The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) is to extend its web-booking system to include SMS booking and online payment.
The web-booking system currently allows users to create test and re-test appointments, as well as confirm, cancel and rearrange provisional bookings that NCTS has put in place on behalf of the customer.
“With a total car-owner population of more than 1.5 million and growing, the internet was the obvious channel to service customers efficiently and cost effectively. Following on from the success of the website we are now in the process of extending the service to SMS, making booking more accessible to users,” said Peter Seacy, IT systems administrator with NCTS.
“We designed the web-booking system as a separate application that plugged into the existing call-centre application via a custom developed interface. We were also keen to use as many existing software components as possible. This approach has reduced maintenance costs and ensured future scalability to either the web application or the call-centre application is built-in,” said John Mullen, chief technology officer with Version 1 Software, a IT consultancy that has carried out all the web development work.
The system uses standard J2EE technologies and accesses data stored in the corporate Oracle database. SSL technology is used to provide security for customers using the system.
The car test was introduced on 4 January 2000. Bookings were initially accepted by telephone, fax, email or post, but in order to improve customer service and reduce costs, NCTS decided to add an online capability.
A recent telephone survey of 128 customers that had successfully booked online found that 93pc were either very satisfied or satisfied.
Pictured: Peter Seacy, IT administrator, National Car Test Services (NCTS); John Mullen, chief technology officer, Version 1 Software; and Tara Fox, IT project co-ordinator, NCTS
By Brian Skelly