24 January 2019
Salford City Council Lead the Way for Digital Transformation with Online Chat Software
Steven Fry, Head of Customer and Digital Service at Salford City Council speaks with journalist Graham Jarvis on Click4Assistance’s behalf for the Government & Public Sector Journal, as the local authority wins awards for their digital approach, and talks about their online chat software implementation that was part of their submission.
During Digital Leaders week 2018, Salford City Council was awarded the winners of Digital Council of the Year, and the overall Digital Leader title at the DL100 Awards. The latter award was chosen from the winners of all the categories, making the council the best of the best.
Steven commented, “It was an amazing feeling to hear Salford City Council’s name being announced as the winner at the event, it’s testimony to the hard work the council had put in. Our live chat facility featured in the submission as evidence of how we are providing customer services in a way that our residents want. Our call handlers can respond to 4 enquiries via live chat at any one time compared to just one via the phone.”
Over 3 years ago Salford City Council approached Click4Assistance to streamline resourcing and support their residents online. Discussions about everything from the solution’s capabilities to security and strategy initiated the council’s implementation.
Steven considers online chat software to be a great addition to the council’s customer service “We have carried out a lot of analysis around digital capabilities within the city to make sure that technologies such as live chat would be utilised, and around 85% of our citizens in Salford are digitally capable, hence the reason we implemented it. The council runs a digital first strategy – from end-to-end service design to face-to-face contact and telephony. The aim of this approach is to ensure that the council can cater for everyone living within the city.”
Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector
Over the next few years artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots will play a more prominent role within government and public sector contact centres, which will specifically tailor the user experience and journey.
Steven comments “We’re interested to see chatbots being used elsewhere as this could be a potential enhancement to the digital experience, allowing easy, tailored access to services on a 24-hour basis. The likely uses would be to help manage demand so that we can free up staff time to spend with residents who need more support.”
“AI will help to design and enable true public sector reform by understanding user needs, what services people with the city want to access, and to provide early insight for prevention and early intervention. This goes across health, social care, and debt, most of the wider determinants of health. What we are certain of is that whichever solutions we use intelligence-based workflow will be one of the biggest impacts for the organisation.”
Talking about Salford City Council’s plan for using AI and Machine Learning in customer service, he explains that its teams are at the point of refreshing its digital strategy for the next 3 years. The purpose of this agenda is to consider how the council can best provide its services and link those aspirations with the relevant technology. Having said that, he comments: “We can see that AI and ML would allow for differentiated approaches to delivering customer services. This is about getting the right information and to support people within the city.”
Visit the Government & Public Sector Journal to read the full article.
For more information regarding how Click4Assistance online chat softwareand AI chatbot can help your council’s digital transformation strategy, contact out team by calling 01268 524628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.