Spurred by the necessity to support remote working in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown order in the UK, in addition to implementing a new cloud-based communications solution in line with its wider cloud-based ICT strategy, Manchester City Council has implemented the 8×8 Contact Centre to keep vital services running safely for its more than half a million residents throughout lockdown.
Supporting one of the largest metropolitan districts in the UK, the council commenced a detailed procurement process two years ago. However, in light of the Covid-19 outbreak and the UK government’s mandate to work from home, the council has fast-tracked the solution deployment to keep vital services running while ensuring the safety for both residents and staff.
During the peak of the pandemic, it was essential that the social care team was able to continue assisting the city’s most vulnerable residents around the clock, while keeping agents safe, as well as essential emergency control and financial assessment teams. A Covid hub was also established to answer residents’ queries relating to the coronavirus.
The 8×8 Open Communications Platform was said to have been selected due to its enhanced flexibility and ability to connect contact centre agents across voice, video and chat.
Working to tight timescales, the software enabled 120 critical service agents to operate from anywhere, including home and other remote work settings, in a matter of weeks, enabling agents to answer inbound calls from residents at home, using just their laptop and a headset, without the need to redirect calls. By the end of August, this will have increased to 250 agents supported by the new system.
With the first stage of roll-out designed to keep critical services running, the council now plans to roll out a number of advanced features including co-browsing functionality, call-back queues and call conditioning to reduce call-waiting times and improve service for its residents.
“The safety of our staff has been of the utmost importance throughout the pandemic as we continue to support Manchester’s residents through this challenging time,” said Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council.
“As we transitioned to the cloud… the response from our contact centre agents has been fantastic. We’ve been really pleased with how our staff have welcomed the cloud communications solution and look forward to seeing the benefits that the new features will bring in future.”