Ntiyiso Consulting has successfully completed Call Centre Consolidation and Redesign project for the KZN Department of Transport. The project was aimed at providing a single point of contact for the public of KZN on all matters relating to transport that the public may want to enquire or be provided a service on. To achieve this, Ntiyiso Consulting had to amalgamate all the existing call centres, including the emergency services, and also redesign the entire call centre system so that it also includes the new services not already offered in the existing call centres. For the implementation of the new call centre, Ntiyiso Consulting needed to develop training material on the new (call centre) processes and ensure the training, provided by trained trainers, was of the right standard and outcome.
Ntiyiso Consulting’s role in the project was conceptualization and development of a solution for the new call centre, as well as monitor the implementation process, i.e. building of the new call centre. Finally in this regard, Ntiyiso Consulting’s role was also to write out the RFP in conjunction with the departments officials, as well as help with the evaluation, for the appointment of a service provider to build the new call centre based on our design.
Apart from having to understand the transport sector and its myriad of services, the main challenge in the project was having had to deal with the amalgamation of call centres which ran not only on different platforms, but with different rules and processes, which were guided by the nature and type services they offered. Adding to the challenge was that the new call centre had to be more responsive to the diverse public of users (which ranged from accident reporting to seeking approval for new building plans affecting roads). This meant that the new call centre had to interface with the department’s back end systems to be able to pull information on the go. The second main challenge was amalgamation of the people themselves from the various call centres. As if the technical challenges were not enough, in addition to dealing with the new organisational structure for the single call centre, we have to manage the issue of skills, since under the new call centre, everyone would now deal with a much broader type of queries that they would have been accustomed to in their previous, stand alone, call centre.
With vast amount of experience in the business Services that we have in the company, were able to choose an effective approach to the problem. Instead of paying much attention to the different call centre systems, we took a view to design the new call centre as if it was not an amalgamation of the existing ones, although the new design was informed by the services and information sources of the current ones. This allowed us to have the kind of call centre that is fit for purpose (and not just fit for amalgamation) in terms of the services and service levels. It also allowed us to design the new call centre around the back end systems from which information will be sourced to respond to or process service requests from the public.
To manage the diversity of the call centre’s that were to be replaced, we then worked out a method by which each of the individual call centre’s could be merged to the new design. This process effectively created a series of disparate interfaces between the new and the old call centre. Those interfaces served to create harmony between the new and the also.
With regard to the skills, the people that is, we did a skills assessment for each of the call centre personnel in order to identify skills gaps between the old skills requirements and the ones for the new call centre. Training materials and a rollout programme for the various skills sets for each of the new roles were developed. Trainers were then trained to deliver the training to the rest of the staff. Ntiyiso Consulting’s role in this regard was to monitor the effectiveness of the training that the personnel got ensure that they are ready to take over their new roles in the new call centre. Populating of the organisational structure for the new call centre was left to management to decide. However Ntiyiso Consulting did provide advice to management in this regard.
The outcome of the project was not only a success, it also brought into question the effectiveness of some of the internal processes which the call centre had to interact with. This alerted the department of the need to re-aligning and optimize many of the internal processes, which would result in operational improvement.
The skills level of the personnel was improved significantly from the training material and programme we provided. Their understanding of the department’s business in its totality also increase significantly since they were now dealing with much broader issues/services than the individual call centre they had previously worked in.