Overcoming ageing technology hurdles key to modernising police engagement
Shub Naha, Director of Critical National Infrastructure at Content Guru discusses.
Despite steady progress, communication methods between police forces and the public have failed to keep up with modern technologies and growing citizen expectations. As a result, there is an urgent need for forces to embrace technology in order to improve both public and call handler satisfaction. Although the value of shifting to a digital communications model is clear, police forces are being held back by legacy technology that is forcing them to maintain the status quo. With strict targets from the Home Office also putting pressure on forces, they must migrate away from legacy technology to unlock highly scalable and flexible solutions.
Advancements made in sectors such as retail, utilities, and financial services have resulted in consumers being able to contact brands through a wide variety of digital and social channels. In contrast, the majority of contact between the public and police forces is predominantly carried out through voice communications such as mobile and fixed-line calls. The same can be said about the lack of self-service currently on offer. In other sectors, the public often have the ability to self-serve by, for example, checking order and delivery statuses for e-commerce purchases online. However, when speaking with a police force they would be unable to obtain an update on an ongoing case or check their crime reference number without speaking to a call handler.
Lack of alternatives fuelling phone frustrations
Recent statistics highlight the struggle to meet demand through voice interactions, with data from one of the largest UK forces showing 64 percent of 999 calls are answered within 10 seconds, compared with the national target of 90 percent. The number of abandoned 999 calls has risen and the time before calls are answered has more than doubled to 27 seconds. It’s clear that increased call demand, complexity, and citizen expectations are posing a challenge for forces and ageing on-premises technology is contributing to this.
It’s not just the public that are frustrated; call handlers are too. Dealing with stressful and traumatic calls on a daily basis, they need to be supported by technology, not held back by it. What is the solution for police forces looking to improve contact management and call handler experiences? Many industries have already shifted towards cloud-based technologies to experience the benefits of flexible, scalable and intelligent solutions, something police forces can also benefit from.
Overcoming legacy challenges to unlock modern engagement
Cloud contact centres have the ability to improve engagement with citizens by opening up digital channels to sit alongside traditional contact methods, decreasing the number of incoming calls received. Forces that have adopted this technology and evolved their communications are able to open new channels and the public will have noticed popular platforms such as Facebook Messenger now being employed as a method of contact. Being able to contact the police via social media not only reduces the load on voice communications but allows people to reply more easily to appeals that are shared via social channels.
Automation can also be utilised to provide case updates for citizens who would otherwise be required to speak to a call handler. Forces that deploy this technology and achieve an omni-channel model give citizens the ability to engage on their own terms, and allow for effective call deflection strategies to reduce the burden on voice enquiries. The same cloud-based technology is also used to identify vulnerable citizens and route them to the most appropriate call handler, which is essential to supporting their needs effectively.
Data-driven insights powering effective communications
By deploying cloud-based technologies that deliver an intuitive, easy-to-use, and single-stack platform forces will also improve the experience for call handlers. To reduce call handler attrition and absence levels, forces must shift away from unreliable, slow, and inconsistent legacy on-premises models that greatly reduce call handler satisfaction. One key benefit of the cloud-based single-stack approach means there is an effective exchange of information, making data easily accessible. As a result, eliminating inefficient repetition of repeating information, allowing call handlers to gather insights faster and solve issues quicker. In-built automation also means that repetitive administrative tasks are taken care of, eliminating this traditional bug-bear of call handlers, allowing for increased job satisfaction.
The sure-fire way to improve contact management and better support both the public and call handlers is to move towards a cloud-based model. With the benchmark for engagements continuing to increase, it is important forces begin their journeys now, or face an increase in missed targets, dissatisfied citizens, and burnt-out call handlers.
Shub Naha is Director of Critical National Infrastructure at Content Guru
Europe’s leader in cloud CX and CCaaS and one of the world’s major providers of large-scale, mission-critical services, Content Guru supplies services to over 1,000 large enterprises and government organisations.
Content Guru’s cloud-native omnichannel communications solution, storm®, offers virtually limitless scalability, unmatched integration capabilities and industry-leading AI.
Content Guru ensures customer experience and contact centers meet the needs of every customer, seamlessly. storm is used by public and private sector organisations across the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pac, in markets ranging from finance and healthcare through to government and utilities. Public sector customers relying on storm for mission-critical services include the NHS, Serco and US Federal Government.
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