If any other public sector colleagues out there are in the process of reviewing their telephony and looking at their systems and processes, I would strongly say take a look at RingCentral. Come and meet the guys, get them on site and let them show you what they can do for you.
Deputy Chief Executive, South & East Lincolnshire Councils
Local authorities are under pressure like never before to become more efficient and demonstrate the impact of every pound of public money spent. In an effort to do just that, three innovative Lincolnshire councils teamed up to share resources and work smarter.
This is how Public Sector Partnership Services (PSPS) was born, a Local Authority Trading Company, which is wholly owned by the following Lincolnshire local authorities: South Holland District Council, East Lindsey District Council and Boston Borough Council. The company has been operating since 2010 and delivers a range of customer and enabling back-office services for the councils, including: Human Resources and Payroll, Financial Services, ICT, Digital and Print and Design, Customer Contact, Revenues and Benefits, Health and Safety, and Lifeline (a 24-hour personal alarm system service for vulnerable people.)
Through the collaboration and sharing of services, PSPS has saved the councils a substantial amount of money – around £23m between 2010 and 2020 – and this is set to continue, with a further £9m of savings anticipated by 2030.
Replacing a tired and costly on-premises phone system
PSPS operates three contact centres that are often the first point of contact for the councils' residents. Its team responds to around half a million contacts per year through various channels: phone, face-to-face, social media and email. Being able to consistently deliver exceptional standards of customer satisfaction is the top priority for the company.
However, PSPS’ contact centres were reliant on ISDN lines (due to be phased out in 2025) and an on-premises phone system that was nearing the end of its life. It was becoming increasingly costly to maintain and upgrade, and it lacked data insights about call volumes and trends, hampering the organisation’s ability to plan services and staffing levels. PSPS started to look around for a cloud contact centre solution to replace their ailing telephony, and selected RingCentral.
Enabling hybrid working while maintaining the customer experience
One of PSPS’ corporate values is to work as ‘One Team’. This can be a challenge when you have people working from different locations, including remotely. However, RingCentral Contact Centre has made this possible and helped to ensure a consistently high standard of customer service, as Louise Crew, Customer Contact Team Leader at PSPS explains:
RingCentral has been fantastic. It’s allowed us to bring in agile and hybrid working for the team. We can physically take calls – it doesn't matter where you're sitting – and provide and maintain a really good service for the customers. It’s also positive for the retention of staff and showing that we’re one team.
Harnessing data to improve efficiency and service design
Thanks to RingCentral’s intelligent, skills-based routing, managing call queues and staffing levels is now much simpler, says Louise: “If we're short staffed through sickness or retention of staff, we can adjust the skills to ensure that we can meet the telephony demand.”
It’s much easier to meet demand of course when you have visibility of call volume patterns. Thanks to advanced analytics across multiple channels, the PSPS team now have this and lots of other valuable insights, so they can shape services according to need.
Michelle Sacks, Deputy Chief Executive of South & East Lincolnshire Councils, explains why this is crucial for all organisations, but especially publicly funded ones:
The ability to run reports and analyse that data, absolutely means more effective and efficient business…And let's be honest, we are all struggling with increased costs, therefore any opportunity that we have to analyse and identify and become more efficient and effective, has to be a win-win.
Future integrations for further efficiency
The next steps for PSPS are to make the most of RingCentral’s open ecosystem by integrating the new contact centre solution with key company systems, including Halo ITSM and its CRM platform. This will simplify workflows and drive further efficiencies. “We're very excited by the RingCentral system and what it can bring,” says Jackie Wright, Head of ICT and Digital at PSPS.
The RingCentral implementation has inspired PSPS to look at other areas of the business, where consolidating systems could reap similar rewards, says Michelle:
We've been able to see the success of RingCentral and it's fuelling our desire to look at other service areas and other systems that we may have that still operate individually across the three councils – because, again, it’s about efficiency and effectiveness. It's so important that we're able to maximise our bang for our buck.