Amazon Connect weeknote, w/e 15 May 2020

What is it?

Amazon Connect is a new IVR/call handling system we’re trialling in our Neighbourhoods Contact Centre. It can automate certain types of calls, which should free up Agents to deal with more complex matters. We want to establish if residents will benefit from and trust an automated system for basic enquiries. 

What have we done?

It’s been a slightly quieter week, on the Hackney side at least. Our main focus has been on the payments compliance issue. Our first mitigation, to transfer the call to a colleague on the Puzzel system, will not work. Our supplier has devised a workable solution, but given the time and money that would require, we have agreed to not record calls during the pilot. This will be an interesting learning point for the evaluation: what difference will not recording make to the overall experience?

Our supplier, Mission Labs, has been making good progress on actually setting up the service. After the API was deployed last week we had to make a couple of minor tweaks to it so that it handled postcodes correctly. I’d like to thank Matt in the Development team for his flexibility here and for helping us out. Kameel has also started work on the infrastructure changes required to the firewall and call routing. 

We’ve also made progress on new(er) devices for some of our agents. With such a quick mobilisation to home working, there’s quite a mix of devices in use and some of our agents are using quite old laptops that won’t play well with the new service. Now that we have a proper policy and process in place for allocating devices, these very old machines can be swapped for a newer computer. Big thanks to Yvonne and Paul for agreeing this. 

Thinking has now turned to success criteria. We had some in outline, but they weren’t quite right. Although things like platform stability and uptime will be important, we want to focus more on strategic outcomes:

  • Customer experience
  • Fit with operational needs (reporting, ease of use)
  • Fit with strategic needs (cost, our tech principles, data strategy)
  • Long-term value (e.g. growing new skills within the council)

We’ve put some plans in place for the first two points, and a service assessment should tease out the answers for the second two. We’ll schedule this in around week 3 of the trial. 

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