The Telephony and Inform systems are designed to benefit local authorities in several different ways. However, councils emphasise the value of different features depending on their organisation’s priorities. For Belinda, the key advantages of these technologies to Guildford Borough Council can be broken down into three distinct categories.
‘I think we all expect everything to be available 24/7 now and customers aren’t happy when it isn’t,’ says Belinda. ‘One of the key reasons we bought into the service was the ability to offer a 24/7 service.’
Implementing technology that allows customers to engage with local authority services on a 24/7 basis reduces the number of calls received during office hours and eases the pressure on human agents. As Belinda points out, it also meets a customer demand. In an increasingly digital society, customers expect to be able to engage with service providers as and when they want.
The telephony system has allowed Guildford Borough to make savings whilst also improving the standard of service they provide. ‘In 2016, we had a reduction in staff,’ explains Belinda. ‘However, the Inform system is able to handle the work of 3 full-time equivalents.’
This ability to enhance services, whilst also allowing local authorities to meet their budgetary requirements is key to Inform’s service offering. So too is its capacity to automate basic enquiries.
‘For me, 24/7 service and the removal of basic enquiries via automation were key drivers in the decision to work with Inform. It allowed us to use those resources we do have more efficiently,’ Belinda argues.
The automation of basic enquiries – those calls that could easily be resolved by pointing customers in the direction of relevant information – allowed the council to use their staff in a different, more valuable way. ‘By removing a significant number of basic phone calls, we were able to use staff for more valuable work,’ describes Belinda. ‘It’s allowed them to do more on recovery for council tax and its freed up our benefit assessors to do more processing without having to contend with lots of telephone interruptions.’
Belinda argues that, when it came time to make a decision regarding their future with Inform, one particular aspect of our work made it an easy choice. ‘I was happy to renew the contract with Inform because of their specialist knowledge of Telephony scripts. They know about the automated script, what works and what doesn’t. Essentially, they understand what makes a great Telephony script.’
Belinda also recognises that this is a product of Inform’s long history of working with public sector organisations. ‘The fact is, that they have been doing this for so many years compared to any alternatives.’