New Open source Asterisk solution for The People’s Postcode Lottery - Foehn - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
People’s Postcode Lottery is a postcode-based charity lottery. Following a pilot in North East England, the Lottery launched in Scotland in 2008 and now has customers across Great Britain. Its players have raised more than £23.2 million for good causes across the country.
To play, customers can sign up online at www.postcodelottery.co.uk or by calling 0808 1098765 and speaking to a member of the Customer Experience team. Using their postcode as their ticket, players can win prizes every day and a minimum of 20% of every £2 ticket goes to charity.
To support its sales and customer service teams in Edinburgh, People’s Postcode Lottery has in place a modern, open source-based customer contact system that was developed by independent managed communications provider, Foehn.
“The phone system was outdated and certainly wasn’t keeping up with the growing demands of the business,” explains John Young, IT Operations Manager UK for People’s Postcode Lottery. “The speed of growth also meant that solutions that originally worked well were now not suited for the modern business and the expectations of customers. For example, the office teams shared desk phones between six people and even transferring calls between individuals was cumbersome. It really was time for a change.”
Not only were there practical issues but the phone system was costly too.
“We were paying out a considerable amount each month which is money that we could better use elsewhere,” explains John. “We knew that with a more modern system in place, we could reduce this significantly and at the same time increase the functionality and features of the service.”
Foehn, along with several other telephony providers, was invited by People’s Postcode Lottery to submit proposals for a better solution.
John had previously used Asterisk, the open source telephony platform, and was therefore aware of its merits over ‘traditional’ PBX phone systems.
“We were aware of the stability of Asterisk and what it was able to offer us in terms of flexibility, development and future growth,” says John. “Foehn was selected, not only because of the ideas they put forward, but because they have a good reputation for providing open source telephony solutions and support.”
In October 2012, People’s Postcode Lottery moved to a new location in Edinburgh in the heart of the city and Foehn started work on the new customer contact system – aspects of which needed to be completed within three days.
“It was a far from ideal situation because parts of our new office were literally being renovated at the same time as our new contact system was being established,” says John. “We only had a short window in which to complete the build and Foehn had to develop an API so that we could connect easily to our CMS systems. Thankfully they had the system up and running from day one so that we could continue operating.”
Foehn’s solution was an Asterisk call centre system with an ISDN to SIP gateway, call recording capability, and Queuemetrics inbound and outbound call centre analysis, monitoring and reporting software.
As well as helping to reduce the running cost of People’s Postcode Lottery’s phone system significantly, Foehn’s solution provided the organisation with a host of new features.
In December 2012, TV presenter Fiona Phillips became the face of People’s Postcode Lottery in its new TV ads.
“With our new contact centre, we now have the capacity and capability to deal with large volumes of inbound calls responding to our TV campaigns,” says John. “We also have features such as a callback page on our website so that our Customer Experience team members can contact customers at their convenience. Features like these enable us to ensure that we maximise sales opportunities and provide customers with an all round better service.”
Although the new system has provided People’s Postcode Lottery with scalability and advanced features, John says there is more to be added.
“We’re very happy with what we have, but we are also now looking at other ways to use and enhance the system so that it supports the business even more,” he explains.
Commenting on open source telephony and in particular Foehn’s expertise and support, John concludes: “Asterisk provides us with a level of flexibility that you just don’t get with other ‘nailed down’ systems. We now have the ability to add to it and we also have the capability to change things ourselves, which is important.
“Throughout this process, our colleagues at Foehn have been great, extremely knowledgeable, supportive and helpful.”
Publish Date: March 26, 2014 5:00 AM
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