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Letter: GBC Response Times Will Improve

Published on: 21 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 21 Jan, 2022

From: Joss Bigmore

leader of Guildford borough Council and R4GV borough councillor for Christchurch

In response to comment from Howard Fisgar made on: Dragon Interview – Council Leader Spells Out What is Being Done to Improve Caller Wait Times

Following my recent interview with the Guildford Dragon I understand there have been some questions from readers regarding the numbers that I quoted relating to our Customer Service Centre.  

For the week ending January 14, GBC received an average of 838 calls a day. 44 per cent of these calls were answered by an employee in an average of 6 minutes and 20 seconds, with 51 per cent of those calls answered within 20 seconds.  

This does mean that 56% of calls were not answered, and we do not have a way of measuring how long these callers waited before ringing off.  But we do know that on January 10 we had 400 repeat callers out of the 853 calls we received.  To illustrate that point, I called British Airways four times yesterday before getting through, so that is one caller generating four calls about one issue, in my case BA not answering 75 per cent of my calls.

As I said in the interview, this performance is not where we want it to be and I apologise to everyone that has spent time waiting for their calls to be answered.  Our team are working hard, but are currently under strength, we have five open positions that we are trying hard to fill which will increase capacity and improve service.

In the meantime, we have just launched new functionality to allow residents to request call back rather than sit on hold.  Following resident feedback, we are also constantly improving our automated call routing.  

I would also like to thank the 20,000 households that have signed up for MyGuildford which reduces demands on our Customer Service Centre.  We will get better and I’m grateful for your patience as we emerge from this challenging period.

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Responses to Letter: GBC Response Times Will Improve

  1. Martin Elliott Reply

    January 21, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Again, my comment was about all communications with GBC, not just phone calls.

    Could GBC please confirm that the Customer Service Policy 2013 is still the performance indicator?

    Ad hoc cherry-picking of any responses is not an adequate metric. If this is taken seriously, then monitoring a standard policy performance indicator and reporting monthly should be done.

    Also, if the aim is to improve and meet the written performance, what is the implementation planning and success criteria (eg 95 per cent meet the standard within three months).

    What is the usage of the “MyGuildford” portal? This is more important than the number of users fooled into signing up.

    I find the full GBC website more useable than MyGuildford, so why the vanity project rather than tweaking the main website?

    Editor’s comment: Cllr Bigmore’s response was to Howard Fisgar’s comment.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    January 22, 2022 at 9:52 am

    I’d like to have had a response within a few minutes when I phoned GBC in December, regarding a failure on its Planning site. I waited 30 minutes and gave up. I finally got an answer when I sent an email. Not good enough.

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