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NHS Business Services Authority increases customer service efficiency with Eptica

Centralised knowledge management system from Eptica delivers answers to 3 million customer service calls

Cambridge, 5 March 2012: The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), which provides critical central services to the NHS and general public, has transformed telephone customer service after implementing Eptica’s centralised knowledge management system. NHSBSA is now benefiting from greater efficiency, improved service levels and increased consistency of answers by using Eptica.

The Eptica-powered project, known as Sherlock, provides a centralised knowledgebase across the NHSBSA’s three contact centres. This ensures that its 230 agents can access accurate, up to date information in order to deliver fast, consistent answers to the 3 million calls received every year.

The benefits already delivered by Sherlock in six months have exceeded project expectations. Training time for new agents has dropped by 30% (against a predicted 20%) and the number of staff deployed on the service desk has been reduced by a third. In a recent survey 72% of agents said that Sherlock had made their jobs easier and 62% believed it had added to the customer experience. Sherlock is receiving over 2,000 queries per day from agents and the project is predicted to save £121,000 in its first year of operation, rising to £162,000 per annum in the future.

NHSBSA has grown dramatically in the last six years, expanding from 6 to 230 agents and realised that it needed to centralise knowledge to meet its efficiency objectives. Sherlock therefore replaces a number of different paper-based information solutions across the 11 different workstreams within the NHSBSA.

The NHSBSA is responsible for a wide range of healthcare-related administration services. These include managing the NHS Pension Scheme in England and Wales, which has over 2 million members, administering the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme in the UK, processing and making payments to dentists and pharmacists and managing the NHS Student Bursary scheme.

“We pride ourselves on the high levels of customer service we offer to everyone that calls us, both from inside and outside the NHS” said David Roberts, Shared Services Manager, NHS Business Services Authority. “However our fast growth and the expanding range of services we provide meant that we needed more efficient ways of providing information to agents. With Eptica we now have a consistent, centralised system that agents trust, enabling us to be more efficient while driving greater customer satisfaction. Sherlock has become our internal information network.”

Eptica is already used in other public sector organisations by NHSBSA partner Capita and was selected due to its ease of use, strong track record and understanding of the organisation’s business objectives.

“The UK public sector is aiming to increase efficiency while at the same time improving the customer experience,” said Paul Barnes, Managing Director, Eptica UK. “The success of Sherlock at the NHS Business Services Authority demonstrates how centralised knowledge can drive major improvements and support growth through a user-friendly system that connects agents with consistent information quickly and simply.”

Designed around their needs, agents simply type questions into Sherlock and receive fast, up to date answers. They can flag where extra content is needed and provide feedback with a single click, ensuring answers are always optimised. Sherlock has integral audit trail functions, allowing stakeholders (such as managers within other parts of the NHS) to monitor performance and quality of information.

Information in Sherlock was collected through agent focus groups and was rolled out with a month of intensive training and feedback before it went fully live. It is now managed by a dedicated team of three staff, who are responsible for updating information and acting on agent feedback requests.

The NHSBSA has ambitious future plans for Sherlock, looking to incorporate knowledgebase content into specific, public-facing websites and Facebook pages (such as for student bursaries) as well as using it to share knowledge amongst partner organisations within the NHS.