London Borough Council

Avran was able to rapidly deploy voice capability for home-based council staff so that service users could maintain contact for essential services.

The Challenge

The UK COVID-19 lockdown was implemented at very short notice and led to the mass shutdown of places of work. Many organisations including local councils which provide essential services to the community were forced to send staff home and had an immediate need to provide remote working capability for Contact Centre staff. The council has enterprise-based Contact Centre and Back Office Telephony systems which had no easily deployable or cost efficient remote working capability. The existing systems had technical limitations due capacity and licensing issues and there was a large amount of professional services effort required. The council was in a situation where it could not answer the greatly increased call volumes from service users without sending employees into the office and risking their safety.

The Solution

The existing Contact Centre and Back Office systems had DDI delivery and IVR functionality which needed to be maintained. Avran proposed that new DDIs were provisioned on the Amazon Connect platform. Each DDI would provide a contact flow playing out a welcome and queue message before delivering the call to an agent skill group. The existing Telephony platform would be re-configured to divert the call to the relevant Amazon Connect DDI and Queue. The remote agents were built on the Amazon Connect platform and provided the required training on the use of the Amazon Call Control panel. In the case where the remote agent was unable to take the call via the browser-based soft phone (VPN restrictions or personal laptop issues) the desk phone option was used to re-direct the call to a mobile or landline phone.

The council was expecting to receive a large volume of calls and had concerns around the number of agents to take the calls. Avran suggested that a dashboard should be built on Cloudwatch to monitor the level of calls and queuing time as costs could increase greatly. Significant queueing times were initially seen as service users were suffering severe Covid related issues and needed council help and agents were also low in numbers. This data was fed back into the council so that resourcing could be assigned accordingly. Voicemail was also deployed for  queues which included a divert to voicemail when queue time was beyond the defined threshold thus reducing in queue time and cost.

Precision queueing was configured based on time-of-day check and availability of agents in specific skill groups.

Results and Benefits

The council were able to provide remote worker voice connectivity and continue to provide essential services to residents. These services were vitally important during the COVID-19 crisis and enabled the council to provide a level of continuity which they would not have been able to do with the existing legacy enterprise systems. The council were able to avoid the significant costs of enabling remote working on the existing Contact Centre platform. The Amazon Connect instance has handled over 150k calls since go live and continues to be used as the UK exits the pandemic.

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