Customer Service Excellence

The move to becoming a group of federated educational establishments was the catalyst for North Warwickshire & Hinckley College to examine their communications infrastructure. The result was a dramatic win for reseller Focus Group, Gamma Horizon and Akixi call and contact centre management.

In January 2013, North Warwickshire & Hinckley College became a newly federated college when they officially joined forces with South Leicestershire College overseen by one principal.

It was against this backdrop that the college decided to review its communications infrastructure that was serving the five campus locations.

Majid Shaikh, IT Team Leader for the college, “The first move we made was to integrate of off site data back-ups and having our BT accounts merged in to one – moves that resulted in reducing our costs. We then decided to replace our ISDN lines for SIP trunks to provide greater flexibility and to further reduce costs.

The problem was however that in order to deploy SIP trunks we would have to individually upgrade all of our telephone systems to be SIP compatible. We soon discovered that the cost of these upgrades would be prohibitive and began looking at alternative solutions.

Ian Stokes from reseller Focus Group suggested I looked at Gamma’s Horizon hosted telephony. Ian sent us some test devices that we found simple to install and integrate in to our network.

We have many smaller satellite campuses but as long as we have internet access hosted telephony phones or laptop based phone client applications with headsets can be quickly and easily deployed – it does not matter where they are.

If you contrast this to the practice we were working under previously where every time we had some move location we had to call our supplier to run a voice and a data point to that location – it was costing upwards of £120.00 each move. Today we just patch in new users to our existing network.

It was these cost and flexibility of use benefits of hosted telephony that became the deciding factor in our decision to implement a complete campus wide hosted telephony solution. To date we have more than 550 telephony points connected in this way.

Our feasibility study for the project, implemented over five campuses and for a five-year period, indicated that we would save around £120,000 and in a time of Government cost cutting to our budgets these saving are very welcome.

A Clear View

Providing customer service excellence is key for the college and the Akixi call management applications that Ian Stokes at Focus Group also recommended we use in conjunction with the hosted telephony has played a key part in this.

We have 30 users licensed on the Akixi platform and this provided us with presence – the ability to see the status of users. Busy, available, in meetings and when they will next be available etc. These are all invaluable information tools for our operators and management.

Additionally we can now see who is calling who and log and return missed calls – a feature that is very popular with the parents of students. Again, from Akixi we get an audit trail of activity, which we can both measure and monitor.

Overall Akixi provides us the ability to see what is happening in our business and I say that the top three features we use are real time and historical reports, live user data all on one screen and the report wall.

We subscribe to the view that in order to manage activity in a business you first of all have to measure it and Akixi provides at a glance views of our activity all of which can be reported upon. Calls by telephone number, unreturned lost calls, calls by extension numbers and calls made over any selected interval are just four of many more parameters we can see, measure and report upon whenever we want.

The Akixi desktop wallboard shows us what needs to be done when it counts most. The fact that the information tiles are configurable means that we can tailor the display to show us at a glance the key metrics we need to manage and control such as the number of calls waiting and calls abandoned.

The impact of using the application has been highly positive. Akixi lets staff monitor call volumes and flow, allowing us to staff accordingly and cater for peak periods. Akixi allows us to track missed or lost calls which means we can contact customers that would have been previously missed or lost

Overall there are a number of stand out features for the product starting with the fact that there is no software to buy or maintain then add to this minimal connection costs, a speedy and minimal technical set up.

Being cloud based Akixi is always up to date, available anywhere and everywhere which means disaster recovery is built in.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine