Social Security Experience Panels: communicating by phone

This report considers client’s views on contacting Social Security Scotland by phone.


Reasons for calling Social Security Scotland

Almost nine in ten respondents told us they would call at one point to check on the status of an application. Other popular reasons for calling included getting advice on eligibility. The least popular reason for calling was to get information or links to other services or support groups.

Getting an immediate answer to a query was the reason most respondents would choose to contact the agency by telephone by a large margin. Being able to get a 'personalised approach' and their disability making it difficult to contact the agency through other methods were also common reasons for wanting to call.

Respondents said that reducing waiting times and making the calls free would be the best way to make it easier for people to call the agency.

Views on automated messages

When calling the agency, respondents wanted to either speak to an agent right away or to have the choice as to whether to use an automated menu or to speak to an agent. Few respondents wanted to use an automated menu exclusively.

Waiting times

If respondents had to wait to speak to an agent, most of them wanted to be able to request a call back. Just over a quarter requested the ability to leave a voicemail message or to be directed to other ways of contacting the agency.

Female and disabled respondents tended to not want to be directed to other ways of contacting the agency as an alternative to waiting.

If respondents chose to wait on hold, most said they would wait between three and five minutes with just over one in ten saying they would wait longer than ten minutes.

Call lengths

More than seven in ten respondents said they were able to talk on the phone for at least ten minutes and more than half for up to twenty minutes. Less than one in ten said they could speak for longer than forty-five minutes.

If a call was going to take longer than a caller felt able to talk, most respondents said they would like to arrange a time for the agency to call them back (57 per cent). Just over one in ten wanted to finish the call as quickly as possible and less than two in ten wanted to call the agency back when they felt able.


Email: James.Miller@gov.Scot

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