Brisbane City Council is the largest local government in Australia with over 8,000 employees across six divisions. Council’s Contact Centre, within its Customer Services Branch, is the initial contact point for customers interacting with Council and manages an average of 2,000 requests for information or services per day via multiple customer channels, including social media, email, face to face and phone.
In 2013, Council introduced the customer relationship management system OPTIMISE as a replacement for their bespoke request management system. OPTIMISE delivered upon its vision with integrated telephony, improved reporting, streamlined processes and integrated knowledge management.
While OPTIMISE achieved what it set out to do in 2013, by 2018 there were clear opportunities for improvement and to leverage off new process improvement methodologies and new technology. A two-year project was initiated with the Customer Solutions Team taking the lead. The objective was to enhance the OPTIMISE experience and address areas of now ageing technology, this included core elements of its infrastructure as well as telephony and knowledge management. The project also extended its objectives to improve inefficient legacy processes, customer data integrity and system integration.
A Project Team was formed, including a Project Manager, Change Managers, technology partners and Subject Matter Experts from the relevant business areas. Discovery workshops and requirements gathering identified specific improvement opportunities, which were then formed into a set scope outlining achievable goals. The overriding objective for the team was to ensure the culture and the people using the system have a rewarding experience and Brisbane ratepayers receive value for money and outstanding experiences.
To ensure we could deliver on this philosophy of ‘people and technology’, the team trained and delivered with new methods, utilising Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) and Lean Methodologies as well as a combination of Waterfall and Agile project delivery methods. This enabled us to expand on skills and capabilities whilst improving processes and implementing technical solutions. The Project Group intentionally included people with non-technical skills to allow for a true customer experience to be incorporated in the deliverables.
The Project was implemented across five major focus areas including design, process improvement, change impact, configuration and testing through to project go live. These covered existing process pain points and improvement opportunities. A review of over 4,000 different processes within OPTIMISE was undertaken, change impact assessments made through to the development of training plans with the design, build and test of the new script flows. End users from the Contact Centre were engaged throughout and ongoing feedback was incorporated into the new solution.
For Project Go Live, the deployment to our production environment involved a 24 hour OPTIMISE outage with a mitigation plan for business impacts. The Go Live occurred during a critical time for Council, which involved navigating the impacts of the pandemic whilst preparing the Contact Centre for storm season. The Project Team also provided support to the Contact Centre users for a two-week period, post go live, to ensure any issues were addressed in a timely manner and assistance could be provided as needed.
Customer Solutions were able to implement a solution that delivered the technology that the business required for now and into the future. We achieved multiple process improvements by the significant reduction of call handlining times, migration to a cloud platform and the implementation of integrated request management solutions deeper into the organisation.
The vision for OPTIMISE in 2020 was built around the foundations of ‘people and technology’, the Customer Solutions Team successfully delivered upon this to create outstanding customer services and community experiences that matter.