City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder made a rapid migration of its core telephony and contact centre platform to RingCentral’s cloud-based solutions. For the first time, the City has a single, integrated voice platform across all sites over a geographic area the size of Iceland. That’s improved communications internally, enhanced the services provided to the City’s ratepayers, and provided a platform for future functional enhancements and customer service gains.
1895, merged in 1989
1895, merged in 1989
RingCentral had all the integrations we needed; it integrated with Active Directory and Microsoft Teams. It wasn’t resource intensive for IT; we weren’t having to upgrade our internet or other systems to accommodate the solution, and it was very user-friendly from a phone and application perspective.
ICT Manager, City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
Better and more reliable communications across disparate connectivity between sites
Improvements in both employee experience and customer experience
Out-of-the box and future integration possibilities with other corporate applications
Rapid user acceptance and increased adoption of other collaborative applications
The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder (the ‘City’) was created in 1989 by the amalgamation of the Town of Kalgoorlie and the Shire of Boulder, but has a history dating back to the 1890s when the Municipalities of Kalgoorlie and Boulder were originally formed. Located almost 600km east of Perth, the City serves a population of 30,000 residents and encompasses an area of approximately 100,000km² – roughly the land area of Iceland. The region is famous for the discovery of gold in 1893 and continues to be an important centre for mining and associated industries today.
Unlike many councils, the City directly operates and manages most of the facilities and services in the region, including the airport, golf course, and waste water systems, making it one of the most diverse and geographically dispersed local governments in Australia.
The City’s voice communications were serviced by an ageing on-premise PABX that was unreliable and required a lot of support. “We had to restart it every single night to keep it working. If we didn’t, during the day the phone calls would just drop out,” said Alyce Spokes, ICT Manager, City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Limitations on the phone system also meant that calls between some of the City’s sites had to be made externally.
The City also struggled with an outdated contact centre that offered limited functionality and had minimal reporting capabilities. It also entailed a difficult process to create new users and onboard new customer service agents that could take days to complete.
“We wanted the ability to easily configure the IVR to give our ratepayers a better customer experience, and for all our sites to be on the same internal platform so that anyone who rang in on one of our numbers could use the IVR to be transferred to the right spot,” said Spokes.
Two other important solution criteria for the City were having integration with Microsoft Teams and a mobile application for the phone so that a user’s device could also operate as a full company phone, explains Spokes. “A lot of our staff are rarely in the office or at their desks, but only having a mobile phone or simply transferring calls to our mobiles doesn’t always make it easy to contact someone. It also doesn’t give you any awareness or visibility on what’s coming through to our phones.”
Upgrading to RingCentral
The City selected RingCentral MVP and RingCentral Contact Centre as the ideal solution to meet all its key criteria.
“RingCentral had all the integrations we needed; it integrated with Active Directory and Microsoft Teams. It wasn’t resource intensive for IT; we weren’t having to upgrade our internet or other systems to accommodate the solution, and it was very user-friendly from a phone and application perspective,” said Spokes.
The decision to move to RingCentral was facilitated by the City’s ability to purchase through the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) Preferred Supplier Panel, which saved the City time by avoiding the need to undertake a tender process and ensured cost savings by getting the best price available from the supplier in the market.
“The WALGA panel is good for local governments because it has already vetted the suppliers, so it does take some of the steps out for us. We started the process in July and August 2021, and we had implementation in September,” said Spokes.
Implementing RingCentral’s cloud-based service has ensured that the City can operate on a single enterprise telephony platform, despite the limited connectivity available at its more remote sites.
Prior to deployment, the RingCentral project team completed network testing to ensure that all sites would operate effectively.
“There was quite a bit of connectivity testing before we rolled out RingCentral. One of the biggest unknowns was our refuse facility that only has 4G coverage, but we tested the solution in-house on a 4G router for a few days and we had no issues,” said Spokes.
“One of the hardest things in local government is finding a solution that can just slide in and not be another resource draw. The RingCentral project team was fantastic. I sent them a list of all the things I wanted, and they came back to me with little green ticks on everything. I found the whole process of implementing RingCentral to be very easy.”
The City undertook the migration to RingCentral as part of a broader project to upgrade its entire IT environment, including its microwave links between sites, and physical server and storage infrastructure. “All these projects were important to improve our overall compliance in mitigating operational risks,” said Spokes.
Consolidating on a RingCentral platform also gave the City the opportunity to standardise on telephony handsets and headsets, which streamlined user training and hardware configuration. That helped the City with user acceptance at a time when other major upgrade projects were taking place. It has also given users time to discover the benefits of using the embedded RingCentral functionality in Microsoft Teams as well as the RingCentral app on their computers and mobile devices. RingCentral’s distinctive ring tone via the mobile app ensures that calls to their regular office extensions are easily distinguishable from direct calls to a user’s mobile.
Improving the Customer and Employee Experience
The biggest benefit from the RingCentral implementation has been the improvement in the customer experience for the City’s ratepayers, stated Spokes.
“The ability for our staff to be contactable anywhere, the communication between all of our sites and being able to connect our ratepayers with the correct person have made a big difference in the experience ratepayers have when they are dealing with us.”
“The reporting functionality in RingCentral Contact Centre means that we can start to track what our customer experience is actually looking like – how quickly phone calls are being answered, how many are being resolved on the first instance, and other data that will help us improve the ratepayer experience as a whole,” Spokes continued.
One of the side benefits for the City has been the increased adoption of Microsoft Teams across the organisation. While all staff had access to Teams, only 5-10% had been using it prior to RingCentral, but the percentage had increased to 83% Teams utilisation in just three months with the addition of RingCentral’s embedded contact functionality.
Now that the solution is in place, the City will be focussing on using RingCentral’s reporting to tailor its internal training, and making sure that ratepayers are getting the assistance they need when they are contacting the City. That will be augmented by plans to integrate RingCentral with the City’s TechnologyOne Ci Anywhere platform when ratepayers call in for advanced record keeping and deeper business insights.