Authored by Parham Saebi, Customer Service Solutions Director at Arvato CRM Solutions UK
The events of recent months have intensified the pressure on authorities across the public sector to provide timely, effective citizen services in the face of constrained budgets, rising demand and new ways of working – including staff operating remotely, sometimes with limited access to key systems.
The contact centre has a central role to play in meeting this challenge. By optimising and digitalising processes with the latest technology, from robotic process automation (RPA) to artificial intelligence (AI), government bodies and local councils can enhance their public services while introducing significant new efficiencies.
Here, we explain some examples of how these technologies can help you transform your operations.
Understanding the citizen to improve experience
Any process of transformation should be underpinned by both an in-depth understanding of the services a citizen requires and how they access them.
Leveraging this insight into the citizen journey can allow each public sector body to pinpoint exactly where to digitise platforms to enable people to self-serve or implement technologies such as RPA, AI and cognitive interactive voice response (IVR) to optimise the services they provide and reduce citizen effort.
For example, an automated cognitive IVR solution can be used to help citizens easily get information on their council tax payments, bin collection dates or local public transport routes without needing to speak to the contact centre. For more complex issues, such as enquiries about personal circumstances for benefit payments, contacts can be automatically routed using cognitive IVR to the right skilled, trained human customer support agent to speak to the citizen with empathy and resolve the issue.
Developing a holistic view
At Arvato, we work with our public sector partners to create a 360-degree view of the people they serve, no matter which communication channel they use, which department they get in touch with or what they need to do. This insight, combined with an integrated and connected technology solution, enables us to continuously review which technologies can help future-proof and optimise processes, and provide a seamless, efficient, knowledgeable service to citizens to reduce average handling times, reduce effort and enhance their experience.
The capabilities of chatbots – text-based computer programmes capable of conversing with a human – for example, will increase if they’re combined with AI and integrated with back office systems. This can offer public sector contact centre operations a significant virtual, always on, support function that can handle transactional, high volume enquiries online, from checking on the status of council tax payments to finding out where to buy a new parking permit.
We see the contact centre of the future as a hybrid solution where human agents are higher skilled and are supported by automated and intelligent technology.
RPA, for example, is designed to deliver high-volume, repetitive, transactional tasks, from administrating changes in address to processing Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requests. It works by following rule-based business processes and interacting with systems in the same secure way that people do. We’re seeing it cut the cost-per-transaction of back-office processes by up to 95 per cent across our client partnerships, including at Neath Port Talbot Council, and drive down the processing times.
Shouldering these large volumes of time-intensive work, it frees-up employees to focus more of their time on handling complex citizen enquiries, ensuring their issues are resolved quicker.
By partnering with Arvato, we can help you understand how citizens interact with your services, where efficiencies can be made and what technologies you can integrate to deliver real transformation.
Contact us to learn more about how we can support your organisation – CRMSE@arvato.co.uk