SEFTON Council has revealed that since setting up a ‘virtual contact centre’ during the pandemic, staff have received more than 251,000 calls and dealt with 13,00 Covid-related enquiries.
During the health crisis, more than 150 staff members from the local authority’s customer services team have worked from home after a successful virtual contact centre was brought into operation.
In that time, more than 13,000 Covid-19 related enquiries have been dealt with, including requests for food parcels, questions about testing and vaccinations, requests for help from businesses and those seeking Test & Trace self-isolation payments.
Since the start of the pandemic, Customer Services teams have:
- Handled 251,000 telephone calls
- Issued 15,348 Business Support Grants worth £89.2 million
- Paid £910,000 to Sefton-licensed taxi drivers and processed around 9,500 online licence renewals
- Given out 4,813 payments for emergency help such as food provision and essential household items
- Awarded 2,701 Discretionary Housing Payments to support those struggling with rents and bills
- Amended 105,000 Council Tax records including discounts to those eligible for support
The council is reminding people that they can still access support.
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “Despite the continued effects of the pandemic, our Customer Services staff are very much here and available to support any Sefton resident that needs assistance with one of our services.
“Over the past year and a half, the team has worked incredibly hard to maintain continuity in helping people and businesses throughout such challenging times. They have made thousands of calls to the most vulnerable people in our communities and worked alongside key Council teams to ensure that financial support was processed quickly to support residents, businesses and workers like taxi drivers.”
During the pandemic, the Bootle One Stop Shop was one of the first customer service centres in the region to re-open safely to ensure that appointments could be prioritised for those who needed in-person support. More than 2,900 appointments have been offered throughout the pandemic.
The council’s One Stop Shop in Southport is now also open for pre-booked appointments for those who would prefer face-to-face support. Based at The Atkinson in Southport, appointments are available Monday to Friday between 11am and 4pm. On Stanley Road the Bootle One Stop Shop has appointments available every Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.
Cllr Paulette Lappin added: “We take pride in offering high levels of customer service to our communities across the Borough and despite the difficult challenges of the health crisis, we’ve actually retained our Customer Service Excellence standard.
“The standard demonstrates our commitment to a customer-focussed culture across our service. We strive to listen to our customers views about the service provided, and when possible, use their feedback to make changes to the way that we operate.
“Our focus is on timeliness and quality of service to ensure the best possible result for customers. So, anyone living in Sefton that needs our support, should not be afraid to get in touch whether that’s online, on the phone or in person, we are here to help you.”