This report provides an update of service delivery across all channels and statistical information to support the report.
The Customer Services Manager provided members with an introduction to the report. She explained that the report highlighted the areas where the customer service teams helped and assisted the districts customers. She confirmed that they handled approximately 3000 webchats annually. She drew members attention to appendix 3 in the agenda pack as it highlighted all the different contact channels available to customers. She also advised that call volumes had seen decrease in numbers and that this was due to number of available trained resources as well as other contact channels being chosen and used instead of just the telephone option. Turning to appendix 5 she explained that showed the decrease in the ‘come in’ figures, the number of people coming into the Civic Centre and or Bognor Regis Town Hall, she also confirmed that the zero figures highlighted the pandemic timeframe. She also explained that recently an appointment system had been put in place at both the civic and town hall locations. Confirming that the customer services teams were covering both receptions and assisting customers with the best route to have their query resolved, which may involve a variety of options from a video call with a specialist advisor or an in person appointment where needed. In summing up she also confirmed that any individuals presenting as homeless would also be assisted by the staff on the receptions.
In turning to the debate, members were invited by the Chair to ask any questions if they had any, a summary of which is below.
It was queried how many employees there were in the team. It was confirmed that the team was made up of 23 Full Time Equivalents (FTE) when fully staffed. However, the team were currently 4 FTE short as well as 1 member of the management team short. It was confirmed that all Customer Service team members were trained, and all took calls, especially during high peak times.
Clarity was sought regarding staffing at Bognor Regis Town Hall after several press reports had been seen over the last few months that stated the Town Hall reception had been closed and this differed from the presentation member had just received. It was confirmed by the Customer Service Manager that reception at Bognor Regis Town Hall was open and was now benefitting from the recently introduced appointment system. It was confirmed that no complaints had been received since the appointment system had been introduced and that the only staff that had been relocated from Bognor Regis Town Hall was some parts of the Revenue and Benefit Teams.
There was further discussion in relation to how working remotely had impacted the Customer Services Team, what were its advantages and disadvantages. This then led to discussion on how the team approached referring customers to the website to self-serve in the future. Where it was confirmed that the team will always encourage customer to take the self-serve option inclusive of talking the customer through the step-by-step process over the phone or inviting the customer in to use the computers available in the reception areas and showing them how to navigate the website in person.
The final question asked was, was there anything that the Customer Services Manager thought that the council could improve on. Where she confirmed that the team were doing everything they could to promote all the different contact channels available to all customers, but, feedback was that customers don’t yet trust the self-serve option and therefore it was important for the council to ensure that when a customer does choose a self-serve option, the actions required are completed and completed well, in order for customers to see the process working.
Members then noted the report.