When you’ve got a vehicle or driver-licence-related issue in Western Australia, you call the WA Department of Transport (DoT). The contact centre for Main Roads Western Australia is also under DoT’s remit and takes calls about everything from a hole in the road to updates on large infrastructure. The team handles more than a quarter of a million vehicle transfers and 150,000 medical assessments every year, supported by nearly 350 team members in a customer contact centre and a back office that handles up to 1.25 million transactions a year via emails or phone enquiries.

“Some of the work we do is seasonal, and we have peaks that we need to be ready for. Additionally, we need to be ready to react at any time when external factors influence our business, such as data breaches or vehicle recalls for example,” says Joan Brierley, Director Customer Service Delivery, Driver and Vehicle Service.

“It’s an organisation that breathes in and breathes out – we always need to be ready to react.”

In Western Australia, 1.9 million people hold a driver’s licence and there are 2.85 million registered vehicles: on any given day those people can reach out to DoT for help or information.

“Our team take calls for urgent issues like people who are broken down on the side of the freeway at midnight and need guidance, or everyday administration like licensing paperwork.”

Project success founded on real partnership

In 2020, the DoT was hamstrung by its existing systems, which didn’t allow it to adapt to the Covid pandemic. The telephony set-up made working from home very difficult and the email system did not manage or report on email types which was causing a startling volume of duplicate queries. Connectivity and VPN issues only added to their problems.

“Our telephony systems didn’t allow us to set up hotlines quickly; we found connectivity and reliability difficult when we were working remotely, and our technology had some constraints which didn’t allow us to be as dynamic as we would have liked. We didn’t even have a call back facility,” says Brierley.

“It was an unstable environment that made modern ways of working very difficult – our system wasn’t enabling us to build a better service and we were losing productivity. We knew we needed something that would give us a platform better and enable us in the future.”

DoT went out to the market with a tender that didn’t define what solutions they needed, but instead outlined what they wanted to achieve, letting potential suppliers come up with a roadmap.

Brierley says Datacom’s proposal was “by far the best”.

“We knew we wanted a marriage, not a one-night stand. We were after a real partner who would work with us over the next five years to realise our dreams – understanding our business and helping us with best practice operations.”

Queues cut, 25-day backlog eliminated

The original plan was for Datacom to work with the DoT project team, focus on the Genesys customer engagement platform and then roll out the email solution. But when instability in the back-office email system led to a complete crash, a new email system jumped to the front of the queue. With up to 25 days of email backlog in some queues – and customers repeatedly emailing the same questions to DoT – the back-office team was having to put in substantial additional hours to handle the workload.

“We might receive 300,000 emails, and 100,000 were duplicates – and another 50,000 they would pop back in overnight,” says Brierley. “The system was really manual, so we couldn’t see what had been dealt with; queries were being double handled. Suddenly, with the new system, we can see what the workload really is.”

Without double-ups, and with better systems in place for dealing with standard queries, the response time for customers has been reduced significantly. Brierley says the DoT team members like being able to view the number of emails they have personally handled each day, often competing with themselves to up their daily total.

Shorter wait times, happier customers

The next cab off the rank was the voice channel, which also made an immediate impact. Introduced in May 2022, Brierley says the transition to Genesys Cloud CX was seamless.

“We love it. It records calls from end to end, which cuts down on time spent clarifying things via email,” she says. “It also allows customers to opt for a callback, and that has been a godsend. Instead of waits of up to 45 minutes, we can manage queues much better. It provides an improved customer experience and its better for our team too. Call lengths are also reduced because the team don’t have to start their interactions by apologising for the wait.”

Ultimately there is real visibility of the workload and DoT team members get a sense of satisfaction from seeing the work being well managed and customers being served in a much timelier way.

Even teams who were adamant that they didn’t need such a sophisticated system have quickly been won over. “After just two weeks they all loved it.”

Greater flexibility allows more diverse hiring

The solution has saved considerable time, so the DoT team can focus on delivering outstanding customer service to people who need it most. Streamlined processes mean fewer customers chasing up queries, so staff can spend more time having meaningful conversations, leading to greater job satisfaction.

Another major benefit is the flexibility offered by Datacom’s solution and Genesys Cloud CX. Working from home is now painless. With the new system in place, the DoT has been a leader among WA government agencies in encouraging customer centre staff to work remotely. This greater flexibility means the customer centre can recruit a more varied workforce, including those with disabilities which prevent them commuting to the office and people who live in remote areas.

“Some people were commuting for 90 minutes each day,” says Brierley. “Now they can have a much better work-life balance, which has huge wellness value – we’ve given people more life back.”

Datacom’s mentoring is fostering in-house expertise

Just as the DoT team wanted, the partnership has been far from a one-night stand. Together, Datacom and the Department of Transport have built a genuine partnership.

“Datacom’s expertise across the sector, and the experience they have from running their own customer centres, means they’ve been able to upskill us. By showing us best practice solutions, they go well beyond simply providing a technical solution. They’ve given us ideas for future, insights into our business, and grown our in-house knowledge through their mentorship.”

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