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New phone system brings instant improvement in service levels

Update on our investment in new technology

Recently we announced the investment we had made in new call centre technology and we promised a follow up on how it’s all going. At the time, we were about to launch the new system, so it was something of an unknown quantity. We knew it had the potential to make huge improvements to the way we worked, how responsive we could be with customers, and our service levels in general. We also knew that, realistically, we may also encounter some teething problems that invariably come with new technology.

So, how did it go?

We had big ambitions and high hopes and we are pleased to let you know that it has not disappointed so far! Our amazing call centre staff have got to grips with the system very quickly and finding that it allows them to be so much more efficient, mainly due to the information available to them.

How we’re using live data to improve our call handling

The information that the system gives us helps in a number of ways:

  • We’re able to monitor call volumes including how many we have waiting and how long they have been waiting. This enables us to allocate additional resources at particularly busy times (switching people from less urgent tasks to deal with customers who are waiting)
  • Any missed calls (callers who hung up before being connected) are reported on and we call them back twice a day. Since implementing the new system, these have been minimal
  • We can see the status of all call handlers, whether working in the call centre or working from home. This means all resources can be allocated as needed, wherever they are, and the service to the customer is seamless – they wouldn’t know where their operator was. Our team has been split into bubbles to allow everyone to work safely during the covid-19 pandemic and this system really helps facilitate this

We also have a different call group for engineers which helps to free up customer calls, reducing their wait time and the demand on the system.

Our staff have all been fully trained on the system and we’ve introduced an Employee of the Month scheme to reward those who deliver the best service levels. Because we have a wealth of data and performance indicators at our disposal, this is really easy for us to measure and allow us to recognise people for their skills and efforts.

Has it all been plain sailing?

It’s been a steep learning curve but actually, once the system was in place and working, everyone has found it much easier to use because the old one was simply not fit for purpose. As with anything, there were a couple of hiccups, for example the 0800 numbers were not successfully ported over, and this led to customers using those numbers not being able to get through at first. Luckily, we realised this had happened quite quickly and we were able to resolve the issue.

How has it improved things for our customers?

If you ever tried to call us on the old system and now do it on the new one you will definitely notice a huge improvement. Call waiting times have drastically reduced and you are given accurate information about your place in the queue and the estimated wait time. We’re able to answer your calls much more quickly than before but please appreciate that we are still taking hundreds of incoming calls a day so at peak times you may have to wait a few minutes. The best time to call us, if it’s not an emergency and you can, is between 12pm and 5pm as that’s when we have the most staff available. The new system also doesn’t cut you off which we know was a major issue with the old system and incredibly frustrating for people who had been waiting to speak to someone.

All in all we are really pleased with how well it has gone so far, and the improvements it has created. We also anticipate that we will be able to make further enhancements as we continue to familiarise ourselves with the system and take advantage of all its capabilities.

We would like to thank you for your continued patience and trust that you will find our service on the telephone infinitely better.

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