ProcessFlows worked with Channel Partner 4net Technologies, to deliver an automated switchboard answering facility (Virtual Agent) for Cheshire West and Chester Council’s general enquiry line.
Virtual Agent is part of the Council’s ‘Think Customer’ service programme, which aims to deliver best practice and value for money services by driving change through technology.
4net was the Council’s chosen key partner for the overall project ‘to automate their entire in-bound call centre process with the aim of reducing caller waiting times’.
It’s resulted in caller waiting times being reduced to less than 20 seconds.
Using technology to improve services for residents
Situated in the North West of England, Cheshire West and Chester Council serves a population of 329,600, residing in a 350 square mile radius.
The Council is an innovative organisation; providing its employees with new and enhanced ways of working that improve staff practice and their engagement with customers, individuals, communities and partners.
Using technology to counteract stretched staffing levels ensures that service levels remain high and citizen experience is not compromised, which makes a real difference to the customers and communities the Council serves.
500,000 inbound calls every year
The Council receives over 500,000 calls each year. Whilst the majority of calls are connected to a member of staff in less than 20 seconds, during busy periods, wait times can increase.
The Council wanted to improve efficiency when processing customer enquiries and shorten waiting times – effectively, do more with less resource.
A Virtual Agent to handle routine calls and increase staff productivity
Implementing a Virtual Agent with their existing Avaya telephony system would ensure that each inbound call connected straight away and was automatically routed to the right person or department; freeing up Contact Centre agents to concentrate on more in-depth queries, whilst reducing wait times across the board.
OpenText CX-E Voice technology – capturing every inbound call + clever call routing
Working with 4net Technologies, the Council chose a CX-E Virtual Agent Solution for the job.
CX-E Virtual Agent technology is switch independent and connects to all incumbent telephone systems available in the UK.
- Recognises speech commands and automatically activates the telephone system to route callers directly to the person or department they want to talk to.
- Can handle some of the more straightforward enquiries currently dealt with by the Contact Centre, such as reporting a pothole, requesting an application form, or reporting a missed bin collection, by asking the customer a series of pre-defined questions.
- Enables customers to call some Council services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, giving them additional access to services at a time that suits them.
Installation and customisation
As part of their channel partner relationship with 4net, ProcessFlows supported 4net with the implementation of CX-E.
CX-E was integrated with the Council’s Avaya system and connected to a nominated telephone number in less than a day.
However, to accurately recognise the callers voice command and connect them to the correct person or department first time, CX-E needs to be populated with accurate and up to date contact information before going ‘live’.
ProcessFlows and 4net Technologies worked with the Council to pre-define requirements, such as departments, any variables on pronunciation, nicknames, aliases etc, ahead of contact names and numbers being imported – which can be done as a direct import or via a connection to Microsoft Active Directory.
“The CX-E Virtual Agent system has allowed us to reduce the waiting time for customers dialling our General Enquiries line. They’re now able to be routed directly to the team that they require, without the need for an extensive push button IVR. This has allowed us to reduce customer waiting times by up to 35 seconds, depending on the service required and has reduced the amount of double handling within the Contact Centre as customers reach the correct team straight away.” Chris Melia, Customer Service Manager, Cheshire West and Chester Council