16 November 2017
Buckinghamshire County Council: 3 Years On with Live Chat for Website
Three years ago Buckinghamshire County Council approached Click4Assistance regarding researching a way to make the council’s website more accessible to residents. They initially used the solution to identify any areas that were difficult to navigate or lacked information. The council experienced great feedback from residents who preferred the instant communication channel, therefore continued providing the service as ‘business as usual’.
The first area to have live chat for website implemented was school admissions, as they experience the highest amount of enquiries during July and August. Adding chat to the council’s website six months before the peak period, enabled staff members to become fully comfortable with the software, learning to optimise their availability status and know their individual limits, therefore being able to efficiently handle enquiries.
A representative from Click4Assistance visited the council and trained key members of staff who would then pass their newly learnt knowledge to other colleagues (train the trainer style). Due to the success of the communication channel, live chat was rolled out to other departments including libraries.
As part of the council’s Disaster Recovery strategy if they are having issues with their phone lines, the chat button is added to the homepage for easy access to receive all types of enquiries. The council is moving towards digitalising more services online, with one idea to remove their telephone numbers that appear on online forms. They wish to encourage residents to use live chat as the main communication channel, allowing the council to guide visitors through certain processes and sign post them to the right areas on the website whilst streamlining their resources.
“The way the public communicate and transact is changing at a rapid rate. The take up of mobile technology creates great opportunities for us to change our model of service and information for the public. This presents us with opportunities as an employer, enabling our staff to work more flexibly and efficiently to meet customer expectations.
“Residents expect ever better services and customer experience, e.g. the ability to access information and services online 24/7, as they can with many other providers, such as banks or travel agents.
“We must create a culture of continuous business improvement, actively looking at opportunities to digitise.
“Being innovative with ‘smart’ technology means we can transform local services and address difficult issues, such as congestion, traffic management and energy management. We must be at the forefront of the technology revolution.”
Click4Assistance released the new enhanced solution this year, ‘Experiences’ by Click4Assistance. The Council will be migrating from the current version to the new and improved interface. Live chat for website has been benefitting Buckinghamshire County Council for the past 3 years; however with more engagement tools available to increase the customer experience, the council will have more options and opportunities to digitalise services.
Council’s will usually hold physical resident meetings, where at their cost they will have to pay staff for their time, supply refreshments and have advertising expenses. Click4Assistance offers Meeting Rooms, where organisations can hold group sessions digitally, reducing their costs and increasing attendance rates, as it is a more convenient channel.
As Buckinghamshire County Council are looking to remove phone numbers from their online forms, ‘Experiences’ includes smartContact, customisable forms that easily gather visitor details, and Click2Call which allows visitors to request a free phone call, reducing long queue times. These enquiries are fed straight into the solution; therefore representatives can work in one central console rather than swapping between channels, increasing their efficiency when handling resident enquiries.
This is just some of the new enhanced functionality that will benefit Buckinghamshire County Council, for more information about their implementation or how ‘Experiences’ by Click4Assistance will benefit your local authority, contact our team on 01268 524 628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.