10 February 2017
Surrey Heath is a local government district in the South East of England. Serving almost 90,000 people, Surrey Heath Borough Council provides a full portfolio of public services, from environmental and refuse, to sport and libraries.
The general public contact Surrey Heath Borough Council with a variety of queries, from matters relating to council tax payments, or to apply for building permissions. The council’s call centre is split into two divisions: one for general public enquiries and one for benefits and tax revenues.
The council’s challenge was to improve the efficiency of how it dealt with public enquiries over the phone. They wanted to more effectively monitor the types of calls they were receiving so that they could get a bigger picture of the public’s concerns, and subsequently deliver a better service. The council also recognised the need for a disaster recovery solution, so that they could continue offering call centre services in the event of any disruption, or if staff were unable to get into the office.
After analysing the market, the council selected Gamma to help them achieve these goals.
A cloud-based solution
Gamma’s recommendation was to transition to a cloud-hosted telephony solution, so that staff would be able to answer the phones whenever they needed to from wherever they were. The new service design included Gamma SIP Trunks and cloud-based solution for call centres from Serenova, providing the real-time call data the council needed to enhance its service to the public.
The roll-out of the technology was an intensive, close-working process between Gamma and Surrey Heath Borough Council. We sat down with them to understand exactly what they wanted their contact centre to do, how they wanted their call plans to be developed and how they wanted calls to be delivered to various parts of the council.
We provided training to call centre staff on how to use the new systems and then conducted a phased roll out. This meant we could implement the new technology in the first week with one team, and do the same the following week with the second team. Gamma were onsite during both phases to address any issues and provide support.
Surrey Heath Borough Council is now handling calls better than ever before, offering 24/7 support to residents in the area. They have a better understanding of why people are calling and when, with the ability to identify patterns and trends in both inbound calls and callers. Furthermore, call staff can see the entire journey the caller has been on, and they can use this data to drive greater service to end-users in the future.
The council now has even greater autonomy in how it manages its own telephony systems. Gamma trained the Surrey Heath Borough Council’s internal IT team to build their own call plans, ensuring they are in control of how calls come into the council and how they can be delivered to the right department as efficiently as possible.
Crucially, because they now have a cloud-based telephony service, call centre staff can work from any location so long as they have a laptop or computer with an internet connection. If staff cannot make it into the call centre for whatever reason, they can log onto the system remotely and still make and receive calls as if they were in the office.
This new telephony system places Surrey Heath Borough Council at the forefront of the UK-wide drive for greater council efficiency and digital transformation.
10 February 2017 | Sam Winterbottom
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.