The Contact Center created by the City of Milan receives almost two million calls per year. In order to streamline call processing and deliver better municipal services, the city set up a dedicated phone number for city services and deployed Microsoft Dynamics® CRM as part of the Microsoft® Citizen Service Platform solution. The system is the first of its kind in Italy, and it simplifies relationships between local government and city service users. The City of Milan can now better track service requests, plan assistance interventions, cope with internal production peaks, eliminate queues at front offices, and reduce costs.
The City of Milan, in northern Italy, is an important economic, financial, social and political hub at both the national and international levels. It is located in the heart of one of the most culturally rich regions in Europe, and it is the capital of Italy's high-tech sector. Milan has always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and it has long been a municipal leader in terms of innovative and creative delivery of services.
The City of Milan has a population of about 1.3 million, but its “City Users”—meaning all people who make use of the services delivered by the municipality—number over 3 million. In order to meet the growing demand for administrative services, while simplifying bureaucracy and improving the quality of services and City Users’ lives, the city decided to use technology to transform its relationship with citizens. The plan was to streamline the daily, internal operations carried out by civil servants, and to simplify interactions between citizens and businesses with municipal government.
To achieve this goal, the City of Milan announced the “Milano Semplice” (“Easy Milan”) initiative, a multi-channel citizen relationship management project designed to oversee the synergistic relationships between municipal public offices, the city’s Internet Web site, and a modern telephone Contact Center. The city opened the Contact Center in November 2007 as a way to bring together the 15 existing toll-free numbers which had been dedicated to different public services offered by the city. Today, citizens can dial a single number (020202) to access all municipal services.
“What convinced the local government to invest in this project was the need to provide our municipality with integrated front-end channels dedicated to our citizens and aimed at satisfying a number of needs,” explains Antongiulio Bua, Manager of the Direzione Centrale Qualità, Servizi al Cittadino e Semplificazione, Servizi Civili (Department for Quality, Citizen Services, and Simplification, Civil Services) of the City of Milan. “We wanted to satisfy City Users’ demand to save time and to efficiently access the right information and services; municipal managers’ need to plan expenditures and find solutions to urgent requests; and local administration’s need to solve the problem of handling periods of peak traffic.”
In order to address these issues, the City of Milan started re-engineering the city’s information processes and its administrative file management practices. The city also began looking for a technological solution that would help them:
- Simplify the relationship between City Users and the municipality in order to save time for both citizens and civil servants
- Create a multi-channel synergy between the city’s Web site, the Contact Center, and municipal offices
- Eliminate usage peaks causing service slowdowns and front office queues
- Gather information on users of public services in order to improve planning and carry out targeted information campaigns
The Contact Center for the City of Milan is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is managed by a Raggruppamento Temporaneo di Imprese (Temporary Group of Enterprises) formed by Telecom Italia and Almaviva, and it employs around 150 operators who handle an average of 7,000 calls during weekdays. In 2008, the Contact Center managed a total of 1,734,872 inbound and outbound calls, with peak periods around the tax filing deadline and at the time of the launch of the city’s “Ecopass” special traffic program.
This is a small revolution that brings citizens closer to institutions, and we achieved it thanks to citizen relationship management methodologies and technologies.
Manager of the Department for Quality, Citizen Services, and Simplification, Civil Services,
City of Milan
In order to meet its goals to improve the quality and accessibility of municipal services, the City of Milan enlisted the help of Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Cluster Reply, part of the Reply Group based in Torino. “Cluster Reply began as a software distributor, but today specializes in creating high-quality, effective business solutions based on innovative technologies enabling rapid communication between clients, partners, and suppliers,” says Filippo Rizzante, Executive Partner at Reply.
Cluster Reply helped the city replace its application architecture in order to cater to the increasing demands for flexibility and performance. The city’s IT infrastructure is now built around the vision and technology of the Microsoft Citizen Service Platform for digital government, a set of solutions designed to empower government to better serve its citizens. The platform is based on Microsoft Dynamics® customer relationship management (CRM) software, which Cluster Reply implemented and customized for the city.
The city’s new information infrastructure includes an advanced Computer-Telephony Integration (CTI) system from business telecommunications provider Avaya. When people call the city service number, the CTI system routes already profiled users (such as commuters or the elderly) to the appropriate office for advanced support. The Contact Center provides three intervention and answer levels for customer inquiries, and it forwards the most complicated situations or technical procedures to internal administration offices. The Contact Center also opens a support ticket (or “case”), and sorts it according to the type of intervention necessary.
When using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution, telephone operators can navigate the Internet from within the application and access the municipality’s Web site, which receives 30 percent of its traffic from the Contact Center. The Web site is considered the definitive source of information for standard answers to City Users’ questions. “In other words, we provide users with assisted navigation, thus eliminating the digital divide separating telephone users from the Internet,” says Bua. “At present, the Contact Center is able to give complete answers to 80 percent of users’ questions.”
The system also receives citizen requests by e-mail and a fax server and automatically opens tickets, and Internet users can open audio-video and co-browsing sessions with a Contact Center agent. People who use the Web to request simple documents, certifications, or services receive a return call from the Contact Center, and in that case the agent opens a ticket manually. “We shifted from users calling the municipality to the municipality calling users to inform them about the status of their files or about an available time to go to the front office,” says Bua. "This is a small revolution that brings citizens closer to institutions, and we achieved it thanks to citizen relationship management methodologies and technologies introduced by the Contact Center.”
The City of Milan is using the Citizen Service Platform based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM to better manage citizen issues by conducting successive levels of in-depth analysis. The city can categorize subjects, open files, and perform searches on documents used by Contact Center operators. Cluster Reply added two additional customizations to the base platform in order to facilitate information exporting, call routing, and process activation. This allows the system to produce reports and automatically forward them to managers, so that they can verify how services are delivered. The system also links telephone users to municipal front offices, so that citizens looking for services have real-time access to appointment schedules at special Milano Facile offices.
In order to improve business processes and increase the effectiveness of economic planning, city managers have a computer dashboard where they can observe the statistical evolution of service requests and answers provided by the Contact Center. The dashboard shows details on customer profiles, requested subjects, claims, pending requests, niche topics raising citizens’ interest, and a number of other elements used to make evaluations. The reporting system based on Microsoft SQL Server® Reporting Services, and Microsoft Office Excel® enables city managers to more effectively plan assistance interventions.
|On the whole, it takes much less time to close administrative procedures. By introducing help tickets and using digital notifications managed by the CRM system, we can further reduce costs.|
Manager of the Department for Quality, Citizen Services, and Simplification, Civil Services,
City of Milan
The City of Milan has used Microsoft Dynamics CRM technology to enhance the services available to citizens through the city’s Contact Center. By deploying a solution that is part of the Microsoft Citizen Service Platform, the city has been able to successfully pursue its path toward innovation and improve its relationship with City Users.
Improved Access to City Services
Creating a single telephone number as the access point for all municipal services, and integrating that number with the Contact Center, has made it possible for the city to better handle incoming service requests. “The ability to analyze users’ needs and their access to our offices has enabled us to develop a booking system to reduce the impact of emergencies,” says Bua. “Today, we can cope with usage peaks by distributing users on a time-and-place basis. We have eliminated queues, and in some cases agents can work on files ahead of time. Citizens can save a lot of time, because they can be told in advance where and when to go without having to stand in a line.”
Cost Savings Through Resource Management
By better managing peak demand for services, the city is able to save money by more efficiently allocating internal resources and optimizing work hours. “As an example, since we introduced the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system, we now dedicate Saturdays to work on long and complex files, because that has proven to be the most efficient use of that time,” says Bua. “On the whole, it takes much less time to close administrative procedures. By introducing help tickets and using digital notifications managed by the CRM system, we can further reduce costs.”
Targeted Information for Better Services
The City of Milan considers City Users to be its customers, and it intends to use its new Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to provide more targeted information to those customers. “Information and prevention campaigns will be the next step,” says Bua. “As time goes by, and we get to know our users better, we can target ad hoc information campaigns to them, and the CRM system provides the capability to easily select the addresses for those targeted messages. Furthermore, it enables us to identify citizens who use municipal services in an improper manner or who do not follow the rules.”
By utilizing the detailed reports available through the CRM system, city administrators are now better informed when they make important decisions about economic programming and city security. The CRM system also facilitates new forms of communication, including information and promotional campaigns. The city expects that these advances will play an important part in the successful execution of Universal Exposition 2015, which will be held in Milan.
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