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Teaming Up on All Fronts: Creating a Multichannel Municipality

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How to adapt to the needs of municipal residents for a quick-fix, one-stop, multichannel support centre.

Ideally, your municipal contact support centre should function as a one-stop shop. Sending residents from one department to the next with nary a solution to their worries and you’ve set yourself up for big-time disappointment. Instead of passing callers around like you’re playing a game of hot potato, municipal contact centres must ensure that they’re equipped to address residents’ needs — no matter what.

Of course, as any regional contact centre knows, this is easier said than done. But through the power of up-to-date multichannel technology, skilled agents and adaptive third-party support, your municipality can effectively reduce customer complaints, increase accountability and remedy resident problems for a one-stop shop in municipal service.

Read on for insider tips on how to improve the quality and efficiency of your support centre.

Open Sesame: Better Service with Open Channels of Communication

Ever try your hand at a game of chirades? How about communicating with someone whose language you don’t speak a lick of? As fun as miming might be during family games night, when it comes to municipal service, your contact centre should be equipped to communicate with residents through any channel.

  • Go mobile-friendly: Many customers prefer to use their mobile device to access organizations’ websites. Make sure yours is updated for the mobile shift.
  • Integrate all channels for a seamless experience: Rather than waiting for residents to phone in, meet residents where they’d rather communicate, whether that’s through email, on livechat, SMS or social media. You never know which channel will be best for a particular resident. A study by eDigital Research found that live online chat had the highest customer satisfaction rates compared to any other channel.
  • Make use of bilingual agents: Ensure that you’ve got agents on staff who are fluent in both official languages to avoid getting lost in translation.
  • Multilingualism: If your municipal demographics indicate large populations of residents where English is not a first language, consider other third-party support alternatives that offer service in the resident’s first language and watch as satisfaction rates within these populations increase.

Keep the Light On: Providing After-Hours Support

When it comes to municipal needs, you never know when the demand for service will hit. Don’t shut down your contact centre once close-of-business rolls around. Be there for your residents after hours with these tips:

  • Outsource to around-the-clock providers: A 24-hour third-party service provider can maintain service support and your agents won’t be backlogged with inquires every morning.
  • Update interactive voice response: Interactive voice response (IVR) can help customers with basic needs both during and after official office hours, plus communicate with callers the best time to reach a live agent if you’re unable to offer around-the-clock live assistance.
  • Reply on-the-go: Encourage agents to respond to customer queries and concerns on their mobile devices when they’re waiting in queues at the grocery store or grabbing a cup of coffee.

Adapting to Improve: Meeting the Needs of Your Municipality

Because different municipalities and organizations often have different protocol and needs, your agents should understand the importance of adapting. Encourage agents to learn about the specifics of their region and use their unique skills to meet the needs of local residents.

  • Create an automated filtering system: By dividing incoming email inquiries, for example, into categories for the specific type of need, you can assign the best-equipped agents for each to an entire category of inquiries. In addition to ensuring optimal service, this can also increase agent efficiency.
  • Introduce a self-service interface: Self-service can not only help free up agent time, but also improve rates of customer satisfaction.
  • Customize reporting methods: Data reporting can be overwhelming for any organization, but all too often, service centres get stuck reporting irrelevant metrics, losing focus on the data that matters. Find out what aspects of data reporting are most relevant to your municipal service centre, and weed out the rest.

By following these essentials, your municipal support centre can utilize its team to most effectively serve its residents. Multichannel communication is a must for any contact centre, while after-hours support is all the more necessary in a municipal support centre where emergencies can happen at any time of day. Finally, adapting the specific needs and protocol of your municipality will help ensure that needs are met while no time is wasted.

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