Council telephone answering time needs to improve

Telephone.Irrespective of what data are reported in the council reports, the grass root complaints are that residents wait too long for a telephone answer from many extensions.
Worst extensions are specific to council tax, bins, waste collection, street issues and environment health.
In one example a caller tried to contact environment health and hanged up after waiting for 10, 11 and 17 minutes on different occasions.
In another example, the council tax telephone extension took 10 minutes to answer. A call to planning took about 5 minutes to answer.
Considering the over 65 population in Harrow (15%), most elderly use telephone rather than Harrow council website for the services.
Jonathan Milbourn, head of the council’s customer and business support services, has not dismissed the public concerns and said “We try to meet the challenge that those who don’t use the internet could contact us by telephone but we have to balance our resources with demands”.
Mr Milbourn informed that the council  receives typically between 80k-100k telephone calls a month which are mostly attended by the staff who do other tasks as well.
He said the council aims to answer the telephone calls within a minute though it was about a minute and a half in May 2018.
Such a target and achievement in answering telephone calls are surprising given what we know and understand about long delays.
Swift communication, warm communication and helpful tone of the communication go a long way towards giving a positive perception about the work and ethos of the council.
Regarding the way forward in cutting down the telephone answering time, Mr Milbourn said “we take opportunities to reducing the need of contact by improving the council services”.