15 March 2018
Support Your Residents Online this Easter with Live Chat
The long Easter weekend is approaching, meaning many members of staff will be enjoying some well-earned time off, some may even be extending the period to fit in with the school holidays. This can leave the council with skeleton staff or even closed for a period of time.
Residents may wish to find out about possible changes to their regular refuse collection day or may need to obtain additional parking permits for visitors during the Easter period etc. Therefore they could require help navigating information or completing online forms. Councils can implement live chat software to instantly connect the individual and representative in real-time.
Representatives can handle multiple chats simultaneously which increases the productivity of the team whilst presenting cost saving opportunities, and helping to reduce pressure on resources. They can answer residents questions quickly via text based messages, as during a session operators can view what the visitor is typing in real-time, giving them an understanding of what the enquiry regards, and a head start on preparing how they are going to respond. It also gives them a chance to browse the Predefined Replies library, selecting an appropriate answer that can be edited before sending to the resident, ensuring a speedy and accurate response.
Easily Signpost Residents
For residents who cannot easily locate the information they require, representatives can automatically redirect their browser to the relevant page using the Auto-Navigate feature, which helps signpost individuals to the correct area. Alternatively, if the information is readily available in a digital format, documentation can be sent directly to the visitor during the chat via file transfer.
Some residents may be experiencing difficulty completing forms online. An operator can use the Co-Browse functionality to view a replica of the webpage the resident is browsing and advise more accurately as they gain full understanding of where the visitor is facing issues.
If a resident has started a chat and their enquiry is about a specific service that the council provides (Council Tax, Permits or Adult Social Care etc.), their chat can be routed to a representative with the correct area of expertise. Alternatively, if they have multiple service questions, other representatives can be invited into the conversation to answer the questions relevant to them, this reduces having to refer the enquiry, increasing first contact resolution rates.
Should all operators be unavailable or logged off, the chat channel will default to its offline status. Many councils choose to hide the chat button whilst in this status to reduce the pressure of the workload for representatives. However, other local authorities will display an offline window that includes a form to continue gathering residents’ enquiries, which can be actioned when an operator becomes available. The alternative option for the offline form is to display an unavailable message to present the council’s operational hours for their chat service.
Real Life Examples
Many local authorities across the UK are implementing chat to increase their online support as they move services online. Sunderland City Council optimise their chat channel to help signpost and advise residents as they use their online portal. Buckinghamshire County Council use the communication tool for school admissions and libraries enquiries. They also use chat as part of their Disaster Recovery should they experience an issue with the phone lines, by adding the chat button to their homepage when necessary. Rother District Council uses chat on the Council Tax section of their website, to answer residents’ questions efficiently. Others are adopting chat on a wider scale and placing the communication channel across the entirety of their website.
Chat is a flexible communication channel that all types of councils are implementing to fit their requirements and improve services to residents. The communication channel is not just for Easter and is beneficial to the public sector all year round.
To find out how the Click4Assistance solution can seamlessly fit with your council’s digital transformation strategies, book a free tailored demonstration by calling our local authority co-ordinators on 01268 524628 or email theteam@click4assistance for further information.