There during the toughest times

Few organisations deliver on customer empathy better than Service NSW. This ranges from caring for New South Wales residents and businesses who lost everything in catastrophic Australian bushfires to protecting the community from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Genesys Cloud™ platform enabled the government agency to rapidly scale and switch to remote working while improving its crisis management response and the delivery of new services.

Over 1 million citizens

helped in 2020

24-hour setup time

for disaster response support

733% increase

in staffing

6 new services


Created COVID-19 hotlines

from scratch

Genesys is the foundation that enables us to provide genuine care, empathy and tailored solutions in collaboration with our partner agencies.

— Sue Ferguson, Director of Contact Centres, Service NSW

Empathetic by nature

Few organisations deliver on customer empathy better than Service NSW. Providing over 7 million citizens with access to government services, the Australian agency is supporting huge growth in the volume, diversity and complexity of its transactions.

In late 2019, its contact center was put to the test when the worst-ever Australian bushfires engulfed the New South Wales region. In just four days, Service NSW stood up a special taskforce to help people who had lost everything — often giving life-saving advice about what to do with livestock and evacuation routes.

Paul Taylor, Service NSW Customer Service Representative in Disaster Assistance, went above and beyond to help those affected by Australia’s devastating bushfires.

“Nearly 47,000 fire-related calls, chats and emails poured in through our Genesys platform,” said Sue Ferguson, Director of Contact Centres at Service NSW. “We dealt with everything from medical queries and temporary housing options to financial assistance for those who lost their homes or jobs.”

Process re-engineering

But technology enablement was only part of the story. In addition to extending to 24/7 services, Service NSW refined its recruitment processes to rapidly onboard and train new staff with crisis management skills. It built solid relationships with non-government organisations across New South Wales — enabling maximum assistance for area residents. And, recognising the nature of its crisis calls, it introduced trauma training and onsite counselling care for staff.

Still going strong today, its Disaster Welfare Assistance team comprises 55 dedicated agents and 63 physical storefront advisors. A single hotline enables bushfire-affected residents to kickstart their recovery by accessing hundreds of public services from all layers of government.

Above and beyond

Genesys Cloud allows Service NSW agents to address and manage customer concerns across a variety of channels, including calls, email and chat — all through a single interface that lets them fully concentrate on their quality of care, rather than toggling between multiple screens and applications.

Paul Taylor has been with Service NSW for about nine years. One day, he answered a call about an automobile registration and spoke with the customer about another topic: their well-being. After several minutes, Taylor learned the caller had lost her husband — a brave firefighter — in the bushfires and hadn’t received much help. Contact centre technology wasn’t an inhibitor; it enhanced Taylor’s experience and his ability to connect with empathy.

“I just treat people like they’re my best friend and if you ask the right questions, they’ll open up to you,” said Taylor. “The customer wasn’t aware she was eligible to apply for a new grant to assist with her loss. By the next day, we’d raised a compensation claim for her late husband, without burdening her with loads of paperwork.”

Cloud-powered agility

While the bushfire response demanded compassion and sensitivity, the scale of customer contacts and the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic soon dwarfed those challenges. Service NSW gave priority to maintaining its service levels and protecting its staff by switching to a work-from-home model.

“With our agile Genesys Cloud solution, it was pretty easy to add a COVID hotline and rapidly scale up as calls peaked from around 2,000 to 25,000 over a single weekend,” said Ferguson.

Approximately 677,000 COVID-related calls later, Service NSW has helped over 1 million residents and businesses get the vital support they needed, when they needed it. Sometimes highly stressful, these conversations have included previously successful companies on the brink of collapse, tenants who became unemployed and worried about eviction, and concerned family members who weren’t able to visit sick relatives because of border closures.

New citizen-centric services

To cope with its huge growth in contact volumes, the agency expanded from 30 to more than 250 people working virtually across New South Wales — a 733% increase in 12 months. And it launched six new services, further improving the experience.

Citizens concerned about COVID-19 can always get information and answers fast. “Our chatbot handles as many as 54,000 inquiries a week, successfully resolving around 74% the first time and transferring the remainder to an agent for a live webchat,” said Ferguson.

We dealt with everything from medical queries and temporary housing options to financial assistance for those who lost their homes or jobs.

— Sue Ferguson, Director of Contact Centres, Service NSW

Using its My Service app, residents can arrange pathology tests or check into COVID-safe venues. They also benefit from a COVID Assistance Finder tool and the Cost of Living Assistance service, which offers a callback option and helps reduce homelessness with more than 70 rebate and savings programs.

With Genesys, the Service NSW team can serve more customers, more efficiently. They continue to exceed their target results with 64% of calls answered within 60 seconds.

The agency believes in equipping customer service agents with the right technology to deliver amazing results for its customers. In fact, technology is essential in delivering those experiences. “Genesys is the foundation that enables us to provide genuine care, empathy and tailored solutions in collaboration with our partner agencies,” concluded Ferguson.

At a glance

Customer: Service NSW

Industry: Government

Location: Australia

Contact centre: Over 250 agents


  • Improve crisis management response
  • Enable faster service innovation
  • Rapidly enable remote working