How service is supposed to help residents
In April, Ashford Borough Council introduced a ‘self service’ telephone facility for inquires relating to revenue, benefits, and the environment.
The council has said that within the first 15 weeks of the service going live, 15,280 revenues and benefits calls were fully resolved without a customer needing to speak to a member of staff, and 3,769 calls were resolved by the council’s new environmental services number.
Residents were told about the new phone service when the council tax bills were sent out in March.
The council introduced the new system after estimating that a third of the people who called the council or the Ashford Gateway Plus for advice, could have had their query resolved by using the council website or this new phone facility.
As a direct result of the use of this service and the new website, the council says that customer service staff are now free to take the more complicated calls, which the phone system transfers to the call centre.
Cllr Neil Shorter, ABC’s portfolio holder for resource management and control, pictured, said: “This service exists to answer the questions we are most frequently asked.
“We know from the new website that people don’t have to speak to a member of staff as long as they get the answer to their question.
“Of course, clearly, we have to ensure that we have staff on hand to deal with the more in-depth questions that people have, which is why we have increased the number of phone lines so that staff are on hand to take these calls.
“But the self-service facility means people can get the information whenever is a good time for them to make the call.”