BoM to build call centre for weather advice

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BoM to build call centre for weather advice

One-stop-shop for rain, hail or shine.

Australia’s weather bureau is planning to create a contact centre to bring together disparate customer service arrangements and create a central hub for its direct customer interactions.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s website is currently the main port of call for consumers wanting to access weather information.

The agency also offers services through weather segments on TV, radio and print; a pre-recorded 24/7 telephone service; marine radio and radio fax broadcasts; and staff at its head office switchboard. The functions are currently delivered through five separate divisions.

The BoM wants to consolidate the services into one contact centre hub which would handle all direct customer interactions. 

As well as providing information to customers through various outlets including social media, the centre would also include sales of products and services, the maintenance of a customer database, and the ability to generate reports on the type, number and frequency of inquiries by individuals or groups.

The Bureau signalled a preference for a fully integrated solution rather than several “best in class” software products that would require integration.

The contact centre technology suite is expected to include a CRM, knowledge management system, call recording capability, the ability to measure customer satisfaction, and automatic call distribution across multimedia.

The agency will dedicate 15 full-time equivalent staff initially to the contact centre, and expects that to rise to 25 within the first six months. The growth in staff will be needed to handle the 400,000 calls and 30,000 emails the BoM is expecting in the first year, figures it expects to steadily grow.

The agency uses Cisco voice-over-IP as its current telephony platform as well as a legacy interactive voice response system at its regional offices. It will either replicate both or introduce an “acceptable alternative” within the new contact centre. 

The system is projected to go live on November 1 this year and be fully operational by January 1 2015. It will soft launch at the start of August in order to train staff and test the software. 

The agency declined to comment on the project due to sensitivities in the current tender process, but a spokesperson said its aim was to “reach the broadest possible audience and to provide information in an accessible, timely and professional manner”.  

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