Request for Information: Review of Process

Review of CCTS Service Delivery Process and Related Technologies

Issued: December 3, 2018

Response deadline: January 4, 2018 at 5 PM Eastern

Submission of questions deadline: December 17, 2018 at 5 PM Eastern

Inquiries and submissions should be directed to Howard Maker, Commissioner & CEO, howard.maker@ccts-cprst.ca

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This RFI is intended to obtain proposals from individuals or firms (“respondents”) for the conduct of a review of the processes and technologies which CCTS uses to deliver its complaint-handling services to Canadian consumers and service providers.

The goals of the review are:

  • to ensure that CCTS’ processes are efficient and effective, and consistent with best practices in the industry, as well as to obtain recommendations for improvement;
  • to obtain information and recommendations regarding technologies available in the marketplace which CCTS might wish to consider to streamline its processes, provide enhanced consumer access, quicker complaint-handling, and enhanced staff support, and to allow CCTS to respond with agility to increases or decreases in complaint volumes.

Background

The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services Inc. (“CCTS”) is constituted without share capital under Section 211 of the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.  It was created in 2007 with a mandate to resolve complaints from consumers and small-business customers about their retail telecommunications services, including local and long distance telephone, internet access and wireless services.  On September 1, 2017, the organization’s mandate was expanded to include complaints related to subscription television services, at which time the organization adopted its current name.  All Canadian telecommunications service providers and all licensed television service providers[1] must participate in CCTS. The organization’s head office is located in Ottawa, ON.

More information about CCTS is available at www.ccts-cprst.ca.

Our Work

CCTS is Canada’s independent, national organization dedicated to resolving customer complaints about telecommunications and television services (www.ccts-cprst.ca).  As the industry ombudsman our primary functions are to:

  • investigate and resolve consumer and small business customer complaints about phone, internet, wireless and TV services delivered by Canadian service providers;
  • administer certain industry codes of conduct issued by the CRTC, the telecom and broadcast regulator. The term “administer” means to use the consumer protections in those codes to resolve complaints, track code-related issues that we identify in complaints, and report publicly on those issues.

CCTS relies on its staff and a variety of technologies to deliver its services to customers and service providers.  Our most critical piece of technology is our Incident Management System (IMS), our custom-built web-based case management system. IMS contains the complaints database and is used to track and record the progress of complaints (and other inquiries) as well as to track the issues that arise in the complaints filed with us.  Limited access to IMS is provided to our Participating Service Providers through a Portal, which they use to deliver their responses to the complaints filed by their customers, and to upload information and documents.  Our web site includes an interactive questionnaire which is used by customers to file complaints (which they can also do by email, fax, regular mail and phone).

We have a Contact Centre which operates as our front-line resource.  It operates a phone queue (approximately 62,000 calls in our last fiscal year) and a queue for dealing with written items related to front-line complaint-handling activities (approximately 45,000 items) as well as a chat queue (3,500 chats).  The Contact Centre relies on IMS and on Mitel software (currently Mitel Contact Centre v. 8.1.3.0) for a variety of functions.

The Contact Centre processes all new complaints filed with CCTS. The first stage of our process is “pre-investigation”.  CCTS examines new complaints and, if it determines that they fall within our mandate, accepts them into the process, and sends them to the complained-about service provider. The service provider has 30 days within which to reach out to the customer to attempt to resolve the complaint.[1]  If the complaint is resolved, the Contact Centre reviews the material and records the complaint as resolved. Historically, up to 75% of accepted complaints are resolved at this stage of the process (in our most recent fiscal year, approximately 10,200 of the 13,200 complaints disposed of in the year, were resolved at this stage).

Complaints that are not resolved at the pre-investigation stage (approximately 3,000 in 2017-18) are escalated to the Investigations level. Those complaints are investigated by Complaints Resolution Officers using information obtained from the customer and the service provider. Their primary tools are email and phone, and they track their work, and the eventual outcome of the complaint, in IMS.

In 2017-18, complaints to CCTS increased by approximately 55% (year over year).  This trend of increasing complaint volumes is one that we believe is likely to continue as consumer activism, social media sharing, and awareness of CCTS all increase.  CCTS also recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and subject to many refinements to process and procedures over the years, the framework and overall process used for handling complaints has remained largely the same.

The Project and Its Objectives

CCTS now wishes to conduct a review of our complaint-handling processes, the technologies we use to support them, and the manner in which we use those technologies, in order to ensure that we continue to best position our activities so as to:

  • ensure ease of access to our process for consumers;
  • enable efficient and effective inputs from Participating Service Providers;
  • provide high levels of security (online and otherwise) for personal information and proprietary corporate information;
  • provide state-of-the-art tools for use by our staff in support of their activities;
  • enhance our capacity to develop data and statistics;
  • ensure that we are using “best practices” for process and technology; and
  • develop efficiencies in our processes and staffing.

We are seeking to engage a consultant, ideally with advanced knowledge of complaint-handling processes used by organizations similar to CCTS, as well as a background in technology-mediated dispute resolution, to work with us in this review.

The successful candidate will be expected to:

  • learn in detail all CCTS complaint-handling procedures at every stage of the process;
  • advise and make specific recommendations to CCTS as to:
    • possible improvements to our approach to complaint-handling and the related processes and procedures to ensure that it is “state of the art”; and
    • the technologies available to assist CCTS to achieve the objectives identified above and, in particular, the manner in which they might be applied throughout the CCTS process from beginning to end;

in light of the processes used in other organizations around the world with similar mandates (including ombudsman organizations, other complaint-handling and dispute resolution bodies, and other similar agencies).

Project Deliverables

The successful respondent will be expected to provide two written reports:

  • an interim report, to be delivered following completion of the analysis of CCTS’ current complaint-handling processes, identifying any process improvements that might be made easily, promptly and without significant cost, and which would serve to advance the objectives of the review; and
  • a final report, detailing the full analysis of the process review, and identifying the technological options available to CCTS to achieve the stated objectives, including recommendations as to specific technologies, with informed estimates of costs to implement and operate them, as well as proposed timelines for implementation. This final report must include recommendations for Key Performance Indicators to allow CCTS to monitor the effectiveness of any implemented recommendations for process and technological changes.

The volume of workload which CCTS must address each year is highly variable, and CCTS has very little control over it.  In addition, from time to time the mandate of CCTS could be expanded or reduced.  Thus all recommendations provided by the successful respondent must be scalable, and the report(s) must specifically identify how this requirement has been considered.

RFI Process

Response Outline 

In responding to this RFI, respondents should provide, at a minimum, the following information and supporting documentation.  This proposed structure is intended to minimize the efforts of respondents and simplify the analysis by CCTS:

  1. Respondent’s demonstrated knowledge of, and experience with, large complaint-handling/dispute resolution organizations, including ombudsman services, regulators, and other similar organizations;
  2. Respondent’s demonstrated knowledge of, and experience with, the technologies used to support the operations of a large complaint-handling organization;
  3. Identification of the professional(s) who will advise CCTS on this project and their relevant professional experience (including copies of CVs);
  4. Detailed costing for the project (that includes a maximum fee that will not be exceeded); and
  5. Detailed schedule for completion of the project.

Respondents are invited to provide a copy of, or link to, a report prepared for a similar project, in order that CCTS can determine the type of reporting that can be expected.

To protect the integrity of the reports, respondents must specifically identify in the report any actual or potential conflicts of interest which could affect the professional judgement involved in conducting this project.

How to Respond

All responses are to be submitted by email in PDF or MS Word format, together with any supplementary materials, to the email address on the cover of this document.  Responses should be limited to a maximum of 10 pages, not including attachments.  Responses must be received by CCTS no later than the date and time specified on the cover of this document.

Questions

CCTS wishes to ensure that all potential respondents have access to the same information in formulating their responses.  The deadline for submission of questions is December 17, 2018 at 5 pm Eastern. Any respondent wishing to be copied on CCTS’ responses to questions asked by other potential respondents prior to the response deadline is invited to provide an email address to which all questions and responses will be copied.

Confidentiality

This RFI and the information contained herein constitute confidential and proprietary CCTS information and must not be used for any purpose other than to respond to the RFI.  The RFI is not to be reproduced or disclosed to anyone other than those employees, agents or contractors of the Respondent who have a need-to-know for the purpose of preparing a response.  In consideration of the retention and use of the RFI, the recipient of this RFI agrees to keep all information contained in or associated with this RFI confidential and to protect it, and the information contained herein, from loss, theft, or compromise.  Failure to observe the confidentiality requirement herein may result in disqualification and potential legal action.

By submitting a Response to this RFI, each Proponent agrees that CCTS may:

  • Make such copies of the Response as may reasonably be required in order for CCTS to conduct its full and complete evaluation;
  • Distribute and disclose the Response to those employees, agents and third-party advisors of CCTS who are involved with its evaluation; and

Upon completion of its evaluation, retain the Response, including any copies thereof and use them for CCTS’s own internal business purposes.

RFI RULES

  • The RFI does not represent any commitment on behalf of CCTS, nor is the RFI a commitment to purchase.  The RFI, any acceptance and any proposal selected will be non-binding and will be subject to further negotiations between the parties. Any oral undertaking will have no legal standing unless confirmed in writing.
  • CCTS may choose, in its discretion, not to respond to expressions of interest or any responses to this RFI or any proposal(s) relating to or arising from the RFI. All questions received from potential respondents prior to the RFI submission deadline, and any answers which CCTS provides to them, will be distributed on a periodic basis prior to the RFI submission date to all respondents who provide an email address and request to receive them.
  • CCTS reserves the right to terminate this RFI or dismiss any response at any time.
  • Responses that are not complete or that exceed the maximum length specified herein may not be considered.
  • CCTS reserves the right to:
    • reject any or all of the response(s), quotation(s) or proposal(s), for any reason whatsoever
    • select all or any part of a quotation for further negotiations
    • negotiate and/or request re-submission of all or part of a particular response, quotation or proposal from one or more respondents, and to reject or not to consider any re-submission.
  • CCTS may select any, all or none of the responses, quotations or proposals submitted, in the sole discretion of CCTS.  CCTS shall not be obliged or bound to accept or reject any response, quotation or proposal that is:
    • compliant or not compliant with selection criteria
    • the lowest priced, even for identical items
    • received later than the indicated response deadlines
  • CCTS shall not be obligated to explain its final selection of respondent(s) or disclose anything about the responses, quotations or proposals received or selected.
  • Any request for date extensions must be obtained in writing. CCTS will evaluate the request and, if an extension is granted, notify the requesting respondent.  CCTS is not obligated to and may or may not notify other respondents of such extension(s).
  • All expenditures incurred by respondents in preparation and submission of responses and all activities relating to the RFI and any proposal(s) relating to or arising from the RFI are solely the responsibility of the respective respondents, and will not be reimbursed by CCTS in whole or in part.
  • This RFI does not constitute a Request for Proposals and shall not be construed as a commitment by CCTS to award a contract or contracts.
  • By choosing to obtain this document, respondents (as well as parties who obtain the document but decide not to respond) agree that all information provided by CCTS in connection with this RFI is strictly confidential. Such information shall be maintained in confidence and not disclosed to any third party or used for any other purpose other than responding to the RFI or any subsequent requests from CCTS, if applicable.

Information provided by CCTS is based on estimates, and is not warranted to be accurate.

[1] And their related exempt television service providers

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