Aberdeenshire Council upgrade their contact centre to meet citizen demand and support pandemic crisis

One of 32 regional governmental authorities in Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council manages the delivery of public services to a population of just over 261,000 spread across 2,437 square miles of the north east of the country. The region includes the fishing ports of Peterhead and Fraserburgh, while other key wealth generators include oil, gas, green energy, and whisky distilling.

The benefits

  • Gamma solution yields cost savings
  • Multi-channel flexibility built-in
  • Solution is robust
  • Gamma is an open and responsive provider
  • Comprehensive reporting enables better resource management

The Challenge

The authority’s 30-seat contact centre is in Fraserburgh, 40 miles north of the organisation’s city of Aberdeen headquarters. It handles an average of around 1,500 calls a day from members of the public wanting help with the full range of council services from council tax, housing repairs and roads maintenance to waste disposal and social care.

Voice-only, the contact centre was operating on a platform delivered by BT built around ISDN lines, Nortel’s Contact Centre Manager and Verint Witness call recording. When an upgrade to the call recording system was judged just too costly, the council took the decision to carry out re-evaluation of the entire voice platform package.

Among the identified key requirements were cost savings, greater flexibility and robustness, and the ability to migrate the contact centre platform to multi-mode interaction.


Avg. call volume per day

The Solution

Gamma was by then already provider of SIP trunks to the council, so was invited to propose a solution to the contact centre voice challenge.

Gamma proposed its Cirrus Cloud Contact Centre service, providing resilience because it is delivered from three separate data centres, omni-channel capability that allows seamless movement between modes during calls, call recording, comprehensive reporting and analysis and lower costs due to the service being embedded in the core of the national Gamma network.

Deployment of the solution began in early 2019, with full migration posted six months later. Agents were moved across to the Gamma solution in stages, given time to adjust to the far wider range of functionality and reporting available.

Teething problems that had to be tackled by the joint Aberdeenshire Council and Gamma deployment team were latency caused by a legacy wireless WAN element in the council’s network, and inefficiency resulting from the way incoming calls were initially triaged according to type of query.

The Results

Jacqué Scott, Contact Centre Manager for Aberdeenshire Council noted that Gamma were responsive and open throughout the process. “They advised what the issues were and how they could be rectified. At times, it was not always clear where issues lay, especially when trying to identify the issues around latency.”

Her colleague Michelle Milne, manager with overall responsibility for how the council interacts with citizens at its face-to-face service points in council buildings, via email and by voice, observed that the scheduled evaluation of a possible move to multi-channel had been put on the back-burner as the council, like others right across the UK, re-organised so that it could respond most effectively to the unique demands created by the spread of Coronavirus. However, she observed that the Gamma solution has played a useful role in this time of crisis, its highly granular reporting enabling Aberdeenshire Council to better organise resources to cope with its role in the national Covid Assistance Support Helpline.

Contact centre manager Jacqué Scott is looking forward to the time when the intended examination of a move to multi-channel can be re-started. “AI and voice recognition are something that we would be keen to implement, as well as more direct integration with customers through automated satisfaction surveys by text, but once things get back to normal we will need to see indicative costs.”