The ability to answer calls promptly and efficiently is vital to business success, but High Street TV were struggling. Sharon Green, General Manager Central Services at High Street TV, explains: “Our telephone system had become very unreliable; with multiple suppliers involved it was very difficult to pinpoint issues and resolve problems quickly. Customers complained of constant engaged tone and it was becoming clear that we were losing business.”
Having its telephone system, contact centre application, calls, lines, and 0800 services provided by a number of different vendors was a source of complexity High Street TV could do without. So they approached BT for a solution.
“We wanted a one-stop-shop,” confirms Sharon Green, “a company that could take responsibility for the whole infrastructure. BT has the knowledge, experience and a good reputation. For us it was the obvious choice.”
Right from the outset BT was able to provide statistical data about call answering performance that confirmed the company’s worst fears. A proposal for completely replacing the retailer’s telephone system and contact centre, as well as consolidating all network services with BT, was drawn up and quickly agreed.
The core of the BT solution features IP Office from Avaya. Designed for businesses with up to 300 employees, IP Office combines the reliability and simplicity of a traditional phone system with the advantages and functionality of IP telephony. It’s ideal for any business looking to improve customer service and call handling, while also reducing costs.
IP Office supports everything: from basic telephony, right up to the most sophisticated unified communications and collaboration applications. The Advanced Edition, selected by High Street TV, also features a powerful and flexible contact centre application, a voicemail system integrated with Microsoft Outlook, and an auto attendant for improved call direction.
The BT solution for High Street TV comprises 90 Avaya 9608 premium IP handsets, North Supply call recording technology, and two wallboards to display contact centre performance information in real time. Network services include two ISDN30 bearers, one for the contact centre and the other for the general office telephone system, plus the migration to BT of 0800 services and 79 DDI numbers with full number portability.
A monitoring and reporting application provides comprehensive performance data about, for example, traffic levels, call answering performance, and call duration times. These valuable insights will help High Street TV to better understand customer behaviour, measure the success of marketing activity, and plan resources better.
To meet High Street TV’s requirements, the solution required a significant degree of customisation and bespoke configuration, a task carried out by BT’s customer training and professional services associate ITEL. Sharon Green comments: “The BT engineers and their colleagues from ITEL were absolutely brilliant, often working late into the evening to make sure everything was in place for go-live, which ironically was planned for Friday 13th!”
Despite the date, the move from the old to new system went without a hitch. “Feedback from the business has been great,” observes Sharon Green. “Everything worked as it should right away, the training was spot-on and everyone seems to love the new system. It’s so intuitive and easy to use.”
Already business benefits are being realised. At busy times, calls to the contact centre are redirected to the customer service team, before being handed-off to a third party contact centre service. Improved and more efficient call handling is helping to boost sales performance while lowering operating cost, with around 15 per cent fewer calls now being handed-off to the third party agent.
With call centre agents now automatically presented with information on the caller and the channel used, call duration times have reduced too. As well as enabling customer queries to be quickly and efficiently resolved, call recording also provides the means to monitor service quality and tailor staff coaching needs accordingly.
“We’ve been very impressed by how much we can customise the system,” confirms Sharon Green. For example, IP phones have been programmed to display the media channel name as well as the calling party details and each phone displays a buddy list to enhance call transfer.
Developments still in hand with BT include integration of the contact centre with High Street TV’s order management system; an enhancement that will enable more advanced screen pops. Also in the works is the automated suppression of voice recording during the customer payment process, to improve compliance with payment card industry regulations.
High Street TV is also about to implement a money-saving mobile worker application for its international travellers. Suitable for most smartphones the BT-supplied Avaya application makes the mobile phone appear as an office extension for improved call handing and contactability. It also enables dialled calls from a mobile phone to be set up from the IP Office and delivered to the mobile as an inbound call, substantially reducing international roaming charges.
Sharon Green sums up: “Overall we are delighted with the IP Office solution from BT. We have so much more information about our business at our fingertips and that is helping to improve customer service. And because IP Office is so scalable and flexible, it’s perfect to support our business as it continues to grow.”
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