A government review in 2006 highlighted the need to modernise the regulation of the gas industry. As a result, the Gas Safe Register was created. Its goal was to provide a simple registration service for gas businesses, to reduce the amount of unsafe gas work and offer information to customers on how to use gas safely. As part of this development, Capita Communications was employed to streamline the process of customers receiving certificates for installed appliances and gas work.
To work in the gas industry you have to be registered with the Gas Safe Register. The official body that went live in April 2009, took over from the previous body CORGI. The Gas Safe Register currently has an estimated 60,000 businesses and 126,000 engineers registered with it. Additionally, it services twenty million gas consumers in the United Kingdom and receives, on average, 2,000 calls per day from consumers on a wide variety of issues about gas work and appliances.
“All businesses related to the gas industry have to register with us, whether they are one-man bands or employ 8,000 engineers. The work these engineers generate mean we have to produce over one million certificates a year. The certificates verify that the work has been completed by a recognised fitter.” says Simon Ayers, Customer Services Director at the Gas Safe Register.
Setting up the Gas Safe Register presented an opportunity to review and improve on the original certification processes. “We wanted to send out certificates quickly for completed work to avoid unnecessary calls into the call centre regarding paperwork that had not arrived,” says Ayers.
In redesigning the system, it was also deemed essential that the process of issuing certificates was tracked. This would ensure that call operators could deal with customer enquiries effectively to let them know when they were likely to receive documentation.
“If certificates are not sent out in time it can have a knock-on effect in terms of the volume of people calling into our call centre. These enquiries about delayed certificates can greatly affect our productivity. In the past, the certificates could take anything up to five weeks to reach a customer in some cases. This was a situation that we wanted to change,” comments Ayers.
Any solution implemented would need to capture information from the Gas Safe Register website, which is where many engineers enter information on completed work.
“We went to a competitive tender process and Capita Communications came back with the best offer in terms of service levels, cost, delivery, turnaround times, and essentially all the factors that would drive you to use a business,” comments Ayers.
The whole certification process is completed off-site at Capita’s secure print centre in Birmingham, which has meant that no Gas Safe Register staff need to be involved. This is a security accredited site accustomed to safely handling customers’ personal details.
Capita Communications’ secure print site offers:
The information for the certificates is taken twice a week from the Gas Safe Register database. This twice weekly capture of data fulfils the service level requirements for the organisation while at the same time keeps costs lower than they would be for daily data uploads.
The Capita system has also eliminated the need for proof reading at the printing stage because there is a set format and template and the result is that these documents look exactly the same every time.
Call centre staff at the Gas Safe Register use archiving software from Capita which stores visual images of all of the certificates as soon as the data file is received. This means that the Gas Safe Register know what stage of the process each certificate is at. They can answer calls from customers to let them know when they are likely to receive their documentation and they can see exactly what it will look like. The system also allows the call centre staff to see historical certificates and order reprints if required. All of these streamlined processes enable Gas Safe Register to deliver a more efficient customer service.
“It all happens in the background without us having to do anything at this end – the whole process has been taken off our hands. It is one of those services we never talk about – in a good way – because it runs so smoothly,” says Ayers.
“Certificates are now normally turned around within 48 hours which in most cases is a fantastic improvement on the 4 or 5 weeks it sometimes took in the past. We have had lots of positive feedback from our customers saying how quick the service has been. We even have situations where the completed work has been notified today, will be printed tomorrow and received the day after by the customer; only a three day turn around,” says Ayers.
“If one of our staff receives a call from a customer who has had a boiler installed, for example, they can now see if the certificate has been printed or when it was posted. They can also see the certificate digitally on the screen so can easily answer any questions about it or order a reprint if necessary.”
The whole process has resulted in the service being more productive and has reduced costs by up to 25 percent whilst meeting service level agreements.
“It is about continual improvement and good old fashioned customer service. The streamlining of this one process has saved us a lot of time, energy and expense while at the same time improving the end result for the customer,” says Ayers.
Moving forward the Gas Safe Register has already started to use other services from Capita Communications, including the printing of card carriers, information sheets and the registered fitters license cards which contain complex information about the services an engineer is qualified to complete. During March, the biggest renewal period, this involved the registration of about 51,000 businesses and the production of 100,000 license cards.
“Throughout all our dealings with Capita they have always worked with us to ensure a smooth delivery and if any issues have arisen they have turned them around quickly. All in all their customer service has been excellent,” concludes Ayers.
To find out what Capita Communications can do for you call 0800 3134910 or email email@example.com for a free business review.