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Oxford City Council 'won't answer' calls

Posted on Mar 14 2011
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 Some 82.4 per cent of calls were answered without the caller hanging up and rining back in December compared to 92.9 per cent during the same month in 2009.

 
A rise in queries when bin collections changed in October has been blamed. Residents were given one blue bin to put all recycling in instead of separate boxes.
 
The two call centres which handle daytime queries get 11,000 calls a month, and deal with other queries such as environmental health issues including rats and noisy parties.
 
The council’s finance and performance panel said the daytime service was “significantly off-target”.
 
Its report added: “It is of significant note that our performance at this time last year was considerably better and during the year investment has been made.”
 
The council’s target is 90 per cent.
 
Labour councillor Van Coulter, who sits on the panel, said unanswered calls would damage the council’s reputation.
 
He said: “It is important we get as many people through first time and resolve queries first time.”
 
He added: “There is an ambitious plan to radically improve this service.”
 
Council spokesman Louisa Dean said the figures covered two call centres.
 
She added: “In October we experienced a 70 per cent increase in calls at one of our centres due to the blue bins being introduced.
 
“This meant that we answered nearly 4,000 extra calls on top of the average 11,000 calls we receive a month.
 
“We are disappointed that we have not reached our targets as customers getting through to the council first time is a key target for us.
 
“The council is bringing these two contact centres together in the summer and this will help to improve the response time to customers calls.”
 
The council hit the headlines last year when it was revealed it had moved its out-of-ours call telephone service to a centre in Cheshire.
 
This saw a Barton call centre closed with five jobs lost.
 
During a weekend of heavy snowfall in early December, the council admitted the Cheshire hotline had lost calls due to the high volume of residents trying to get through.
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