Cheshire Councils

mplcontact provides outsourced contact centre and customer service support for Cheshire councils handling both overflow and out of hours calls from residents on the full range of council services

The Cheshire Warrington & Halton Information Consortium (CWHIC), a consortium of district councils, emergency services and a county council, had outsourced their out-of-hours call handling requirements for several years but recognised that they would need to offer a significantly improved customer service in 2007 and beyoImage of Cheshire Councils Consortium logond to meet changing needs and exceed their customers’ expectations. CWHIC found their solution with mplcontact who ensured the citizens of Cheshire would benefit from day one of the new improved customer service.

In May 2007 mplcontact was awarded the contract for outsourced contact centre support for the Cheshire, Warrington & Halton Information Consortium (CWHIC), a consortium of district councils, emergency services and a county council. The service would support a range of customer services initially on behalf of 6 district councils as well as Cheshire County Council.

Although CWHIC had outsourced their out of hours call handling for several years, their requirement for 2007 and beyond represented a significantly improved service for their customers including a number of additional service requirements:

  • Handling daytime calls as routine overflow from councils
  • Taking all council calls at agreed periods
  • Ability to take and process payments
  • Regular and ad hoc outbound calling programmes
  • IT helpdesk support
  • Reception call handling and routing.

Importantly, CWHIC also required a first call resolution rate comparable with their members’ own call centres’ performance, irrespective of the time of call, with commercially enforceable SLAs for this and all other measurable performance indicators.

mplcontact’s service was launched in less than 7 weeks;  the implementation phase included the production of a bespoke call handling application. Application and all process testing, along with training for dedicated and bureau agents in four contact centres, took place during this initial phase. The service is tasked with answering 95% of all calls, irrespective of any call spikes, and with resolving 65% of calls at first point of contact.

Call types range from the simple to complex and include:

  • Benefits enquiries
  • Environmental health
  • Council tax
  • Adult learning
  • Electoral registration
  • Homeless
  • Housing
  • Refuse & recycling
  • Trading standards
  • Highways.

Results to date have been highly impressive with a significantly improved service being provided to the CWHIC partners’ customers. Indeed, all associated authorities have noted the operational and commercial benefits of the reduced demand on their council departments due to the high percentage of calls resolved by the outsourced agents; mplcontact consistently achieves a first call resolution rate in excess of 75% for all calls.

In October 2007 an additional service was launched on behalf of the Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service (CFRS) recording, prioritising and allocating requests for Home Safety Assessments on a 24/7 basis. This service represented a marked improvement on previous capabilities and it is anticipated that this will make a significant contribution to the CFRS targets for reducing incidents of domestic fires. Additional outbound research on the customer experience, from initial contact to the completion of Home Safety Assessments, was completed by mplcontact in February 2007 with impressive results in all areas of service being recognised.  In March 2008 a new service was launched for Cheshire County Council, managing emergency out of hours calls for the County’s Highways Department.

During 2009, it was announced that, due to their satisfaction with mplcontact’s performance, the CWHIC consortium intended to exercise their contractual entitlement to extend the contract again for all services by a further year.

Business benefits
  • Cost effective round the clock service
  • High levels of first contact resolution
  • Impressive levels of citizen satisfaction
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