Author and creative director Justin Brown profiles Consegna’s work, their clients, and offers insights into tech, community, business, and life. Mostly because he’s nosy and wants to learn.
This week he speaks to the team at Wellington City Council.
The Wellington City Council delivered a significant transformation of their IT systems and services last year. This included moving from an external, shared services model to in-house capability and the use of the latest technology including cloud-based resources. This has provided a solid foundation that allows for future growth for the Council and the city they serve.
This transformation of IT services and tools included the Council’s Contact Centre. The telephony platform had become unreliable and limited in its technical abilities. Applying changes to the call flows and managing events was difficult and a complex exercise. Enhanced features like AI was not available and could not be added. It became clear to WCC that we had to investigate and invest in newer technologies for our Contact Centre.
The Council’s Chief Digital Officer James Roberts says in considering the Contact Centre, ‘Ideally, we wanted a solution that integrated with our other tools and make the work environment for our Customer Service Reps “easy-to-use" enabling them to continue providing great customer service. ‘We considered Amazon Connect because we wanted a pure cloud solution. Amazon Web Services is an innovative solution and Council can leverage their platform to use the Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and chat-bot technology.’
Council’s Customer Services Manager Carol Wahrlich says, ‘Our customer base is very broad. We are the first point of contact for all types of users. We receive all manner of requests and queries associated with Council’s broad range of services such as building, parking, water, roads, street lighting, trees, animal control, social housing and facilities maintenance..
“The WCC’s phone lines are particularly busy during bad weather, with people reporting flooding, slips and wind damage and checking to see if events have been cancelled.
Carol says, “We were seeking improvements to give us greater control of the phone queue and messaging. We wanted to be able to manage these different call types, to stream enquiries. This enables our team to have a focus area, and spot any spikes in particular areas.
We’re able to give customers more information before they speak to an agent. One Interactive Voice Response option means we can direct people to our message, thereby reducing the number of calls and the number of times we have to answer their questions. This could be letting people know we are aware of and managing a large-scale incident. Or answering a very topical enquiry. We can tell people how long they’ll have to wait, and we’re using the callback function. We’re definitely improving the customer experience
Carol: “We looked into Amazon Connect which appeared to have all the functionality and adaptability and would integrate with our request management system. So, we booked Jan Fredborg from Consegna to join us for a demo, and from those initial planning stages, he was fully engaged and extremely responsive. He was very supportive of our staff and showed them exactly what they needed to know.’
Here are some technical aspects of Wellington City Council’s first release:
Recorded prompts, which shows that an entire team is ready to assist 24/7.
An offer of a callback if a person is waiting more than one minute in a queue, with the option to select another number to be reached at.
When an agent accepts a call, a whisper is played informing the agent of the originating queue, and if present, the reason for the call is based on menu selections.
All calls are reported and transcribed via Contact Lens.
Consegna has delivered the integration into FreshService as a custom application, allowing for name and case history to pop up in the agent’s interface.
WCC also has the option of adding extra features later, including personalised greetings, automatic routing of calls based on caller history, scheduling of calls using LEX Bot, and a service via Tess – the Consegna Digital Human.
Carol and James’ next six months will involve familiarizing themselves with Amazon Connect. New tech is a journey and Carol’s team is still learning how to use reporting capability, live dashboards, and historical reports. Although delighted, she understands it will take a concerted effort to look at what is available.
Carol: ‘We’re only at the seedling stage, but have already noticed positive changes. We’re definitely improving customer experience.’
James: ‘We're now on a journey to use the functionality that our technology can provide and to get the very best out of it.’