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SmartPoint delivers context-based, real-time customer information directly to the call centre advisor's desktop. available to help improve declining public sector customer satisfaction levels...

LONDON, UK - March 3rd, 2009 Software from SmartPoint Technologies is helping local government meet its commitments to National Indicator 14 (NI 14) - intended to reduce ‘avoidable contact’ between communities and local authorities - and which becomes a mandatory requirement for councils for the first time next month. Support from SmartPoint comes at a time when an apparent fall in customer satisfaction levels with local government services is putting increasing pressure on the public sector.

Examples of ‘avoidable contact’ include calls from citizens to chase progress on service requests. Such calls are usually of little value to either the citizen or the local authority and often represent a significant proportion of contact volumes. A focus on avoidable contact should therefore reduce call/contact volumes; increase customer satisfaction; reduce customer frustration; boost staff engagement; reduce service delivery cost; and increase the quality of customer experience.

However, the introduction of NI14 co-incides with the latest (January 2009) UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) that showed customer satisfaction levels with local government services have declined since July 2008 and indeed were ranked lowest out of any of the categories measured. In fact, local government customers were relatively pessimistic about future improvements, making it the only sector in which more customers believe service will get worse in the coming months.

So with the April 2009 deadline looming, is it all doom and gloom for local councils on the NI14 front? Not necessarily, according to Philip Briscoe, Marketing Director for SmartPoint: “First, the UKCSI survey showed that local government has the widest variation of any sector. In other words, the gap between the worst and best performing local government organisations is very large. Although the overall sector average was the lowest, one local government organisation scored the joint highest mark - showing that the sector is capable of achieving customer satisfaction excellence. Technology from SmartPoint may well have a role to play in helping councils not only meet their NI14 commitments, but help support many of the overall goals of the new performance management framework.”

According to the Cabinet Office’s Guide To NI14, “Reducing Avoidable Contact”, one of key areas of focus is where there is repeat contact with the customer, who has to provide the same information a number of times in order to carry out transactions with the council and its partners – for example, a customer being asked to provide information about a change of address to multiple parts of the council.

Software from SmartPoint is thus helping a number of local councils including Bromsgrove District Council, Ashford Borough Council, Medway Council and many others to deliver context-based, real-time customer information directly to the desktop, enabling people to make better informed decisions more quickly by providing them with extra information in context with their current task.

For example, SmartPoint has played a crucial role in helping Medway Council meet an array of demanding stakeholder objectives including Varney report national indicators, reducing contact centre running costs and meeting customer satisfaction targets, e.g. improving first call resolution. One of the key benefits of deploying SmartPoint software should be to provide a knock-on effect of reducing “avoidable contact” and helping local authorities deliver a more efficient service to their customers as part of the new NI14 regime.

About SmartPoint

SmartPoint delivers context-based, real-time customer information directly to the call centre advisor's desktop. This enables contact centres to optimise customer service, operational efficiency and reduce costs by automatically providing advisors with relevant and timely information thus avoiding the need to manually search multiple systems.

As well as providing a superior customer experience, SmartPoint allows advisors to fulfil contact centre targets by increasing first call resolution, providing a single view of the customer on one screen and reducing call times therefore increasing efficiency.

SmartPoint Technologies is a member of the TIS Software group of companies. The TIS Software group has many hundreds of customers operating in more than 30 countries including Abbott Laboratories, Bailey Teswaine, Fuller Smith and Turner, Fired Earth, London Transport, Virgin Media, Midwich, City of London, Medway Council and Ashford Borough Council.

For more information contact:

Philip Briscoe
Marketing Director
SmartPoint Technologies
T: 01628 551312

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