Over a third (37%) of UK citizens have been denied critical information from their local councils because they couldn’t reach the right department through the customer service team.
This is according to new research from 8×8, which also found that one in five people (20%) missed council tax payments, 17% missed rent payments and 14% signed up for the wrong benefits because they weren’t able to get hold of the information they needed.
This is because it takes seven minutes on average for residents to get through to their local council, speaking to at least two different people to get through to the right department.
As a result, 71% of residents believe that the customer service at their local council should improve in line with recent rises in council tax.
The study also reveals that councils are offering a limited number of channels for residents to contact them on.
Around half of the public can contact their local authority by phone (58%), but when it comes to digital communication, just 50% of all residents say they are able to contact their local authority by email, 14% by social media and just 5% using a chatbot.
Nearly half (44%) of residents would value more digital communications channels from their local council to get a quicker and easier response to queries.
Despite residents facing a range of issues when contacting their local council, the vast majority (85%) say that they have also received good customer service from their local authority in the past.
When asked about what they value from these interactions, the most important factors were:
- Being able to reach a person to speak to (39%)
- Getting queries resolved quickly (38%)
- Getting their query answered the first time, without being passed between multiple agents or having to contact the council again (35%).
Mary Ellen Genovese, MD of European Operations, 8×8, said: “While there are countless examples of local councils delivering great service for residents with a human touch, our research reveals that many people are dissatisfied with their experience.”
“At best, this is an inconvenience, but at worst, residents are missing out on vital payments or services because they can’t easily get the information they need.”
“Yet many councils are still relying on legacy communications systems that can’t deliver the high-quality service that residents have come to expect.”
“While it won’t happen overnight, councils that use the latest technologies, such as 8×8 X Series, to bring all communications channels into one platform, are empowering their customer service teams.”
“With this type of technology in place, local authorities can ensure residents’ queries are resolved quickly, reaping the rewards of supercharged agents.”
For more from 8×8, visit: www.8×8.com