Up to 85% of public contact is unnecessary, regardless of the sector,according to the Bank of Scotland. There is a need for local authorities to consider the National Indicator ni14 reducing avoidable contact to your contact centre in order to provide a better customer service offering and reduce operational costs.
One way that this can be achieved is through the use of web self service.
Why do we phone a local authority contact centre?
So if all enquiries for information services to your contact centre are regarded as avoidable, how can local authorities move to a consistent and efficient approach for managing their information and knowledge? We are all aware that local councils have had their budgets slashed. Can we, as responsible citizens, help ourselves refine the services to delivery better outcomes around costly activities? It got me thinking how often I contact my local council, why I contact them and how I can help them to save money. Often we call the call centre because that is the quickest way to get a resolution to our query.
Searching a local authority website
I usually call to get in touch with my local authority as their website is so appalling, its difficult to navigate and identify where they have actually put information and on top of this the web site itself is unappealing and uninviting and I don’t think the look and feel has had an overall in the last decade! Even though local authorities have a standardised taxonomy (structure for organising their content) it can still be a mystery as to where the information resides. All I want to be able to do is use the search effectively to find things an not get presented with error pages or totally irrelevant information.
Avoidable contacts with a local authority contact centre
Basically it is my money and that of my neighbours that is paying for the staff and contact centre environment, which in some part could be reduced or avoided if information on the web site was better organised, gave relevant information and could be found much more easily. Ultimately too, our council tax will increase to pay for services to meet the growing need for us to seek and find information. Calls to the call centre could be avoided if there was greater adoption of a web self service approach, where by questions can be asked and answered using the local councils existing information. If the council didn’t need to reorganise or repurpose its information, this would also save time and they could introduce a technological solution to their current problems. Also, I believe that we all as Citizens need to find new, cheaper ways to contact councils and become more proactive in informing the council how they can reduce avoidable contacts within their contact centre and understand the consequences if we don’t!
The National Indicator Ni14 Reducing Avoidable Contact Report can be found at the Improvement and Development Agency http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/aio/8621612
Although Ni14 ‘Reducing Avoidable Contact‘ is no longer a requirement, in order to reduce costs and improve the customer service experience for Citizens it should be used as a guide and considered as best practise advice for local authorities and others.