"We also use internal chat bots to build a knowledge base for good management"
The Swedish Public Employment Service goes for seamless remote service
June 22, 2020
The Swedish Public Employment Service had already begun its transformation journey when the political “January agreement” in early 2019 changed the circumstances drastically. Budgets were cut and the overall assignment was reshaped. But even though the conditions changed, the goal was still the same: the Employment Agency aims to be the first-hand choice for both those looking for a job and for those who are hiring. And also, to be perceived as an expert authority.
The new conditions meant that the ongoing overhaul of the customer interactions needed to be accelerated.
In order to reach the goal, the authority has decided on a number of changes in business logic. One of them was a change of perspective, from “my customers” to “the client’s case”. Previously, each job seeker was assigned to a specific case handler. The Employment Service has, until recently, also been an office-centric organization. By moving the sessions from a physical to a digital meeting place, it is possible to provide the right skills at every contact.
”When our assignment was broadened, it became even more important for us to think about specialisation rather than generalisation”, says John Tetteris who works as a business coordinator at the Public Employment Service. “Today we provide personal remote service and our clients meet someone who can help them at every contact. Telia ACE has been a facilitator for this shift”.
New assignment and new supporting systems
In the recently extended assignment, a decision was made that PDM (personal distance meeting) would include more tasks, both concerning applicant responsibility and exercise of authority. The customer service unit had to take over the enrollment and responsibility for a large number of job seekers that had previously been handled at the local offices. From being a traditional customer service that responded to incoming customer contacts via phone, email and chat, it became a channel for remote service.
To meet the new requirements, organisational changes were made as well as rapid staff expansion through recruitment and education efforts. Also, the development of supporting systems for providing remote service was crucial for success.
“We have an excellent collaboration with Telia and we have really gone hand in hand. Whenever we need it, Telia is there for us”, says Pernilla Wilsson, responsible for the contact center platform at the Swedish Public Employment Service.
Smarter meetings improve quality and save time
Previously, systems and processes were based on a business logic with one designated manager per job applicant. Setting up meetings between applicants and managers was a time-consuming and inefficient process. Sometimes, the manager would call an applicant without getting an answer or the meeting was finished ahead of the allotted hour.
An example of how the Employment Service has used technology to support the transition is that they changed manual meeting-scheduling to a dynamic solution where the staffing and booking system is integrated with the contact center platform. When the applicant calls, he or she is automatically routed to a person with the right skills for their case.
“On the one hand, manual handling was inefficient, and on the other hand, the time allocated for meetings was not used effectively. We estimate that our changed way of working saves 50 full-time employees who may be available to clients in other ways”, says Monika Olsson, who is a service developer at Telia and works closely with Pernilla and John. “It also provides good input to staffing planning”.
Contact and self-service on the client’s terms
At the end of 2018, the Swedish Public Employment Service first launched their chat bot, and in 2019 they observed a sharp increase in contacts. 43 percent of users provided feedback, and, of those, 82 percent said they were happy.
“Usage increases as we fill the chatbot with content. We analyse questions and what customers want to know, ”says Pernilla Wilsson.
“We also use internal chat bots to build a knowledge bank for”, says John Tetteris.
In addition, the Employment Service works with integration between speech and text and with the inclusion of more self-service features in the IVR to relieve managers and improve our offering. A contact may start in a digital channel and move on to personal service. Screen sharing and co-browsing are used to make it easier for the employment services to help job seekers.
The transformation in numbers (as they appeared before the coronavirus pandemic)
- Approximately 85 percent of enrollments take place remotely
- Efficient meeting booking saves 50 full-time employees per year
- 8,000 booked meetings are held every month
- The Employment Service receives:
- 100,000 calls per month
- 19,000 chats
- the chat bot handles 140,000 customer contacts each month (corresponding to 85 agents)
If you want to know more about the Employment Service, its assignments and activities, please visit arbetsformedlingen.se/other-languages (opens in new tab)
Please note that this article was written before the coronavirus pandemic was a fact.
In a hurry? This post in 5 seconds!
- In order to improve efficiency for both job seekers and managers, the Swedish Public Employment Service has focused on “the client’s case” and the digital meeting
- In this transition, customer service has been given a central role, which has required expansion and conversion
- Technical integrations (e.g. between the staffing / booking system and the contact center system) and cross-organisational collaboration have been success factors
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