Friday, 24 February 2012


Councillors have been given an insight to the council’s new telephone system, with initial details unveiled at a council meeting.

The information came in response to a question about the planned new system. Cllr. Michelle Fenner, Cabinet Member for Business Services, told full Council that the system is designed to reduce waiting times for people calling the council. They will also be able to access information around the clock, meaning that they can call during cheaper periods.

This would mean that, once installed, callers would be given a number of options, so routine calls could be dealt with by an automatic system, improving call response times. Research at other councils shows that up to half the calls received can be dealt with by a self-service system, with some councils seeing up to 85% of their calls being dealt with in this way.

Cllr. Fenner was questioned about whether the new system would comply with the council’s equalities agenda. She confirmed that an assessment of this had been carried out and it had shown that there could be advantages, as it will enable those who need to speak to a person to get through quicker. Additionally, those on low income can use the automated service 24/7, when call charges are cheaper.

She also assured members that checks would be carried out to ensure that there was no drop in customer satisfaction with the service they were getting. Experience at other councils has shown that their level of customer satisfaction with similar systems has actually risen.

A detailed report about the plans will go to the Cabinet meeting in March. The aim is to implement the system by summer 2012, initially covering enquiries about Council Tax, Benefits and Waste and Recycling.

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