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Achieving Better Communication and Connectivity in the Public Sector

The public sector is renowned for quangos and overly bureaucratic ways of working which appear to make sense to those on the inside, but not to the rest of us. Unfortunately, this can have real impacts on those who are trying to interact with public sector bodies.

But what do we mean when we talk about public sector bodies? This can refer to a whole host of departments and services that interact with the public over the phone and for whom the best communication headset is essential.

Emergency call handlers are a great example of where effective communication is essential, both with their colleagues, but also the public who may be in distress and require clear communication with emergency workers. But it’s not just emergency workers who can benefit, even the day-to-day contact centre staff dealing with housing or parking calls could benefit.

New Tech To The Rescue?

The Government’s Department For Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has been researching the use of chatbots since 2018 and published a number of findings across a series of services. The project, which was funded with an £80,000 grant spanned 13 Councils and investigated the use of chatbots in 4 service areas.

The thing is though, while projects like this may be welcomed by some, their use on a large scale doesn’t solve all problems for all users. Of course they can help point a user in the right direction if they need to report a pothole or complete another form, but these objectives could also be reached through a good on-site search.

Are Headsets Still Champions of Local Government

Of course, technology has its place in helping to reduce the demand on public sector and local Government resources and this includes the teams physically taking calls from the public. If you can reduce the volume of calls for tasks which can easily be completed online, then overall call wait times will reduce, but what about the remaining callers?

We must consider that those who call may have to due to accessibility needs, a lack of trust or experience in online facilities. But how can call takers in these areas of Government ensure the best experience for users who still have to call?

Systems and process optimisation can take you so far, but sometimes it’s the simple changes that can be most effective. We’ve spoken previously about how something as fundamental as the headset used by call takers can impact on call quality and wait times and the same applies to government-approved headsets.

Call Wait Times On The Rise

Despite the efforts of those running call-taking teams in local Government, call waiting times have been on the rise for a number of years. Research by the BBC in July 2022 showed that call wait times at York Council had risen from 42 seconds in 2019/20 to 18 minutes by July 2022, with 40% of callers abandoning their calls before they were answered.

A quick search on Google also finds dozens of similar articles from local media detailing how users are facing long wait times when trying to contact their local council.

But How Can a Headset Help Government Call Centres?

Whether for a Government video conference or call takers dealing with customers over the phone, an appropriate headset will help to bring down wait times in several ways.

Bearing in mind that users will often wear a telephone headset for prolonged periods of time, the comfort which a headset offers is essential. Ideally, something which is lightweight is a good start as the user will be less likely to notice any additional weight on the head, but this should also be combined with a product which is easy to adjust so that it further meets the needs of the user’s preferred wearing style.

As you might imagine, these basics, combined with a host of other features make the right headset practically unnoticeable to the user and as such they’re able to concentrate more on their work, rather than being distracted by constantly adjusting an ill-fitting headset.

Give Users a Choice

It might seem obvious, but allowing users to choose their wearing style of a headset can also impact their call handling performance. This of course applies in all sectors, but in Government and local Councils where call wait times are on the rise, something as simple as this could improve user performance and thus reduce those times.

A 1997 study by Furnham, Richardson & Miller into the effect of headset-wearing preference on sales performance found that those with a preference for wearing a headset on their left ear only, outperformed colleagues who chose to wear headsets on their right ear only or on both ears. The study also found that forcing users into a left ear-wearing style did not improve performance.

This might seem like a small thing, but by allowing workers to choose their headset-wearing preference, you can help them perform at their best. JPL’s range of headsets offers the choice of left or right ear-wearing styles out of the box, meaning call takers can work in the most comfortable way for them.

The Way to Better Communications

It may seem like such a small thing, but something as simple as a headset can have a fundamental impact on the quality of communication between parties, resulting in better outcomes not only for the person using the headset but also for those engaging a public body.

Better outcomes can also be achieved more effectively and will potentially contribute to a reduction in call wait times, helping to prevent the negative media coverage some councils have seen over recent years.

Stay on Top of Call Queues With JPL

Speak to JPL today about how our range of monaural and binaural headsets can affordably help your public service team better serve the public. With a range of options available, we’ll give you all the help and support you need and can, in some circumstances, offer a free trial.

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