How to handle a caller

Wednesday, 01 October, 2008

Bedfordshire Police's Call Handling Centre (CHC) has won through to the finals of the CCF European Contact Centre awards - the only force or emergency service to be nominated.

The nomination follows an independent 'bench marking' report into the performance of police call centres found that 90 per cent of callers were satisfied with the way their call was handled by the Bedfordshire force, which answered most calls within 20 seconds. This figure is compared to 79 per cent for police forces generally, 81 per cent for UK organisations and 74 per cent for other public sector organisations.

Adam Gould, CHC manager said, "I am delighted with the results of this report. Such a high satisfaction level demonstrates the service we are giving to the people of Bedfordshire. We know there is a general dissatisfaction with contact centres but this proves ours bucks that trend."

Over the last year, the Call Handling Centre has introduced Typetalk for the hard of hearing community and a translating telephone service for people whose first language is not English. Another new service being considered is an SMS texting service, allowing the public and Force to communicate by text message. This is initially going to be trialled with the hard of hearing community.

Other results from the report include:
• 58 per cent of calls to Bedfordshire Police were resolved first time, compared to a police average of 49 per cent
• The call handlers' ability is rated as 94 per cent satisfactory, compared to 92.4 per cent across the police generally.
• Overall public satisfaction with Bedfordshire Police CHC is 93 per cent - this is 2.6 per cent above the police average and significantly higher than call centres generally
• The force answers 999 calls within five seconds on average, compared to a 12-second average across other forces
• 87 per cent of non-emergency calls to Bedfordshire Police are answered within 10 seconds, compared to 57 per cent across police forces generally
• It receives 4 per cent more calls on a night when there's a full moon
• The last weekend of the month is always the busiest
• Less than 20 per cent of 999 calls to the force are for real emergencies.

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