Isle of Wight council call centre: Max wait times nearly double since January

The maximum time Islanders are being forced to wait to have their calls answered by the Isle of Wight council has near doubled in just three months from January – but it’s still down on last year.

Telephone:

Calls to the Isle of Wight Council in April faced up to 35 minute delays.

A report, due to go before tonight’s (Tuesday) scrutiny committee, shows the maximum delay experienced by callers has increased since January — from 20 minutes to just over 35 minutes.

Last year was 40 mins
However, this is a year-on -year decrease. Last year, the maximum delay experienced by callers was over 40 minutes.

A £100,000 boost, given to the contact centre last year, has not enabled the recruitment of permanent roles, but has allowed more fixed term positions to be given to the team.

Council tax queries dominate
The Isle of Wight call centre handles approximately 50,000 calls per month, with the greatest number in relation to council tax.

Because of this, the contact centre team have been moved to sit next to the council tax team, to help handle enquiries more efficiently.

Tech not helping
Although the council is focusing on developing online self-service transaction, the report says 27 per cent of Islanders are aged over 65, and 23 per cent have a long term illness or disability that make them unable to use alternative contact methods.

The report adds:

“The number of calls received in the contact centre is decreasing and the speed of answer is improving due to a number of service improvements.

“However, there are still instances where customers are waiting too long for it to be answered.”


This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Ed

Image: peddhapati under CC BY 2.0

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4 Comments on "Isle of Wight council call centre: Max wait times nearly double since January"

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richardshanklinite
I trust that the report was not by yet another consultant. As it would seem obvious that the council tax department causes most of the calls has anyone looked at what the problem is ie waiting months for repayments of council tax already paid and numerous phone calls to chase it amongst other simple things that don’t get dealt with for weeks due to the backlog. That… Read more »
wendyh31
When I moved house this time last year I spent over an hour and half on hold and was told that because “everyone was on holiday” there was no one to answer the phones. Then the operator laughed and said that would teach me to move house in the summer. If they don’t take the problem seriously themselves, then how can we expect the council to sort… Read more »
supersal52
I think the council contact centre staff are doing a really good job and the stats refer to the LONGEST wait time, not AVERAGE. Yes, it should be shorter, but there may not be enough people staffing the phones through no fault of their own (budget) and of those who are, working as quickly and efficiently possible on each call is crucial. It can be a challenge… Read more »
eddo

Why use the telephone system, email of write a letter sent via the Royal Mail postal system, once done send with the signed for service.