Changes and improvements made to the way Bristol City Council delivers services for residents have received national recognition.
The council’s Citizen Services team has received two awards this month (July) – the Silver-Gilt medal at the annual National Contact Centre Improvement Awards ™ and Best Business Improvement Strategy at the South West Contact Centre Awards.
As a first point of contact for residents and visitors, the team deals with more than one million requests and enquiries each year, including council tax, business rates and housing benefits, as well as face-to face, telephone and web-based customer services.
During the last 18 months the team has undergone a huge transformation and it is a leading example of how to deliver frontline customer services which focus on people instead of processes.
Councillor Margaret Hickman, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “These awards reflect the hard work being done by staff to ensure our citizens receive the best, most efficient and cost-effective service. Using customer and staff feedback to inform and shape these services has been an integral part of this success.
“I’m delighted with the team’s accomplishments, which have been achieved against a backdrop of budget challenges, and my thanks and congratulations go to everyone involved.”
The ongoing transformation focuses on 42 areas for improvement, ranging from online services and social media engagement to performance reporting, mystery shopping, staff training and introducing new telephony and IT systems.
The contact centre team has moved away from traditional targets, such as call handling times, focussing instead on the quality of the service and finding resolutions at the first point of contact - in the last year, for example, staff members have been trained to handle requests on a wider range of services.
While the transformation is not due to be fully completed until 2017, citizens will have already noticed significant improvements.
Between April and June this year 87% calls were answered, on average, within two minutes 12 seconds, compared to 72% in four minutes 30 seconds over the same period last year.
Citizens are able to access many of the council’s key services digitally, from council tax payments to council house repairs and waste collections. More than 6,500 people have signed up to pay their council tax online since April.
For more information visit www.bristol.gov.uk/residents