Much has been written about e-government in recent months, and Tony Blair's PIU report pledge to have 'all online by 2005' has caused a furore of debate. Customer Interaction Management provider, Noetica, commissioned a survey of local government professionals in the UK that sought to attain their views of, and preparation for, e-government. The authorities surveyed knowingly represent over ten and a half million citizens in the UK, and 40% of those currently provide between 50 and 700 services.
Who Was Asked?
Preparation For E-Government
How Many Services Online By End Of 2002?
What Does The Citizen Really Want?
Involvement In Pathfinder Projects
Collaboration With Other Authorities
Responsibility For The Creation Of Forms
How important is the call centre to your e-government operations?
Authorities were asked to rank the call centre in order of importance to e-government. Over half gave it a grading of 1 (the highest) with a third giving it a 2, or saying that it is equally as important as other e-government enablers, such as kiosks. Participants were asked if the traditional (voice-only) call centre is up to the task of e-government, and almost half believe it isn't.
Despite opinion to suggest the call centre is not up to the task of e government, its value within existing services can clearly be seen. The chart above shows citizen contact regarding revenue and benefits to be the highest use of a call centre's time. This is followed by social services, housing and refuse queries, and demonstrates the important citizen-facing role currently played by the call centre. The responsibility of running the call centre does not seem to be undertaken by a central body in the council. This survey reveals the responsibility scattered among many departments: from social services and housing, to general customer services departments, to a specific e-government set-up and an environment group. As with the creation of forms responsibility lying with the specific department, it seems the same is true of call centre operations.
To enquire further into how the call centre may exist within e-government, the survey sought to find out how integrated the call centre is with online activities. Findings suggest a multi channelled approach to citizen contact in the future.
Participants were asked how they saw the role of the call centre in e-government, and 80% say it will become more integrated, with many believing that this will be so with specific applications. No authorities surveyed believe it will become isolated.
Interestingly, 70% of authorities who do not currently have a call centre say they plan to run one. The majority of these (46%) plan to have one up and running within the next year. This is indicative of the way that call centres will arguably evolve into 'contact' centres that integrate with online communications, and support e-government.
Restrictions Of Website Technology
Published: Monday, August 26, 2002
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