Calderdale Council

Live Chat 24/7

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/ service

We launched chat in August 2014 9-5 Monday to Friday to support customers who want to access the organisation online and help them to stay online. From the outset it was clear customers were keen to use chat as a way of communicating with us even with no marketing and despite it only being available on limited webpages.
Due to it’s success and following a review of Out of Hours Service to evaluate resource requirements, we decided to make chat available 24/7 from May 2016.

Why do you think it should win this award?

Calderdale Council have always been pioneers as far as Chat is concerned. We really believe Chat is has invaluable benefits both for the customer and for the organisation. As well as contributing to our overall online Channel Shift, Chat has also helped us achieve a 4 star SOCITM website rating for the second year running as we use real time feedback from the Chats to improve the functionality and user experience.
By expanding to 24/7 we are responding to those customers who want to do their business with the Council outside the usual office hours. Instead of sending an email if they are struggling to find what they need online, they can speak with a person immediately who can signpost them, resolve their issue for them or give them guidance on how they can resolve their issue. We have had excellent feedback from customers:
‘Excellent service considering it is 1.10am!’
‘I was very surprised to click on chat and actually get through to someone even at this late hour – how refreshing to see a Council following the lead of the private sector’.
‘I won’t have to ring tomorrow now – brilliant!!’.

What are the key achievements?

95% of customers are either satisfied or very satisfied with the service they have received Out of Hours.
Expanded Chat to 24/7 at no extra cost or resource to the organisation
Online transactions now equate to 23% of all contacts to the Council.
Recognition in several publications such as the Government Technology Newsletter
Hosted visits for several other LA’s and public sector organisations to share our model and best practice approach to Chat.
Contributed to achievement of 4* SOCITM Award
Broadened the skills of Customer Service Advisers as well as adding variety and more responsibility to their role. Also provided a secondment role for advisers as a Digital Adviser giving them an opportunity to be involved in the implementation of the Chat project.
75% of customers would have contacted us by phone if they hadn’t been able to resolve their query online with the support of Chat which equates to almost 37k calls!!!
Almost 50k chats since August 2014. Since 24/7 was implemented we have steadily received an extra 500 chats month on month.