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News : Council Contact Centre Failure After 20,000 Calls Go Unanswered
Renfrewshire, Scotland, Sept 2, 2016 -- Council bosses have been blasted after 20,000 housing related complaints went unanswered at the customer contact centre.
The Gazette previously reported the same issue in April, where residents have had to wait more than 30 minutes when phoning Renfrewshire Council’s contact centre.
When it comes to housing repairs calls, only 77 per cent of calls in 2015/16 were actually answered.
Almost a quarter of calls are simply abandoned when frustrated tennants are forced to hang up due to long waiting times.
The report claims the average waiting time was 3 minutes and 30 seconds with the maximum waiting time estimated at 41 minutes and 46 seconds.
Councillor Mags MacLaren (SNP – Paisley North West) has expressed her concerns following the report to the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board.
She said: "This latest report simply confirms the complaints councillors have been receiving from the public that the Customer Contact Centre is failing.
"One of the most common complaints I receive is the difficulty tenants have getting through to report a repair.
"This report shows that only around 1 in 5 calls (21%) 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 have previously raised our concerns over the services provided by the customer contact centre and this report simply backs up all of our concerns."
"It has even got to the stage the we encourage council tenants to contact us direct to report repairs simply to save them the time and money of trying to get through the council’s contact centre."
Over the last year, 30 per cent of employees moved on from working in the contact centre which had an effect on the length of time taken to answer calls.
The issue was brought to light at a number of council meetings regarding the issue of street lighting where councillors claimed their constituents were failing to get through.
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 Customer Contact 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 which 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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More Editorial From Renfrewshire Council
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: Monday, September 5, 2016