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How can you provide citizens with benefit and business rate grant advice while reducing the strain on your contact centres?

A whirlwind of incoming calls and contacts start to overwhelm your council’s contact centre as worried citizens seek the latest information about how they can get financial support across benefits, council tax and business rates grants. We understand that this is causing immense strain and your teams are struggling to cope.

Capita have supported and worked alongside local government for over 30 years, so we understand the increasing concern about how to manage BAU as well as surges in demand when disruptive trigger events hit. And it seems there has rarely been a time when our lives have been so disrupted. As if coping with floods, fires and storms wasn’t hard enough, people are being affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. Such events can throw an enormous burden on contact centers as they struggle to sustain high standards of customer service while the numbers of calls from worried customers soar.

Worried citizens expect immediate answers

Due to many different scenarios, quite a lot of people’s financial situations are changing and sometimes overnight. Understandably so many concerns immediately arise, like ‘how am I going to keep my business going?’, and ‘how am I going to pay the bills?’. The need to find a resolution  or support quickly is at the forefront of people’s minds. It’s human nature to want rapid responses in worrying situations.

But it’s a situation for which very few organisations and their contact centers are truly prepared.

As these circumstances cause many enquiries to surge to local authorities around business rate grant payments, benefits claims, change of circumstances and council tax reductions, your agents can become overwhelmed, your day-to-day business struggles and your citizens can lose patience and become more anxious as they can’t get the answers they want quickly enough. As you focus all your resources on stemming the tide of overall enquiries, then the longer it can take for your agents to reach the most vulnerable customers who need help fast.

How an advisory bot beats the information bottleneck for customers

If advisory bots didn’t already exist, this is exactly the situation for which it might have been invented. And we’ve developed an advisory bot to specifically support benefits and funding queries from citizens.

Smart advisory bots that can be pre-loaded with relevant information to help answer people’s questions are the ideal first line of urgent enquiry when disruption hits, and can play a key role in helping your organisation to maintain its essential functions during testing times.

Quick and easy to both deploy and keep updated, conversational AI can give your customers critical information, supporting your human customer service advisers and preventing them from becoming so overwhelmed that BAU grinds to a halt.

With an easy plug in to your existing IVR system and website, Capita's advisory bot is specifically designed to support citizens with benefits and business rate grant queries. It can be up and running on your phone lines and on your website within a week, creating better business outcomes for you by improving your customers’ experience when they call you, reducing the strain on your people and maintaining your good reputation.

Supporting your teams when they can’t get to work

As well as helping you to deal with the surge in enquiries during a disruptive event, the advisory bot can also help you to keep running when your own employees can’t get to work, whether it’s because their journey into the office has been disrupted or because they’re having to self-quarantine due to potential illness. Having the advisory bot available to shoulder part of the burden means that the staff who do make it in are free to concentrate on the most important calls.

Capita’s advisory bot tool is a proven solution, already at work for some of our existing clients.

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