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Macfarlane Telesystems has been chosen by Stratford-on-Avon DC to help it manage telephone enquiries to the revenue...
Macfarlane Telesystems has been chosen by Stratford-on-Avon DC to help it manage telephone enquiries to the revenues division more efficiently. In a deal worth£50,000 Macfarlane has enabled the department to answer a greater number of telephone calls from the public and also to monitor the safety of its mobile workers.

Stratford-on-Avon will be using Macfarlane's customer

service telephony solution, CallPlus. CallPlus offers a range of customer

service facilities including Intelligent Routing and Queuing, Call

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.'

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