Council’s telephone system hits ‘magic minute’ target

Telephone calls to the Isle of Wight Council are now answered, on average, in 60 seconds or less, following a substantial investment in its contact centre.

The ‘magic minute’ target has been met or bettered since August after council investment in staff, changes to working practices, plus a revamp of online services.

Council leader Councillor Dave Stewart, who pledged to make improving waiting times a priority when he entered office, praised staff for achieving the milestone.

“The time Islanders were waiting to speak to the council was unacceptable and this tremendous improvement is great news and testament to the hard work of staff and their desire to find innovative solutions,” Councillor Stewart said.

“The wait was initially reduced from more than five minutes to under five minutes and now it’s down to 60 seconds on average.

“This is now a service that is fit for purpose and one that is vitally important as the contact centre deals with 600,000 calls a year.

“I thank the staff for all their hard work on achieving the magic minute. I know they are continuing to focus on improving residents’ experience when they call and are spending more time with vulnerable customers who need additional support.”

To meet the minute target, funding was provided to recruit additional advisors and both the council tax and housing benefit teams moved staff to sit within the contact centre so calls could be resolved at the first point of contact.

The council’s housing benefit and bill paying online portals were also improved and self-service kiosks installed in Isle Help at County Hall.

Going forward, the team is looking at automating processes, developing online transactions to make services more accessible for customers and reviewing correspondence to make it easier to understand.