Test Valley upgrade will save time on customer service

Test Valley Borough Council will go live with a key customer service module in June that will improve the handling of basic inquiries and aggregate information for 30 customer service advisors.

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Test Valley Borough Council will go live with a key customer service module in June that will improve the handling of basic inquiries and aggregate information for 30 customer service advisors.

The Citizens Customer Service Access Module from supplier Gandlake will allow customer service advisers, to handle standard enquiries without having to escalate calls to management level. It also means data from various departments will be accessible in one place.

Test Valley receives 150,000 customer service calls per year, and it estimates that nearly a third of calls previously routed to other staff will now be handled by customer service agents.

The council will spend the second half of the year concentrating on making sure the “culture change” has taken place whereby staff understand the system and how to use it, and ensuring the system delivers what is needed.

Under the Gandlake CSAM system, Test Valley will be able to present its customer service staff with one simple view of key information, and easy-to-find answers to customer queries, Grimshaw said.

The system will tie into Test Valley’s iWorld software from supplier Northgate, which is the backbone of its data on citizens alongside the Uniform database and CRM software from Caps Solutions.

The Gandlake CSAM software also supports a part of Test Valley’s website that enables citizens to register online and see their council tax balance. Only 800 citizens are registered so far, but the council expects this to grow over the coming months as it is a new launch.

“Long term, we want to use the system in a way that people can have their own homepages, showing a whole range of information in addition to the council tax,” Wayne Grimshaw, customer services manager at Test Valley Council, told Computerworld UK. “They will be able to see information such as news in their area, what planning applications are in place locally, and even when their bins are due to be collected.”

The council will evaluate additional systems for this at the start of next year.

The importance of council websites offering online services was highlighted this month by Socitm, which announced that only one in three local authority websites offered transactional services.

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