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Macfarlane Telesystems announces today that Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council has launched a new Customer Contact Centre based on Macfarlane’s CallPlus contact centre technology.

The new Centre is designed to improve access to Council services as well as to meet Government guidelines for the introduction of Electronic Government by 2005. Sefton MBC is headquartered in Bootle on Merseyside and serves a population of 290,000 citizens.

The Customer Contact Centre, which went live in April 2004, provides online services to citizens in the Borough via phone and email and is open from 8.00am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday. It currently employs 21 full and part time Customer Service Advisors and handles around 15,000 calls as well as thousands of voice messages and emails each month.

All Advisors at the Centre ‘multitask’, handling queries relating to a range of Council services. These include: Housing Repairs, Cleansing Services (including Abandoned Vehicles, Commercial & Community Skips, Commercial & Domestic Refuse, and Street Cleansing) and Environmental Services (including General Licensing, Pest Control and Trading Standards).

The Contact Centre’s Voice Messaging Service was introduced at the beginning of August in response to the large volume of calls being received, and gives callers the option of leaving messages as an alternative to holding for Advisors. The messaging option is available across all services. Sefton MBC is committed to responding within 24 hours to all messages left.

In Phase Two of the Contact Centre project, expected to be completed by the Summer of 2005, the Contact Centre will expand to offer the public a full range of council services including: Recruitment, Corporate Complaints, Technical Services, Planning, Social Services, Children, Schools & Families Services, Leisure Services and Revenues and Benefits.

The new Contact Centre has already had a marked effect on the quality of service delivered to citizens in the Borough according to Sefton Contact Centre Manager Samantha Musselle. “We’ve been very pleased with the feedback we’ve received so far from members of the public. Being able to pool our knowledge and skills into a dedicated Contact Centre team has certainly enabled us to handle queries quicker and more effectively”.

The Macfarlane CallPlus solution installed in the new Centre delivers Automatic Call Distribution with intelligent routing, Call Recording, Management Information Statistics, and Interactive Voice Response facilities with voice messaging. It is tightly integrated with both Sefton’s main Ericsson MD110 telephone switch and the Northgate Front Office CRM solution. The Northgate solution manages customer interactions, provides contact centre personnel with customer histories and other relevant data as well as creating customer records and logging calls.

“We’re very pleased to have been selected to work on this prestigious online project” said William Gray, Managing Director of Macfarlane Telesystems. “Macfarlane now has over 50 Local Government installations and we are rapidly establishing CallPlus as the No. 1 telephony contact centre platform in the public sector”.

“Sefton is a significant customer to Northgate, both because of the large number of citizens in the Borough and the breadth of services being delivered through the centre – which in phase two of the implementation is being extended to high profile areas such as Social Services. Sefton is pointing the way forward for other Councils looking to provide joined-up services across complex organisations. We are extremely proud to be extending our local authority work in the North West which now extends from Cumbria to Lancashire and down into Merseyside” said Steve Knighton, Head of Sales, UK Government Division, Northgate Information Solutions.

About Macfarlane Telesystems

Founded in 1987, Macfarlane is a UK developer and supplier of communications solutions to service providers, enterprises and public sector organisations. Its CallPlus platform supports a range of applications including contact centre, IVR and unified communications. The company delivers cost-effective, market-focused solutions directly and through strategic partnerships with vendors such as Northgate, Onyx, Sx3, Deloittes and Lagan.

Macfarlane has established a strong position in the public sector where it assists central and local government reach e-government targets, providing a citizen-centric approach while working within Best Value practices. Existing customers number more than 50 local councils including those within the Government’s Partnership programme such as Somerset Direct Partnership, the Warwickshire On-line Partnership and more recently, the Cornish Key Partnership. CallPlus has enabled these Partnerships to link their many local councils and create single 'virtual' contact centres that serve citizens on a county-wide basis. More details can be found at www.macfar.co.uk

Press enquiries:

Michael Gray
Gray Associates
Tel: +44 (0)20 8744 9168
michael@grayassociates.co.uk


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