As part of a broader initiative to improve the quality of customer services, the Royal Borough of Greenwich set out to help contact-center agents manage enquiries more efficiently.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich worked with IBM Services to replace its outdated legacy CRM system with the user-friendly IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government.
7% reductionin average enquiry handling time since the solution went live
20% savingon the time and cost of email handling
100 dayssaved on development and deployment by choosing an out-of-the-box IBM solution
Delivering vital services
In the UK, local government bodies are responsible for providing a vast range of services to ensure a safe, pleasant environment for local residents – including managing certain welfare payments, disposing of waste, and housing eligible people. In Greenwich in South-East London, these tasks fall under the remit of the Royal Borough of Greenwich local authority.
The borough is home to more than 250,000 people, and – fitting the overall trend across London – the population has risen in recent years. As the number of residents continues to climb and budgets remain stretched, it is more important than ever for the local authority to find efficient ways to deliver services.
Tony Reed, Assistant Director for Customer Contact at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, explains: “We receive over a million customer enquiries every year, covering a diverse range of services. For example, some people call us about welfare payments to cover their accommodation costs, others contact us to arrange waste or recycling collections, and people who live in council-owned housing contact us to request building repairs. The majority of enquiries are handled by advisors in our corporate contact center.
“In the past, we relied on a legacy CRM system to help us manage customer enquiries. Over time, the legacy system became difficult to use and administer, and as new business requirements came in, it was becoming increasingly challenging to meet them.
“We have a clear and ambitious CRM strategy stretching beyond first line customer contact. We needed a flexible, scalable solution to meet these needs and build the platform in an incremental and agile way.”
Finding the right fit
After evaluating proposals from a range of vendors, the Royal Borough of Greenwich decided to replace its legacy CRM system with the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government (also known as IPSSMD-Local Government). The IBM solution provides a modern customer engagement platform based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and tailored specifically to the needs of local-government organizations, including support for online self-service capabilities, contact-center agents, walk-in centers, mobile users and more. For help during the implementation, the local authority enlisted IBM Services.
Huseyin Senik, Business Applications and Service Development at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, elaborates: “We felt that the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government offered a good fit with our organization, because the platform comes with an intuitive interface and a familiar look-and-feel, which would make the transition easier for our contact-center agents. Also, Microsoft Dynamics fitted well within our existing IT landscape and can be integrated closely with our back-office systems, reducing the need for manual transfer of data between systems.
“We chose IBM Services because we could see that the IBM team had clearly listened to our requirements and come up with a proposal that matched what we were looking for, giving us support precisely where we needed it.”
The Royal Borough of Greenwich worked closely with IBM to map and document customer enquiries relating to around 2,000 lines of business within the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government. With support from IBM, the local authority was able to simplify many internal data-entry forms to help contact-center advisors open and manage customer enquiries more easily. IBM helped the Royal Borough of Greenwich to deploy the solution and roll it out to around 200 front-office staff and 100 back-office staff.
Tony Reed continues: “Throughout the deployment, our priorities were to make the transition for customer-service agents as easy as possible, and to reduce disruption to the business. We frequently gathered feedback from users on the new system, then worked with IBM to implement the change requests.
“Our relationship with IBM was very collaborative. The IBM team was very open to listening to our ideas, and they provided helpful recommendations to us, particularly in terms of solution design. The IBM team helped us to deploy the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government very quickly; by choosing an out-of-the-box solution, we saved around 100 days of development and deployment.
“Furthermore, IBM helped us integrate the new IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government with the council back-office Symology system, which supports highway asset management. Integration work can often be messy and painful, but IBM worked quickly and carefully to complete the task smoothly and in a remarkably short time. We were very impressed!”
Following its success in moving customer enquiries onto the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government, the Royal Borough of Greenwich decided to extend the platform to replace its IT service desk, also with help from IBM.
“IBM helped us complete the service-desk implementation in just three months, including mapping out the various IT support requests and associated processes,” recalls Tony Reed. “In fact, the project was finished ahead of schedule.”
Achieving time savings
Now, when new customer enquiries come in by email, the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government automatically opens a new request and populates several data-entry fields, reducing the time and cost of email handling by 20 percent. In addition, agents are able to handle customer enquiries more efficiently, with less toggling between screens and a reduced number of clicks. Since the solution went live, the council has successfully reduced average enquiry handling time by seven percent.
Tony Reed remarks: “The IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government has been well received by contact-center agents, who already see how the software can help them to work more productively. Because the solution is so intuitive, a greater proportion of our customer-service staff can process email enquiries, and it takes less time to train new starters. Ultimately we hope that the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government will help us deliver faster responses to customers and better service.”
The IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government deployment feeds into a broader CRM transformation at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Ultimately, the local authority aims to gain a clear view of customer interactions across all channels by integrating disparate systems via Microsoft Dynamics, to help the council deliver services in a more joined-up manner.
The transformation even reaches as far as employees. Already, the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government is making life easier for the council’s customer-service personnel. Furthermore, the Royal Borough of Greenwich plans to integrate internal systems such as human resources and payroll within Microsoft Dynamics, ultimately paving the way for self-service access for employees.
As a next step, the Royal Borough of Greenwich plans to integrate the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government with the Local Land and Property Gazetteer property database, to ensure that property data is accurate and up-to-date.
Tony Reed concludes: “Our work with the IBM Public Sector Solution for Microsoft Dynamics - Local Government has built up a real appetite within our organization to improve the quality of customer services. In fact, we now have people coming to us to ask how they can get involved. It’s still early days, but we hope to achieve tangible improvements in operational efficiency and service quality.”
Royal Borough of Greenwich
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is a local authority in London, U.K., tasked with providing a broad range of services for residents.
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