Netcall | Customer Story

Automated speech bot for single number at Dacorum

Using ContactPortal to streamline switchboard call handling and make savings.

Project highlights

  • ContactPortal routes 100% of calls, using only one number
  • Operators focus on more complex calls
  • Improved service for callers
  • A month after launching, 25,000+ calls answered and resolved via ContactPortal

The Borough of Dacorum is in West Hertfordshire serving Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring and a number of other villages. Like many other local authorities, Dacorum Borough Council is dealing with significant budget cuts. To ensure every available resource is used efficiently, they have turned to technology to help streamline processes and make savings.

Switchboard switch around

Their previous switchboard set-up required residents to use a different direct dial number for each service they wished to access at their local authority. To make it easier for both citizens and staff, the Council was keen to find a way to implement a single number strategy that would not need operators.

Automated speech bot

Having considered several options, Dacorum chose Netcall to install ContactPortal, our automated speech bot solution.

This system was launched back in 2011 and is based on intelligent voice recognition (IVR).

This operator service complements the need for traditional switchboard operators.


  • routes calls quickly and efficiently to the appropriate contact without the need for human interaction 
  • is a cost-effective solution which relieves operators of mundane call-routing tasks
  • enables operators to have more time to handle the complex, demanding queries

Single number strategy

Regardless of the nature of their call, residents only need to remember one number to speak to the Council. Then, they simply say the name of the person or service that they want to talk to.

The system was immediately successful. In its first month of operation, operator services processed 25,038 calls.

75% of these were successfully routed to the correct recipient without any human intervention.

12% of callers requested an operator.

Just 4% were passed to an operator because the caller was silent or unclear.

lady in call centre
The implementation of ContactPortal provides our customers with one number to contact the Council, enabling us to deliver our services more efficiently. Multi-skilled staff can now deal with the more complex calls – allowing ContactPortal to field routine switchboard calls.
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Still going strong

Nine years on, ContactPortal is still managing the bulk of switchboard calls – in September 2020 it was handling 85% of requests on first attempt from the caller and routed by the system correctly.

The Dacorum administrators can add new names, grammar and particular phrases into ContactPortal themselves to continually improve the recognition by the system. Then, Dacorum work with our tuning engineers, on a quarterly basis to analyse call statistics and re-record these new phrases with our professional voiceover artists.

This is all part of the ContactPortal service and ensures continual improvement in recognition which continually alleviates the strain on switchboard operators.


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