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Friday, 19 July 2013

Staffing Shortage Leads to Customers 'trapped in a Kafkaesque loop'

 

Willaston and Rope Ward UKIP Councillor Brian Silvester has called on the Cheshire East Council to take urgent action to improve customer service.

He said," I  received a complaint about  the service residents receive when they ring the Council. The resident said, ' I have tried on numerous occasions in the last week to pay my additional fee for refuse collection only to become trapped in a Kafkaesque loop. I have waited for anything up to 20 minutes three or four times while being repeatedly told I am the next call to be dealt with. I even had the same message when trying to telephone another department to complain about the telephone system.'

The response to me from CE was that they had had staff leave and it was taking time to replace them. I am calling for urgent action to be taken because the current level of customer service is not acceptable. I am concerned because this is a front line service and when it is not working efficiently and this reflects badly on the Council's reputation for customer care. Perhaps the standing message could be re-recorded in times of extreme difficulty. The public would surely prefer this to hanging on indefinitely."

See e-mails below.

Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons)

UK Independence Party Councillor

Willaston and Rope Ward UKIP Councillor

Cheshire East Council

Tel/fax 01270 567757

Twitter @CllrBSilvester

From: BAYLEY, Paul
Sent: 10 July 2013 17:18
To: SILVESTER, Brian (Councillor)
Subject: RE: Cheshire East headquarters telephone system

Brian,

We have unexpectedly lost three staff trained in the same services due to resignation.  We have two skill sets within the contact centre (with everybody trained to answer the Information Point line) and are operating with a very lean workforce at present, given the financial pressures we are all under.  The loss of three people across the Contact Centre has an impact on the customer experience, but the loss of three from the same skill set has a quite significant impact on those services.  We are bringing more staff in, but unfortunately it takes longer to recruit and train the new staff than the month’s notice the leavers are required to give us.  We therefore experience a performance dip for a few weeks while the new staff are trained and get up to speed.

Regards,

Paul

From: SILVESTER, Brian (Councillor)
Sent: 10 July 2013 17:08
To: BAYLEY, Paul
Cc: 'dooley.sean@talk21.com'
Subject: RE: Cheshire East headquarters telephone system

Paul,

          Thanks for that. What is the resourcing problem? If it is staffing why are we not bringing more staff in?

Best wishes,

Brian Silvester
Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons)

UK Independence Party Councillor

Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor

Cheshire East Council

Tel/fax 01270 567757

Twitter @CllrBSilvester

From: BAYLEY, Paul
Sent: 10 July 2013 17:03
To: SILVESTER, Brian (Councillor)
Cc: LOWE, Lisa
Subject: FW: Cheshire East headquarters telephone system

Cllr Silvester,

We are currently experiencing extended telephone wait times in the contact centre due to some unexpected resourcing issues.  We aim to answer telephone calls on average within one minute, but during June this was extended to 90 seconds across all our services.  The wait time for some of our busier services was even longer, however, with customers calling about refuse collection waiting on average up to four minutes, and at peak times the wait could have been considerably longer, which has clearly been the experience of Mr Dooley.

We are working hard to resolve these resourcing issues and get wait times back to an acceptable level.  I have asked one of our team to call Mr Dooley to take his payment and see if there is anything else that we can do to help.  He is unavailable at present but she has left a voicemail and will attempt to call him again tomorrow morning.

Regards,

Paul

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