Amplifying citizen engagement: How voice isolation boosts local authorities' customer service standards

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Published byIRIS Team

In an era of increasing fiscal constraints and growing public expectations, local authorities in the UK face the challenging task of delivering high-quality services while ensuring excellent citizen engagement. This is further compounded by the responsibility to comply with general Customer Service Standards, which require authorities to provide accessible, efficient, and responsive communications to all citizens. These challenges converge in the context of contact centres.

This article explores how voice isolation apps (like IRIS Clarity), can assist local authorities in delivering outstanding customer service by fostering inclusivity, and ensuring every citizen's voice is heard.

Putting communities first

Increased diversity and expectations, as well as ongoing financial challenges, are forcing local authorities to acknowledge the need not just for effective communication, but truly inclusive engagement with citizens. As Councillor Alex Sawyer, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Leisure, put it in a report for the London Borough of Bexley: "It is well-connected communities that play a critical role in delivering on a number of council priorities including managing growth that benefits all, preventing people and families from reaching crisis, supporting residents to live well, for longer and, by doing all this, also helping us meet the budgetary challenge that we face."

This statement underscores the necessity of promoting meaningful conversational channels, which can be greatly enhanced with voice isolation technology like IRIS Clarity. By ensuring clear, noise-free communication, local authorities can better understand the needs of their constituents, thereby promoting more effective engagement and preventing crises before they happen.

The imperative to provide inclusive communication opportunities is laid out in the “Speak My Language” report carried out by the Wales Audit Office: “Public bodies must ensure that everyone, regardless of their language and communication needs, can access services…If public bodies do not meet these duties, they risk complaints and legal action. Moreover, people will have poorer outcomes and experiences."

The report also highlights the staggering diversity within communities: 84,500 people in Wales have a main language that is not English or Welsh, and 575,000 people experience deafness or hearing impairment. In such a diverse landscape, clear and accessible communication is not just a luxury—it's a necessity. By eliminating background noise, tools like IRIS Clarity help to ensure that language barriers and hearing impairments are more easily overcome.

Karen Steel (Granicus), writing for LocalGov, reinforced the importance of clear communication in times of crisis in reference to the Coronavirus pandemic: “With an even more important, strategic role to play in how the UK controls and overcomes the coronavirus pandemic, clear communication from councils will be vital as they lead the way forward. If the right planning and tools are in place, it will ultimately help local authorities to achieve better outcomes for their citizens – and most importantly of all, save lives.”

This sentiment becomes all the more pressing when considering the social issues that have arisen in a post-pandemic world. In the current challenging environment, the role of local authorities has never been more critical, and the need for clear, effective communication has never been more urgent. 

Achieving clear communication for all

Local authorities are guided by an overarching commitment to maintaining excellent communication with their constituents. Clackmannanshire Council’s promise to its community reflects the duty that is held by local authorities nationwide, citing best practices such as: “treating constituents with fairness and respect, developing trust through open, honest and simple communication, listening to views and making services easy to access, efficient and designed to meet needs.”

However, budgets and lack of technological investment can significantly hinder these efforts. The Local Government Association outlines why authorities have been slow to address obstacles in communication: “In the age of austerity, communications has often been wrongly perceived as a nice-to-have. The reality is it can deliver tremendous returns on investment when work is aligned with organisational goals and tied to SMART objectives and accurately measured.”

Unless contact centres are armed with proper infrastructure, background noise can interrupt conversations, distort information, and frustrate both local authority staff and citizens. As a consequence, it may compromise the quality of service delivery, straining the relationship between authorities and the communities they serve. The Local Government Association is clear in its directive to local authorities: “You can’t cut corners – you need tools fit for the job, especially secure and dependable digital communication software. This usually means an investment in solutions.”

Solving The Problem

Many are finding the solution in advanced background noise-eliminating technology like IRIS Clarity. With such a tool, local authorities can ensure that their communications with vulnerable citizens are clear, accurate, and effective. This can enhance the delivery of support, promoting better outcomes for vulnerable individuals and contributing to a stronger, more harmonious society, as well as empower customer service agents to fully understand and effectively respond to citizens' concerns, aligning with the commitment to provide full and accurate responses.

Local authorities that fail to adapt to evolving communication standards risk falling behind. In an era where citizens' expectations are growing, and the quality of communication is increasingly under scrutiny, there has never been a more critical time to invest in voice isolation technology. Speak to an expert today to ensure that your authority remains compliant and effective.