Case Studies : Affinity, Formerly Veolia Water
Veolia Water enhances customer experience with cloud-based call centre services from Intelecom
Veolia Water provides water services in the UK and is part of the world's leading environmental services company, Veolia Environment. With over 2,000 people, the organisation has won numerous awards for its approach to responsible business leadership, sustainability and innovation.
Customer focus lies at the heart of Veolia Water’s corporate values and proof of this can be found at Veolia Central’s busy call centre, a 200-strong department that is open 24 hours a day and regularly handles around 1 million calls every year. The call centre offers a billing and accounts enquiries service between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday and is available for operations calls between 7am and 8pm supplemented by an out-of-hours service for emergencies.
To help meet the heavy demand from large call volumes and provide a high level of customer service, Veolia Water relies on a suite of call centre applications from Intelecom. Since signing up to Intelecom’s cloud-based services eight years ago, Veolia has rapidly expanded its original deployment from serving Veolia Central to providing a totally cloud-based shared service environment to other parts of the business including Veolia East, Veolia South East and other projects.
Life before and after the cloud
Before moving to Intelecom, a traditional telephony-based PBX system was used to manage the growing call centre. According to David Gray, Resource and Planning Analyst at Veolia Central, "We found the original telecommunications infrastructure increasingly restrictive simply because technology had moved on.Effectively, I was the cloud, having to physically monitor, distribute and diverts calls myself to various workgroups.The time had come to consider automation as a more proactive means to deliver an enhanced customer experience and meet ambitious regulatory targets."
In 2005, Veolia Water turned to Intelecom’s hosted Pulse solution to create a completely new, Cloud-based contact centre.Before Intelecom, customers would hear an engaged tone or even a dead tone when lines were busy or had reached their maximum capacity. Today, Intelecom’s technology queues calls in the cloud so callers never receive a busy signal and calls are handled more quickly and efficiently as David Gray explained, "Intelecom fixed our problems overnight.It has streamlined our end-to-end call delivery process and dramatically helped to reduce our abandoned call rates, dropping from an average of over 7% to around 2.8%."
Perfecting a totally integrated call centre
More recently, David Gray and his team have benefited from Intelecom’s superior integration capabilities to maximise the full value of Veolia’s call centre solutions. With help from Intelecom they are creating a single, computer telephony integration (CTI) framework that will effectively capture all essential caller and agent data from Intelecoms Pulse system.
The latest integration project builds on Veolia’s already successful integration of Intelecom with workforce optimisation software. Call and agent statistics are fed into the forecasting and scheduling modules at 15 minute intervals and include a skills-based routing facility that matches the right agent skills with specific calls types.Next on the horizon is applying the CTI framework to speech analytics and customer feedback.
Tapping into agent talent to deliver maximum customer value
Veolia’s call centre agents have noticed a series of benefits since using Intelecom including improved simplicity, speed and flexibility. Personalised skill profiles have enhanced the overall sense of staff empowerment.Today, agents are assigned calls based on their training and knowledge rather than being part of a rigid workgroup. This improves response times and enhances the customer experience.
There is zero downtime caused by network disruption and the ability to connect to the Internet via handheld devices including laptops and mobile phones guarantees 100% availability. Intelecom requires no hardware, all that is needed is an internet connection and telephone line (from a standard PSTN, SIP or mobile network).
Efficient management tool that serves customers and OFWAT
Intelecom has helped Veolia’s call centre department to manage both call volumes and call types more effectively. The transparency of the system provides greater visibility of agent activity regardless of location and gives managers the ability to balance call loads between locations and groups to proactively meet customer demand.
Furthermore, Intelecom’s web-based statistics tool SONAR has proved crucial to meeting the stringent regulatory requirements of OFWAT. The technology provides David Gray and Veolia’s senior management team with instant access to information that generates a set of bespoke or pre-defined reports.At a glance, Veolia can demonstrate to regulators the exact nature of agent and caller activity.
"We are confident we have 100% visibility including an accurate audit trail of what is happening over our network at any one time at the click of a mouse. Intelecom has become an integral part of our business planning process.We now have a shared service that delivers consistently high levels of service to our staff, customers and industry stakeholders," added David Gray.
Turning outbound into inbound
Veolia has recently deployed Intelecom’s Broadcast module which allows a programmed call out to a pre-defined list of numbers, typically a pre-recorded message is played to customers. This is particularly effective in terms of billing enquiries.Using the Broadcast module a message is used as a call to action to give customers the opportunity to speak directly to an agent on hearing the announcement.
David Gray explained, "Agents used to spend time reading individual customer details and then often dialling out many times only to reach answer machines or engaged signals. Using this new Broadcast system means the agents’ time is used far more effectively dealing with the resulting inbound calls and the business can see an immediate benefit from this new way of working."
Plans for the future
Intelecom actively encourages Veolia to make recommendations for future product enhancements, an opportunity David welcomes with enthusiasm, "Intelecom often asks for our direct input into product development and always make us feel special. It is a very personal company with big-company ideas and a ‘can do’ outlook."
Next on the horizon is further integration including linking the corporate intranet and internal contacts with Intelecom in order to accelerate call transfers. Early indications are that the average handling time of calls that need to be transferred can be reduced by between 45 and 30 seconds, ultimately making a big difference if only 10% of one million annual calls need to be transferred.Veolia also plans to extend the use of Broadcast technology to further reduce inbound calls plus the introduction of new services such as web chat and SMS.
David Gray concluded, "We look forward to continuing to work with Intelecom to build an even more efficient call centre to further enhance customer experience."
- Intelecom’s hosted cloud-based technology streamlines the end-to-end call delivery process and improves customer service
- Abandoned call rates down from 7% to 2.8%
- Superior integration capabilities create effective CTI framework
- Introduction of skills-based routing empowers agents and improves quality of response to customers
- Handling time on call transfers reduced by between 45 and 30 seconds
- SONAR web-based reporting supports compliance and regulatory requirements of OFWAT
- Transparency gives 100% visibility of agent and caller activity
- 100% uptime guaranteed
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About Veolia Water:
Veolia Water Central is the UK's largest water supply only company and is part of Veolia Water UK. The company is committed to delivering a high quality water service to all customers.
Intelecom is a provider of contact management solutions with 16 years’ experience and one of the first to develop a cloud-based contact centre. Connect from Intelecom can be adapted to accommodate one to several thousand concurrent agents using any device, in any location and integrates with multiple applications. Connect is completely multichannel - agents can respond to Phone, Email, Chat, Social Media and SMS enquiries all within the one application.
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012