The deployment of queue-busting technology is helping Canterbury City Council’s customer service centre reduce the time members of the public wait to see an advisor, resulting in better resolution of queries.

The Council’s customer service centre handles queries from more than 12,000 customers every month concerning more than 70 services delivered by the Council, from bill payment and benefit enquiries through to planning and refuse collection.

The technology from vendor Qm Group is located on the Council’s service centre reception desk as well as across each of its five service areas. Customers arriving at the centre are given a ticket by the receptionist and are routed, depending on the customer query, to the customer service point where an advisor with appropriate skills can deal with their enquiry.

Customers are called forward by LCD screen displays, which provide directional signage with appropriate prompts. And the visual prompt is supported by a electronic voice based call forward system. When the screens are not being used to direct customers to customer service executives, they are used to run media sequences that promote Council services and provide general information to the public.

The system runs across the Council’s existing Citrix network solution and provides detailed visitor statistics, allowing the council to analyse demand by time of day and service that will help with future scheduling.

Cathy Eastwood, customer services manager at Canterbury City Council said: “Customers could end up joining a queue and discover they had joined the wrong queue for the service they required before. The old system also meant we had to man all customer service positions with highly skilled staff just in case someone arrived with an unusual query. In reality, this meant we had highly qualified staff spending the majority of their time processing relatively basic enquiries and when they were actually needed to deal with a complex query, requiring their specialist skills they were already tied up with a customer.

“The Qm solution means we are able to make better use of our resources and allow our specialists to focus on successfully resolving a customer’s issue.”