41% do not expect to be ready because CRM systems cannot meet the challenge of data collection

Woking, UK, October 2008: While the vast majority of councils (82%) have started projects to measure avoidable contact, a third (32%) do not expect to have data collection mechanisms in place to meet the government’s target date of October 2008, according to new research from Rostrvm Solutions. Avoidable contact consists of unnecessary communication between the community and its local authority and local councils’ performance on reducing this will be assessed within a new performance management framework known as National Indicator number 14 (NI14).

The research conducted by Rostrvm, a leading UK call centre software developer, highlights the problems faced by local authorities, the most prevalent being the challenge of collecting the data required, cited by 41% of projects. Official guidance indicates that a CRM system is the simplest method of data collection, but a third of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system users (31%) said their CRM system cannot be readily adapted to measure avoidable contact.

Other problems identified by the contact centres include the ambiguity of what is required (19%), the necessity of training staff to comply (11%) and preparing the back office and service support systems to handle the extra data (10%). A further 8% would struggle due to a lack of resources and time constraints. Just 4% of the local authorities surveyed did not perceive any problems preventing them from meeting the target.

Ken Reid, Marketing Director of Rostrvm Solutions, comments: “It makes good sense to reduce avoidable contact, which can be a strain on resources, effort and money for both councils and their residents. However, our research confirms anecdotal evidence that a significant number of councils are struggling with the limitations of their CRM systems, which do not easily allow the collection of data.

“But it can be very simple to implement a data collection system to measure avoidable contact. For example, by using some simple software like rostrvm CallGuide, public sector and commercial organisations can support contact processes or simply record whether or not each call was avoidable.”

To help councils and other organisations deal with this Rostrvm has also produced a guide. The guide explains how Rostrvm Solutions can quickly help organisations such as councils identify, monitor and reduce avoidable contact. It focuses on: