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News : Council Bosses Blasted Over Wait Times of Up to 40 Minutes
Paisley, Scotland, Aug 25, 2016 -- A report into call-handling at the council revealed average waiting times of 41 minutes.
Council bosses have come under fire after almost 20,000 people were unable to report housing complaints to its call centre.
A shocking report reveals only 77 per cent of customer calls in 2015-16 were actually answered by staff — meaning a massive 23 per cent of calls were "abandoned" as tenants hung-up the phone.
Councillor Mags MacLaren slated Renfrewshire Council over the drop in standards, which she says is forcing residents to hang up in frustration.
The SNP member for Paisley North West, said: "This latest report simply confirms the complaints councillors have been receiving from the public that the customer contact centre is failing.
"This report highlights that, when it comes to housing repairs calls, only 77 per cent were actually answered in 2015/16. Almost a quarter of calls — 23 per cent — are simply abandoned.
"This is a decrease from the 93 per cent of calls which were answered in 2014/15. The reason so many calls are abandoned could be the time taken to answer them.
"The report claims the average waiting time was three minutes and 30 seconds, with the maximum waiting time estimated at 41 minutes and 46 seconds."
The housing and community safety policy board report also reveals more than 77,000 calls were made to report repairs, equivalent to 59,000 calls answered, however almost 19,000 calls from residents were discarded.
Councillor MacLaren added: "One of the most common complaints I receive is the difficulty tenants have in getting through to report a repair.
"This report shows that only around one in five calls — 21 per cent — are actually answered within the target time of 40 seconds. That simply isn’t good enough.
"I can hardly believe that some tenants have held on for over 40 minutes to get someone to answer the phone.
"The SNP group has previously raised concerns over the services provided by the customer contact centre and this report simply backs up all of our concerns."
She added that she and her colleagues have been encouraging residents to call them direct to report repairs to save them time and money in trying to reach the contact centre.
A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: "We are working to continually improve all the services we offer and we are taking action to address the issues at the customer contact centre.
"An unprecedented number of staff have left the centre to take up new posts, so we are continuing to recruit new staff.
"We have introduced Queue Buster technology so that customers can ask us to call them back, rather than staying on hold.
"We are working with the housing service to identify the factors that cause additional demand, such as severe weather leading to a big increase in calls due to wind and rain related damage.
"We are confident that the action we are taking is making a real difference to our customers."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Renfrewshire Council:
Renfrewshire (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. Located in the west central Lowlands, it is one of three council areas contained within the boundaries of the historic county of Renfrewshire, the others being East Renfrewshire to the east and Inverclyde to the west. It also shares borders with Glasgow, North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire. The term Renfrewshire may also be used to refer to this historic county, also known as the County of Renfrew or Greater Renfrewshire, which remains in use as a registration county and lieutenancy area.
Published: Friday, August 26, 2016