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Chess Cloud PBX
Citizens Advice Rotherham & District is an independent registered charity that has been supporting the Rotherham community for over 50 years.
They have a team of volunteer and paid advisers dedicated to helping some of the area’s most vulnerable people. They offer practical up-to-date information and advice that is free, confidential, independent and impartial to over 12,000 clients annually.
Advice is accessed via the channel that best suits the client, whether face to face, using the drop-in service; by phone, via the internet or web chat.
The Coronavirus pandemic meant the closure of the drop-in service, with all appointments switching to video or phone, which created challenges in maintaining the high level of service the team prided themselves in delivering.
In addition, as shown by recent figures from Citizens Advice, the economic and social effect of the pandemic saw a significant increase in the number of people seeking help with benefits or employment in 2020, many of whom were contacting the charity for the first time.
The increase in call volume, and the challenges involved in moving to remote working, made it crucial that every single team member was used as effectively and productively as possible.
Citizens Advice Rotherham & District already used Chess Cloud PBX, the hosted voice platform enabling their people to make and receive calls from anywhere and on a range of devices.
The team were aware however that there was a lot more than the platform could do to help maintain the vital service on which so many local people were depending, and called on Chess to advise how they could use the platform more effectively.
Chess responded quickly, first taking steps to understand both the existing and new challenges being faced.
Call recording was essential. By listening to inbound and outbound calls, quality control can be maintained, the skills of existing advisors developed, and new staff and volunteers trained more easily.
Chess set up ‘softphones’, so that calls can be made using laptops, and they also showed how to make 3-way calls.
Chess organised an online demonstration of how queue monitoring would work, and the benefits it would bring. They explained the supervisor licencing that would be required, and detailed the technical requirement involved in reconstructing inbound queues and reinstating the QMetrics functionality that had dropped during the move to home working.
Key to realising the full potential of the system lay in ensuring the team had the knowledge and the skills required, and so full training for the relevant people was proposed, with a ‘train the trainer’ strategy that means knowledge can be shared and transferred with the organisation as necessary.
Following evaluation, the decision was made to proceed with options proposed by Chess. Citizens Advice Rotherham & District has found the enhanced visibility of call volumes and workload has meant they can now better manage resource.
3-way calling, in particular, has had a big impact, allowing advisors to talk to creditors and third parties with the client also on the call - resolving more issues at the first attempt.
Queue management tools have helped direct calls, and give callers information about the queue that they are in and alternative options, while the training provided by Chess has made sure that they were very quickly able to realise the return on their investment.
Most importantly, Citizens Advice Rotherham & District have been able to maintain the level of service that is so key to supporting local residents at a very difficult time.
"I'm extremely happy and positive about the service we get from Chess. It's made all the difference in helping us to help our clients navigate the difficulties so many of us are facing at the moment."
- Nick Bussey, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Rotherham & District