding
William Gray, managing director of Macfarlane Telesystems, said: 'This is
another example of Macfarlane helping councils with very specific
requirements to meet the service expectations of their citizens as well as
to hit government best value and e-government targets.'