| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
2008- Preparation Committee - Assistant General Director of Information System- chairman of the committee and contact center manager as 2nd assistant to study all requirements to establish 1111 contact center and all related channels like social networks, email, mobile apps and ensure the quality of the provided services.
2009 – Business Process Re-engineering was conducted and implemented.
Understanding that technology is only an enabler, the business process and workflow were the first area that MM looked into. There was a lot of inefficiency in the old process and workflow. Streamlining them and removal of unnecessary steps will lead to increase productivity. Bearing in mind that the initiative will be put in an online environment, these new sets of Business Process and Workflow will develop to cater for that. They were also tested in an off-line environment to ensure that it was practical in the actual environment and not just on paper. This is with the support of MM Chairman and executive management in all directorates.
End of 2009 – Implementation of the Contact Center.
The solution for the Contact Center was developed and implemented. The Contact Center is available 24/7. Contact Center website and services are available in Arabic and English. System backup process is established and documented based on pervasive technical infrastructure requirements. System virtualisation through Virtual Machine ware. Service Availability incidents are reported, escalated and resolved based on an incident management policy. This is managed and monitored regularly to ensure that the services are available 24 hours 7 days a week.
2011- Social networks were introduced.
MM is aware of the major role that customers play in services development; thus, the Municipality sought to activate and enhance social network sites by launching its page on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Significant events such as Muscat Festival, Tour of Oman and Muscat fashion week are held annually. All important activities related to such events are managed, promoted and highlighted by means of social networks too and under Muscat Contact Center management.
2011- Mobile apps (i-Muscat) launched
Tapping on the iMuscat application on smartphone platform, customers can send feedback and complaint and also provide GPS data to pinpoint the location of the complaint and upload relevant pictures.
2012- Official launched of Muscat Contact Center with marketing camping for the solution raising public awareness of the Muscat Contact Center services.
2013- Dedicated supportive offices /department had been established in each directorate under the General Manager office, for ensuring of high quality providing effective and fast follow up of the cases and Quick responds for customers' comments.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The initiative was proposed by the MM through its effort in adopting Information Technology to streamline its operations and processes especially in its provision of services to the companies, other ministries organizations and the citizens. For the Contact Center, the Chairman of MM took a personal interest in it. Customers’ feedback is the conduit for improvement of municipal services provided by MM. There is a summary of feedback for each Directorate and live feedback to Chairman’s office which indicates the commitment of the Chairman and Executive Management to improve the customer services.
A committee had been established to study and propose all the requirements and the latest standards solutions to be adapted by MM. Information technology management, contact center management, network team, internet team, programming team and two consultants from one of the call centers of the strongest service providers (oman mobile) in the semi-government organization in Oman were the members of this committee.
Implementation of the solution had been done by external vendor with the supervision and the project management from MM committee.
At the application level, the Contact Center application is integrated with:
1. CRM application of MM
2. SMS gateway of MM
3. Active Directory of MM
4. iMuscat Smartphone application of the vendors.
Through such integration, MM spearhead the way for Integrated Government (iGovernment) in the Oman and the region.
Therefore all the stakeholders, Executive Management, internal and external end-users and vendors are all involved in the design and implementation of the initiative.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
1) Financial cost of the system
Contact center committee studied three different solutions and estimated the average project cost. The cost later had been approved from the tender committee at MM.
MM invested initially about OMR 160k (USD 420k) including the implementation, maintenance and support for three years. Annual maintenance & support starting from 2015 of OMR 23k (USD )
2) Technical Architecture
The Contact Center is developed entirely on web-based technology. The content management refers to case management system which manages the complaints from the time it was registered and solved. The case management system provides vital data for knowledge management base for future development and improving. This information is accessible through the intranet system in MM.
Sharepoint is also used as the common management point, which stores the service directory (the processes and procedures of the municipal services). This information is made available to the Contact Center Agents who have access on the updated processes and procedures for the related services.
MM has put in extra consideration when deciding on the size of the hardware and software licenses for the Contact Center. In anticipation of growth, currently the Contact Center has a manning of 37 staffs. However, the system is scalable to more than 400 agents and the system can handle 30 calls concurrently.
3) Human Resource cost
Internal Team – 2 Database Administrators, 16 Developers, 6 network engineers, 4 resources for eServices and a team of 5 personnel for the Helpdesk services which provide technical support for all MM IT services. Dedicated 2 developers and 2 network engineers are handling Muscat Contact Center technical issues.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Business Process Re-engineering of handling complaints.
The business process and workflow were the first area that MM looked into. There was a lot of inefficiency in the old process and workflow. Streamlining them and removal of unnecessary steps will lead to increase productivity and transparency.
Introducing complaint management solution
That handles all complaints and customers feedback with several channels. Integrated with MM systems (CRM, SMS Gate way, Active directory, i-Muscat, and MM web portal) Providing the required information for the decision makers and all related history to any customer or any case.
Faster and more effective Municipality Services- Since its implementation in Nov 2010, a total of 42k feedback/complaints was received and a total of 41k of which were resolved. This indicated that about 97% of the feedback and complaints are acted upon and resolved, bringing about improvement to the municipality servicers and better customers’ satisfaction.
Better Customers’ Satisfaction – through several channels of communication, they can now provide feedbacks and track such feedback to improve the Municipal services. This is evident in the Customer Satisfaction between April to August 2013 which indicated that there is a 97%., high Level of customer satisfaction related to the contact center services.
1111 and social networks reaches and impressions
MM has responded to more than 66,478 calls since Nov 2010. In addition, a total of 62,308 accounts reached MM's Twitter account and 194,314 impressions recorded from 28 October 2013 to 4 Nov 2013. Also MM account on Youtube managed to score 15,552 views, whereas the total of weekly reach on MM Facebook account since May 2013 has reached 121,073 and 644,285 impressions. For relevant events, Muscat Festival on Facebook had a Weekly Total reach of 392,473 during the period of 19/01/2013 and 31/03/2013. Tour Of Oman website had reached 67,490 unique visitors with 106,954 visits (1.58 visits/visitor) and around 13,261,882 hits. all these statistics clearly indicated that Muscat Municipality as a government body is very receptive of all comments, feedbacks and complaints.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The Muscat Contact Center essentially collecting all the feedback and complaints from all customers in Muscat Governorate pertaining to all services provided in the governorate. Business process for the Contact Center comprised the following support structures;
1st Line – Contact Center agents
2nd Line – Monitor and follow-up, sometimes solve the issues and close the case
3rd Line – Operational team, implement the solution.
Quality Assurance team which monitors customer satisfaction and quality of services provided.
MM launched active public awareness campaigns through various channels to promote Muscat Contact Center 1111. This includes traditional media like newspaper & TV and new media channels like social networks. In addition, regular quality assurance check was also conducted on monthly basis to assess the efficiency of the programme and the level of customer satisfaction. This is done with the support of the contact center management, IT technical team and media and statistic department at MM.
Monthly registered cases are randomly checked for quality assurance based on the softskill of 1st line who handled the case, time taken to solve the case and the quality of the service. Muscat contact center Policy is that no case is considered closed or resolved until the customer has confirmed so. Hence after resolving of cases, customers will be contacted to check on their satisfaction. Moreover, with each resolved case, there is SMS send out with quality assurance link, to get the detailed feedback of customers. In fact, one of the main channels of Talk to Muscat is Polls and Survey which is directed to enhance service level of quality.
Also MM web portal conducts surveys in a regular basis to measure service quality and customer satisfaction. The social network analytic tools listed below are used by MM team to monitor interaction level and improve social network channels.
c. Facebook- Insights
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
a. There was a lot of inefficiency in the old process and workflow. Streamlining them and removal of unnecessary steps led to increase productivity. The business process re-engineering steps eliminated inefficiency and geared the system towards an online G2C web environment.
b. Involvement of external organization - There are instances in which other organizations have to be involved in resolving the complaints received. It is difficult for any customer to follow up his/her case with several entities, especially if they do not have a ticketing system or database to store such information. Hence, MM designed the Muscat Contact Center with a centralised ticketing system to make it easy to trace and retrieved information where the customer only needs to log the issues. In the improved version of this system, such issues will be immediately transferred to the related entities, and they will receive automatic update on their cases. This link to external organisations is currently under testing.
c. Service requests - Muscat Contact Center received many requests to provide numerous customer services and these services require a form to be filled and attachments to be attached. To meet these requests, Talk To Muscat developed an application to receive some service requests which do not require any fees and will be published by the end of 2013. Other services which required identification will be studied closely with the new introduction of PKI by e-Transforming plan.
d. Injaz Services - With more than 600 employees in MM acting as the third line – operational staff, it was a challenge to get the feedback of the cases status immediately, since most of the cases are on the field. To resolve this issue, MM introduced and developed Injaz services which is based on the SMS application. The Injaz service enabled these staff to send a specific format of reply to Talk To Muscat application and will be updated immediately in the relevant systems. In addition, MM is currently developing a mobile-based solution to integrate these services into Talk to Muscat infrastructure.