Shoreline Housing Partnership has gone live with its new communications infrastructure following the relocation of its headquarters. Before the move, Shoreline had little more than ordinary telephone extensions, making it difficult for it to meet national guidelines for call-handling efficiency or provide a seamless service to tenants.
Steve Neul, head of IT, Shoreline Housing Partnership, said, “The move meant we could update our communications infrastructure. We particularly wanted to create a contact centre for improved enquiry handling and more integrated customer service.”
Shoreline approached its BT Local Business team. Neul explained, “We favoured an integrated solution from a single supplier, with the capacity to support our business in the future.” The BT package includes the contact centre, a wide area network, an office communication system, internet access, telephone lines, and 250 HP desktop computers. A finance arrangement helped to minimise up-front capital costs, while a discounted calling package provides Shoreline with attractive call rates.
The new communication system has transformed Shoreline’s call answering, with up to 60 per cent of callers able to dial the people they require directly. At the same time, improved management information is allowing the contact centre to match demand better, with over 90 per cent of Shoreline’s 2000 calls each week now answered within five rings. The tenants’ experience is also greatly improved because agents now have immediate access to the relevant information in order to deal with tenant enquiries about a wide range of topics on a single call.
Neul said, “We have reduced the cost of our calls and lines by at least 25 per cent, and there is the potential for more savings and service enhancements to come.” The next stage of Shoreline’s development plans is likely to include mobile services integration, enhanced online access for customers, and the use of voice recognition systems.
A Cisco IP-based Unified Communications Manager linked to an IPFX contact centre application, both provided and supported by BT iNet, handles voice communications for Shoreline’s offices. 90 BT ISDN digital lines connect to the public network from two separate locations for enhanced business continuity. The WAN comprises triangulated 100 Mbps leased-line Ethernet links serving all three Shoreline offices, plus an multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) connection to Shoreline’s separate 24-hour emergency centre. Internet access is via BTnet’s uncontended Premium service, supplemented by broadband services to enable network access for managers at selected sheltered housing schemes. BT Lynx supplied the HP hardware and configured the PCs.