RTA puts happiness first

Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority is investing in multiple channels of communications with its customers, to improve standards of service, increase efficiency and gain valuable feedback from all of its users

Tags: Avaya IncorporationCRMContact centreRoads and Transport AuthorityUnited Arab Emirates
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RTA puts happiness first Ahmed Mahboub, Director of Customer Service Department, Roads & Transport Authority. (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  April 6, 2016

With Dubai’s mission to become not just the smartest city in the world, but also the happiest, it is no surprise that government agencies are looking to technology to help them to improve the quality of their interactions with their clients and to improve overall levels of customer satisfaction.

One of the leading organisations in the area of customer care — winning multiple awards for its contact centre operations including a Hamdan bin Mohammed Smart Government Award — is the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA). The RTA has a wide remit including Dubai’s Metro, public buses, private road vehicle registration, traffic management and more, so it has a diverse customer base negotiating Dubai’s busy transport system, with a volume of customer enquiries to match.

Ahmed Mahboub, director of Customer Service Department, Corporate Administrative Support Services Sector, Roads & Transport Authority, explained that the RTA has developed a dedicated ‘Happiness Strategy’ to consolidate its customer service efforts.

“Our Happiness Strategy has 12 main pillars, so now we are trying to map all our projects and initiatives, which is around 88 initiatives, towards those 12 main pillars. The first focus is to take the lead of the happiness agenda within Dubai and within the region,” Mahboub said.

The Authority is focused on ensuring customer happiness, primarily, he added, and also the happiness of its employees. The RTA has utilised a number of different solutions to increase its outreach to customers, and over time the focus of these efforts has evolved, to include voice communications, smart apps and multi-channel engagement.

“From a projects and operational perspective, we have a big focus on our alternative smart channels. We have managed to automate and provide 173 smart services under the main nine apps of the RTA, which cover all the main services that we provide,” Mahboub said. “The focus that we had in Happiness Week was to try to explain to customers what are those services and channels, and how they can get the same services through smart channels.

“The other focus that we have from now to 2018 is to increase the adoption of smart services, and increase the usage and number of online services, and on the other side, reduce the number of people that visit our centres. We would like to make it easy, we would look to add to happiness by making services available remotely without the need to visit our centres, and we also see that as a way to contribute to reducing traffic.”

The RTA is planning to refine and consolidate its mobile apps, Mehboub said. The initial apps were segmented according to the target user, and by 2017 the RTA plans to merge them into only three apps, one app for public transport users, one app for road users and one app for corporate users, going down to two apps by 2018, with the aim of making life easier for users. The apps have been well received by the public, with around four million downloads, and average ratings by customers of four and a half marks out five or higher, across the different mobile platforms.

Although the number of apps is being reduced, the Authority is dedicated to opening up more channels of communication, with an omni-channel strategy, that includes delivering services through channels such as self-service kiosks. At present the RTA has deployed around 16 kiosks, which offer smart services to users in RTA service centres, and in future it plans to have around 100 kiosks all over the city.

One of the core elements of the RTA’s customer service strategy is its contact centre. The Authority has a well-established customer care line, which handles enquiries across the range of its activities, running on Avaya contact centre solutions. In 2015, the centre handled over 2.5 million calls, with over 80% of calls responded to in 20 seconds, and 90% of issues resolved in one call.

The centre has won multiple awards for contact centre performance and service, and the RTA continues to strive for high levels of performance in its contact centre. Key RTA staff have received training with personnel from the Burj Al Arab Hotel, to bring hospitality industry levels of service to the contact centre, and staff have also undergone training with a specialised company in best practices.

Last year the contact centre underwent a major technology refresh, to put in place the latest generation of solutions, Mahboub explained: “This was the biggest project we had last year, we refreshed all the technologies we had in the call centre with Avaya Aura, we are now using the most recent software in terms of contact centre.”

Among the capabilities that the new technology has enabled is an advanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, which has helped to improve operations by automatically handling some of the more common customer enquiries. On New Year’s Eve the centre received some 12,000 calls, with the IVR handling one third of all enquiries. The new system also allows automated customer surveys, to get feedback on customer satisfaction, and a live chat system has also been included.

The contact centre solution also includes live reporting and dashboards to show performance and adherence to service level agreements, and the RTA is using a toolkit of more than 300 KPIs, Mahboub said, covering the main areas including processes, people, technologies, which helps them to focus on constant improvement of performance and service delivery.

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