How do authorities handle external communications?
Most email and call centres run centralised queue systems. They do this to facilitate handing out communications, calls, emails and even standard mail to operators in a manner that maximises staff resources. So if there are say ten operates in one queue, the system will distribute comms fairly across the group. It is also one of a few reasons why you may have several staff handling different responses.
Another reason you may have different responders is because it is also common practice for staff to have different subject matter expertise (‘SME’) and so you won’t see a Tenancy and Bonds officer responding to a Citizenship question for instance. In these cases, one agent or staff member will transfer to a different queue or recipient/group.
Let’s say you emailed asking about a citizenship update. It would go to a queue. There may be 250 emails in the queue and 20 operators. The agency will typically drop an email to an agents attention when they complete the prior one (that is, when they are scheduled and active on emails.)
Agents may respond directly, from policy templates, or need to do some research. They may also need to work across several systems such as database connected internal applications, to retrieve information. The information they retrieve will include verification of the comms (are you authorised on that file?); if there are any alerts or relevant notes; and then if this is all checked, the status as requested.
Another procedure is for your email to be transformed into an internal SME template so it goes to specific people for responding.
It is usual for replies you receive to be based on a templated response. That is, a preformatted email or voice response in which your specific data is identified. It is not unusual to get a few quirky responses where the templated wasn’t properly filled in or activated fully.