Dubai eGovernment establishes contact centre

As it continues to pursue its goal of an e-friendly and efficient Emirate, Dubai eGovernment has set up a multimedia contact centre that will service customers on a 24x7 basis.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  October 30, 2003

Contact centre|~||~||~|As it continues to pursue its goal of an e-friendly and efficient Emirate, Dubai eGovernment has set up a multimedia contact centre that will service customers on a 24x7 basis. The government department believes the dedicated facility will not only enable it to answer any customer queries or concerns more effectively, but also boost the uptake of e-services.

“The concept of the contact centre is adjacent to the initiative that Dubai eGovernment is trying to push. Any service that goes through the internet has to have support and it has to be 24x7 support,” says Mahmood Ahmed Al Bastaki, business process re-engineering consultant, Dubai eGovernment.

“We want to educate the users and increase their awareness of e-services… People are often hesitant about doing web transactions because of a lack of support. The contact centre will encourage people to use more e-services because they will have the backup and support [they require],” he continues.

While the goal is, ultimately, to have all 24 government departments utilising the contact centre, Dubai Development Board and Dubai Municipality are the first to go live with services through the facility.

Dubai Development Board customers, for example, can call the 7000 40000 number to find out information about contract renewals, property maintenance or to report any problems. Users can also interact with the centre through e-mail, internet chat, callback requests and fax.

“The Dubai Development Board is supporting its entire services [through the centre] and Dubai Municipality is initially supporting user management,” says Al Bastaki.

“There are different channels of communication [for customers]. But the most important point of the contact centre is that it offers 24-hour support in English and Arabic,” he adds.

To ensure customisation of the contact centre services, each government department is required to fill out a document with support information and details, Q&As and escalation procedures.

“For each service to go live, we first ask the government department to fill out a service template, and we ask them to prepare a Q&A for each service so there is easy retrieval of information. Thirdly, they have to train the customer service representatives (CSRs)… and they have to give us an escalation procedure in case there is a question that the CSR can’t answer,” Al Bastaki explains.

Additionally, with such a large number of services potentially being delivered through the centre, Dubai eGovernment decided to outsource control of the facility. A number of factors were assessed and finally the government department opted to place its centre in the hands of Etisalat.

“Since there was an immediate need for a contact centre, the decision was made to outsource. We researched this and found that the best contact centre here in the area was Etisalat’s,” says Al Bastaki.

“[Also] we don’t have the experience of training CSRs... plus the capital investment in the technology is huge and even the maintenance of this technology is huge… We are not experts in this, so we decided to outsource and learn, and may be five years from now we will have our own contact centre,” he adds.

Moving forward, the contact centre will also play a pivotal role in the development of e-services. While Dubai eGovernment has signed a service level agreement (SLA) with Etisalat to ensure speedy customer responses, the information gathered within the centre will also provide the department with a tool to assess the acceptance of e-services and the improvements that can be made.

“The contact centre will record all the complaints, feedback and enquiries and this information will help in enhancing and improving departments’ existing services,” says Al Bastaki. “[Ultimately,] we want anybody if they have any questions about Dubai to use this call centre. We are thinking of the big picture, if there any enquiries, complaints, or suggestions, these are the right people to capture this [information],” he adds.||**||

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