Case Studies : Addison Lee
As a London minicab firm, Addison Lee is committed to implementing best practice technology solutions to support its expanding business. ??In order to improve the productivity of its bookings process, the company needed to improve the performance of its Central London contact centre that employs over 300 staff, including some 85 home workers. ??A key driver for this activity was to improve agent effectiveness and occupancy, and ensure efficient planning and forecasting of call volumes and staffing levels at the company’s contact centre.
Addison Lee wanted to work with an experienced contact centre technology partner to implement a Workforce Management (WFM) solution as part of its broader Workforce Optimisation strategy. The company selected Sabio to supply a WFM solution based on the Impact 360 suite.?
Sabio recommended an in-depth, scenario modelling led approach, and helped to develop an accelerated ROI proposition for the company’s WFM implementation.??Following the success of an initial pilot programme, Sabio rolled out the Impact 360 solution to support Addison Lee’s entire contact centre workforce at its London HQ and across its home workers.
Sabio’s implementation of the Impact 360 Workforce Management solution has achieved a number of key benefits:
-Unlocking staff savings of around £1 million through more efficient scheduling and agent occupancy?
-Helping Addison Lee to achieve a 30 percent reduction in overall contact centre staffing costs?
-Increasing agent occupancy levels from 40 to 70 percent?
-Significantly reduced the time taken to process agent holiday requests from two and a half days a week to just ten minutes?
Improved agent booking rates, increasing contact centre productivity, and rewarding improved agent performance with increased earnings
Deploying best practice technology for competitive advantage
Addison Lee is London’s leading premium minicab firm, and provides minicab, chauffeur and international courier services to over 12,000 London corporate account customers. Thanks to strong growth over the last five years and a series of successful acquisitions, Addison Lee now has an annual turnover in excess of £118 million. With a fleet of over 2,200 spacious people carriers - all fitted with air conditioning and satellite navigation – the company is over five times larger than its nearest private hire competitor.
Its service is – on average – 33 percent cheaper than traditional black taxis, and the company’s automatic allocation system allows it to offer an unrivalled 15-minute, on demand pick-up time within Central London. GPS technology ensures that vehicles are tracked at all times, while efficient scheduling has helped the company to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 20 percent over the last three years.
Addison Lee carries out up to 20,000 jobs each day, with the bookings handled by some 300 agents – most working from a modern contact centre based at the company’s Central London headquarters and 85 homeworkers based across the South of England. The call centre typically receives over 100,000 calls each week, however call volumes can vary significantly according to factors such as holidays and half-terms, so the centre has to be flexible enough to accommodate volumes that range between 10,000 and 40,000 calls a day.
When Chris De Souza joined Addison Lee recently as their Call Centre Manager, he could see that while the company’s contact centre was operating successfully, there was still a significant opportunity to optimise its performance by applying the latest Workforce Optimisation techniques. "Having set up and run a number of contact centres both in the UK and overseas, I wanted to make sure that Addison Lee’s operations were running as effectively as possible. Key to this would be the successful implementation of a best practice Workforce Management (WFM) solution," he commented.??"In previous roles I had worked with a number of different workforce management solutions so had a good understanding of the kind of software solutions that could help us create optimal schedules for the business. We were confident that WFM could make a big difference for the Addison Lee contact centre operation, so we carefully researched the market to identify a best-in-class solution," continued Chris De Souza.
Choosing a specialist implementation partner?"We also wanted to work with a specialist implementation partner that could look beyond the software to make sure we ended up with a solution that worked best for our business. After an in-depth procurement process, including an initial 3-month trial, we eventually selected Sabio to implement Verint’s Impact 360 Workforce Management solution. Our assessment was that – of all the solutions available - Impact 360 delivered the most comprehensive performance and functionality. We were particularly impressed by how easily our agents could use it on a day-to-day basis," he explained.
?"Our decision to work with Sabio was made easier by their strong reputation across the contact centre market. What became apparent to us during our discussions was that Sabio clearly had in-depth experience - not just of the Impact 360 product set – but of other Workforce Management applications and also of the kind of performance levels that actually constitute best practice for today’s customer service operations. They were then able to help us use the WFM solution to improve the management of our workforce, and optimise our overall contact centre performance. With Sabio providing the Impact 360 solution, we were also confident that there was a real team of experts behind the software, and that we could call on support throughout our implementation process and beyond," he continued.
Giving agents more control of their schedules
Since implementing the Impact 360 WFM solution, Chris De Souza has noticed a number of significant changes in how the different parts of the contact centre operation are working. "At all levels it’s made a real difference. For our agents, we’ve seen the reaction to our WFM solution shift from initial uncertainty through to strong support, particularly as the agents started to use Impact 360 self-service functionality such as holiday reservations and shift swapping. ??"It’s this kind of functionality that helps agents to feel more in control of their working day. Another useful feature is the ability to get Impact 360 to automatically email schedules through to the agent’s home email address – that way they can gain full visibility of their upcoming schedule before they even come into work.
"Agents have also seen their individual earnings increase since implementing WFM. We pay our agents a bonus based on the number of bookings they make, and as the WFM tool has helped us to achieve a significant increase in our occupancy rate, agents are seeing a subsequent increase in their bonus payments," explained Chris.
Freeing team leaders to spend more time on coaching
A key driver behind the WFM implementation programme was Addison Lee’s determination to provide its agents and team leaders with a consistent and transparent approach to contact centre activity forecasting and scheduling.
"In larger contact centres it’s really easy to lose sight of individuals and their performance," commented Chris. "You can spot the signs when your team leaders are too busy handling escalated calls and filling in forms. Since Sabio implemented WFM for us, we’re finding that our team leaders are able to spend much more time walking the floor and managing their staff. And because their agents are effectively able to handle their own holiday and shift swap requests, it has left them free to spend much more time on coaching."
Reducing our dependence on complex forecasts and schedules?"Given the volume and flexibility of our call patterns, it had always been a major task to ensue that we had the right number of agents in place to handle Addison Lee’s varying frequency of customer reservation calls. Our approach to scheduling typically involved getting as many agents as possible into the contact centre whenever we knew it was going to be busy, and then hoping that we had enough in place. While this ensured we were always able to offer a high quality of service, it also meant that as a business we were paying a bottom line penalty due to overlapping shifts, excess occupancy and unplanned overtime," explained Chris.
"As a consequence of this approach, we were having to allocate a large proportion of our time to resource management, with three of our specialist managers working on this – two of them full time - using a complex Excel-based spreadsheet model to schedule all our shifts, manage staff holiday requests and bookings, as well as provide forecasts of activity levels," he added. "Since implementing the WFM solution, however, we’ve been able to formalise our forecasting and scheduling process for our homeworkers and agents in the contact centre, and the same work can now be handled by a single resource manager. This not only makes our resource management more efficient, but also frees our specialist staff to spend less time scheduling and more time on analysing our contact centre performance and identifying ways for further improvements.
"Effective workforce management is all about being able to simulate workloads and accurately predict the resource levels needed to deliver service successfully," continued Chris. "When I first joined the company we always had a fully-staffed contact centre, but our occupancy was actually running at around 40 per cent. Since implementing Sabio’s WFM solution we’ve seen that figure almost double, and that’s had a very beneficial impact on our overall staffing levels. We’re also taking advantage of Impact 360’s advanced adherence capabilities, and we’re now able to track our schedule adherence against our projections. It’s re-assuring that our actual contact centre performance almost invariably tracks Impact 360’s ‘greenline’ forecast, indicating that working with Sabio we’ve been able to tune the WFM software to really match our business requirements.
"With Impact 360 we’ve been able to unlock significant savings, not only delivering on our initial ROI goals, but also introducing new levels of efficiency into our contact centre operations. We’ve got far greater control over our scheduling and occupancy, introducing variable shift patterns, reducing unnecessary overtime costs, and optimising the overall number of agents we need to deliver on our service levels," he added.
Achieving quantifiable bottom-line business benefits?Sabio’s successful implementation of Impact 360 Workforce Management for Addison Lee has resulted in a number of quantifiable bottom-line business benefits that extend far beyond the project’s initial project ROI calculations. These include:
-An initial 30 percent reduction in the overall number of call centre staff required to support Addison Lee’s reservation business. When coupled with overtime and occupancy improvements, this has helped the company to save around £1 million of its annual contact centre budget?
-Increased workforce optimisation with agent occupancy levels increasing from 40 to 70 percent?
-More efficient resource management, with forecasting and scheduling now managed by a single planning professional instead of the previous three-strong team?
-Significant productivity improvements for booking agent holidays – what used to take two and a half days a week is now handled by Impact 360 WFM in just ten minutes?
?Since first engaging with Sabio on the workforce management project, Addison Lee has achieved a dramatic bottom line improvement from its expanding contact centre operations. According to Chris De Souza: "the flexibility and productivity improvements we’ve achieved with Impact 360 have made sure that we’re now delivering best practice performance, and playing a key role in supporting the company’s continued growth plans. We’ve since grown our overall contact centre numbers following a further acquisition, and we’ve been able to scale our forecasting and scheduling activities to support this growth."
Today's Tip of the Day - Answering Customers’ Questions
About Addison Lee:
Addison Lee is a London-based private hire company.
Sabio is a specialist customer service and contact centre systems integrator focused on delivering exceptional customer contact strategies and solutions based on best-of-breed technologies from partner organisations such as Avaya, Nuance and Verint. Sabio offers business consulting, systems integration and managed services and has worked with many major organisations across the UK including Argos, Brewin Dolphin, BT Business, Business Stream, Eurostar, Homeserve, Leeds City Council, Office Depot, Thames Water and the multi-award winning Lebara Mobile.
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013