• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

City gets flexibility from Nortel call center product

Sep 10, 20032 mins

* City of Coquitlam, British Columbia, chooses Nortel call center product

The city of Coquitlam in British Columbia, Canada, wants to be the city of choice to live, work and play. This means the city needs to be very responsive to the community. Coquitlam recently turned to Nortel with a Symposium Express Call Center to help meet the city’s needs.

“We needed to be dynamic,” says Michele Labelle, IT manager for the city. “We were looking for an architecture that allows us to very quickly adapt to community needs and demands. [The IP infrastructure] gives us the flexibility needed to meet the dynamic requirements of our community. For example, we have summer sports programs, and we wanted to take these out to the community. IP complements this approach. In the past people had to come into a central location; now we essentially bring up an office in a matter of hours.”

Coquitlam has four departments using the Symposium Express Call Center – Leisure and Parks, Operations, Collections/ Taxation and the IT department. The call center allows them to have a distributed model that uses skill-based routing to find an expert anywhere in the city. Calls are then automatically routed to a knowledgeable person anywhere. The call center can also prioritize calls based on the nature of the call.

The IT department uses computer telephony to take calls from anywhere in the city using a virtual login from any available phone. For example, customer service employees will be dealing with problems within a building, and while there they have the freedom to log in to the contact center to help out.

Labelle says the system is paying for itself:

“We have a demonstrable ROI – we will save $500,000 a year – but that wasn’t the major driver. With our vision of flexibility, we need the ability to relocate people and staff in a moment’s notice. We had a fire in the building that housed our dispatch center, and it took us about three hours to physically relocate the center. Today, this would take us only minutes – the time it actually took the people to get to a new location.”

Sounds to us like a model other cities should look into.