Citizens Advice is a nationwide membership network of local charities, providing free, independent confidential information to people, about welfare benefits, finances and debt, health, consumers issues, legal, employment, family and relationships and many other issues people have. Citizens Advice Northumberland covers the entire county with 9 offices, in Ashington, Amble, Alnwick, Berwick, Cramlington, Morpeth, Prudhoe, Hexham, Blyth and outreach in Haltwhistle. Here, they look after the issues raised by the people of Northumberland, over the phone, via email, through web chat and in face to face drop-ins and appointments.
In 2017, we sat down with Citizens Advice Northumberland, to discuss the day to day running of the organisation and how telecoms processes and technology could be improved to improve the organisations ability to support more people more effectively. At the time, they were using 3 separate traditional fixed line phone systems, contracted individually to each site/cluster of offices, with little to no room for expansion or movement. The system was dated and we soon found that users were restricted to what they could do for their customers.
On review of the communications set up, Frontier implemented one fully unified VOIP telephone system across four Hub sites, under one contract, giving them the freedom to expand and move the devices when and wherever they need to, which enabled the organisation to future-proof itself against demand and premises and have a truly agile approach to service delivery. We also implemented a mobile solution for their field staff, giving them the freedom to work and be available in and out of the office as well as being able to take our delivery into the community.
Due to Citizens Advice being a registered charity they were eligible for our discounted charity tariffs from the Frontier Care Services division.Being a charity,We worked with the staff at Citizens Advice to give them an affordable, lower rate contract that still had all the capabilities and functionalities they needed for the present and with the flexibility to develop as the organisation did.
After some research, Citizens Advice Northumberland discovered that with their new phone system, their call answer rate increased by 100% from 35% of all calls to 70% post implementation, which in turn means their customers have their queries answered as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Here’s what the Chief Executive, Abi Conway had to say about the relationship: