The City and County of Swansea serves a population of more than 462,000 residents and 19,825 businesses with everything from Allotments to Winter Gritting, Commercial Waste to Trading Standards, Housing Benefits to Social Policy and Care. Customer call handling is clearly a vital aspect of their service, with 210 agents managing 1,235 calls daily, five days a week.
Communications and contact centre legacy
Since 2016 Swansea Council had operated a multi-vendor communications and contact environment. This comprised core telephony from Cisco Unified Communications Manager, voice messaging from Cisco Unity Connection, a contact centre from Mitel Solidus and automatic call distribution from Netcall Liberty.
Call centre problems
With a disparate platform, unvalidated design, aging contact centre and no single technology integrator to support them, Swansea Council was sustaining numerous issues with lost calls, agent provision and multiple daily system restarts. This was clearly unacceptable in terms of customer care, as well as agent confidence and morale. Furthermore, the existing platform was not able to satisfy new statutory requirements for Welsh language provision.
Swansea Council wished to improve their communication capability and meet their statutory obligations, as well as enable better mobile working, and greater collaboration through social and digital channels. Their strategy mapped out a digital transformation in support of their key policies of safeguarding vulnerable people, improving pupil attainment, creating a vibrant and viable city centre, tackling poverty, and building sustainable communities. Stabilising customer care was an utmost priority.
The COVID effect
When the pandemic hit the Council had to accelerate their remote working strategy to accommodate a distributed workforce. All contact centre agents and critical Council business units needed access to their services over the internet from their homes and remote workspaces. Suddenly the timescales were tightened to mitigate the risks to vulnerable residents requiring essential customer care. The Council needed a secure, robust, scalable and resilient solution.