City of Hamilton
Customer Contact Centre/Customer Service Division/Corporate Services
330 Wentworth Street North
Hamilton, Ontario L8L 5W2
Phone: (905) 546-2424, Fax: (905) 540-6161
Hamilton has the ninth largest population (504,000) of all Canadian cities and the fourth largest in Ontario.
There are 9,400 people employed by the City of Hamilton. The municipal government has a strategic plan that includes the following goal: The City of Hamilton wants to be an employer of choice for high performing public servants. Hamilton's City Council commits to value its civic employees and to work with the management team to create the conditions where all employees can excel in their service to the community.
Contact Centre Description
The City of Hamilton Customer Contact Centre (HCCC) is the front line response centre for the municipal government offices providing fast, effective and courteous service to the citizens and businesses of Hamilton. At the time of certification there were 23 full time customer service representatives. The types of calls handled at this call centre include inbound inquiries regarding city services such as taxes, waste management, health, special events and public transportation. Hours of operation are from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm EST Monday to Friday. All other times are handled by after hours service. This allows the City of Hamilton to provide 24/7 service. Customer communication channels include: phone, fax, email, web and post mail.
The organizational structure includes a Director, Manager, Supervisor, Analyst, Administrative Clerk and Customer Service Representatives.
The City of Hamilton is the first government contact centre to achieve Contact Centre Employer of Choice™ certification. They earned Standard level certification on the first assessment. This is a significant achievement and something for all employees to be proud of.
HCCC participated in the program so it could accurately target areas of opportunity for improving employee satisfaction and specifically focus on the following:
- New opportunities for employee development
- Motivating & guiding employees
- Open and trusting communications between staff and management
- Promoting their expertise throughout the organization
- From the data analysis and summary reporting provided through the program, the Customer Contact Centre has been able to quickly address focus areas for immediate positive results.
Key Performance Measures
Top 5 measures for performance:
- Service Level
- Average Call Handle Time
- Calls Received
- 1st Call Resolution
Technology & Ergonomics
The customer contact centre currently utilizes Centrex. They are migrating to an IP telephony platform which will include an IP based ICD system with many new features, functions and reporting capabilities. Digital recording equipment will be installed to improve quality monitoring and service delivery capabilities. An auto-attendant is used as opposed to an IVR system at the front end of every call. An Infovision display monitor ensures all customer service representatives have a visual reading of important call centre statistics and announcements on a real-time basis. The workstations are arranged in an open row configuration with low partitions and ample desk space. All reps have their own dedicated workstation (no sharing) with up-to-date computers, keyboards and headsets. Ergonomic experts and occupational therapists have reviewed the operation and made recommendations to reduce injuries and accommodate employees with special needs.
From a technology perspective, HCCC is well positioned for growth. Their new IP telephony and ACD capabilities will allow them to expand operations much more quickly and cost effectively then ever before. They have available workstations for adding new staff and are continually looking for new opportunities within the municipal office infrastructure to expand on the services they offer. The future looks very bright for the City of Hamilton Customer Contact Centre.
City of Hamilton customer service management knows how important it is to recognize and reward their employees. They also know that monetary rewards are not always the answer when it comes to motivating and recognizing employees. To that end, HCCC has a number of informal rewards that fit well within their culture. Some of these are food related and include: providing breakfast for staff, bringing in sundaes, pizza appreciation lunch (usually done after a particularly busy or stressful period). They also track the best calls of the day and hold a draw for a prize in conjunction with customer service week. Accolades from callers are tracked and recognition by the supervisor is sent to the employees by email. Customer Service Representatives are also provided the opportunity to work on special projects related to the Customer Contact Centre. Many of these attributes have resulted in HCCC maintaining a very low single digit attrition rate.
Contact centre culture and social environment
The centre culture is one that is very open and supportive. They have an open door management policy where employees are encouraged to communicate freely with their management team and peers. The HCCC is very people focused and clearly embraces employer of choice values and beliefs.
The social environment is very active.
The social committee is managed by the Customer Service Representatives with many events being organized throughout the year which include:
- Quarterly pot luck lunch
- Christmas Party
- Theme days – Hawaiian Day, Red & White Day
- Customer Service Week – breakfast, prizes, dress-up day(favourite country), sundaes, games (clothes pin game)
- Guess baby pictures contest
- Decorating workstation – seasonal themes
- Music allowed at workstation
- Celebrate birthdays – announcement on Infovision
- Baseball team
- Baby & wedding showers
- Euchre and bowling parties
- Theatre Tickets – group purchase discounts
Above and beyond
Above all of the official policies, procedures and structures that make the City of Hamilton Customer Contact Centre a great place to work, employees simply seem to really enjoy each other's company and have a lot of fun. Above and Beyond refers to the little (or big) extras that differentiates the City of Hamilton Customer Contact Centre from all the rest.
Here is a list of some of those extras:
- CCC Reps show a genuine concern and caring for the callers and their issues
- Reps are continually coming up with new ways to resolve issues
- Reps are very committed and take a personal interest in their work
- Exceptional customer service culture
- Live answer – no IVR
- Collaborative approach to problem solving
- Team environment – from upper management to front line representative
- Management is focused on being fair and flexible
- People are recognized as individuals – celebrate their uniqueness