Your queries answered in an instant

Customers have a new way to contact Uttlesford District Council following the launch of a new telephone system and instant messaging service on the council's website.

The 8x8 system has been introduced to improve the council's communication technology and help manage enquiries into the Customer Service Centre (CSC) in a more effective way. 

The new system gives the council the opportunity to increase its channels of communication for residents and tenants and improve the support it is able to offer them.

In particular, 'Live Chat' will provide customers with another means of contacting the CSC for general council queries.

Live Chat icons appear on relevant pages of the council's website. By clicking on the icon, customers will be connected to a member of the CSC team and, once they have provided some basic personal information, will be able to ask their questions in real time by sending instant messages.

As with the majority of queries received, CSC staff should be able to provide the answers that are needed there and then - but for any more specific questions, messages will be passed to the relevant department to follow up and respond directly. The CSC currently deals with about 80 per cent of all enquiries it receives without needing to pass the enquiry on to another member of staff. In a typical month, the team can handle over 8,000 telephone calls and about 1,700 emails.

Cllr Richard Freeman, Portfolio Holder for Council and Public Services, said: "The coronavirus pandemic has required residents to seek alternative ways to go about their daily lives, including contacting the council. We are pleased to be able to launch Live Chat which offers another way in which customers can get in touch with us. I would encourage residents to make use of the new service - our Customer Service Team is here to help you."

Initially, the Live Chat system will only be available during normal opening hours, but messages can be left via the system at other times. 

Customers can still also contact the council by emailing, or via the online forms on the website. A limited front desk service is currently being operated from the Saffron Walden offices, although no payments are being taken and no face-to-face appointments with specialist officers are being offered. 

Comments, pictures, and feedback are also welcome on the council's Twitter and Facebook channels (search 'UttlesfordDC').

4 October 2021