24/05/2017 - Permalink

Laurie named “the voice of Shropshire Council”

Related topics: Corporate

We’ve all had that feeling. Hanging on the end of a phone, waiting in a queue and hoping to speak with someone who can help. Boring voices echo down the receiver telling us irrelevant information while we wait. It’s frustrating and tedious, but Shropshire Council thinks it has the solution.

The council is taking fresh look at traditional call waiting systems – making the wait less dreary and better suited to residents.

Back in March (2017) the council ran a ‘voice of the council’ competition to unearth a hidden talent from their customer service staff. The idea was to use this person’s voice on all of the customer services call waiting messages.

Six customer services staff applied, and after all doing the same recording, a panel of judges decided on a deserving winner – Laurie Trenfield.

A staff member in a radio recroding studio

Laurie Trenfield doing recordings

Laurie said:

“I felt flattered really, and quite surprised to win! I entered the competition because I wanted to help and I like the idea of our team here getting a moment to share its good work. And because I am genuinely proud to work for Shropshire Council.

“I have lived in Shropshire since I was six years old. My family moved here from the South Coast in 1990 and have lived in Shrewsbury ever since. My favourite thing about Shropshire is the countryside – the beautiful walks and greenspace that I love to explore with my dogs and husband.

“Shropshire also has some beautiful towns and I feel lucky to live in Shrewsbury.”

Hear Laurie’s voice here.

Laurie has recently recorded over 130 new messages in high quality at BBC Radio Shropshire’s studios.

2 people in a radio studio recording voices

Voice of Shropshire Council Laurie Trenfield at the studio

Michele Leith, Shropshire Council’s head of HR and development, said:

“We were reviewing the telephony messages that our customers hear as we wanted something uniform across all lines, one voice that they would hear representing Shropshire Council. That’s when we thought of having a competition.

“We were looking for a voice that was pleasant to listen to, really clear and with good pronunciation and sounded helpful – someone you wouldn’t mind explaining things to you. Everyone who went in for this was really good and deciding was hard – but Laurie’s voice just carries it off.

“As a council we deliver many services and some customers will call us with an issue and genuinely not know who they need to speak to. Having a helpful voice that quickly gets you to the solution you need should be a bonus – this is to help customers as easily and clearly as possible so that they can carry out their business with us and feel good about the experience. The voice of Shropshire is an important ingredient in this and we think that customers will appreciate both the tone and the continuity across our lines.”

Last year over 270,000 people called the council’s customer services. With such a massive number of enquiries, customer services use call management tools and over 130 separate automated messages, all designed with the sole aim of improving people’s experience.

The phone is just one way to speak with the council. Shropshire Council’s customer services is building on new technology, and offering customers more options to connect with the services it provides. Residents now have the option to report issues, make requests for services and make payments all online through the council’s new self-service facility, as well as through the traditional face-to-face and telephone solutions. The council teams are busy adding to the list of self-serve options all the time. To keep up to date or to connect with the council visit its website shropshire.gov.uk.