Tiger aids Bournemouth University meet the challenges of clearing

Tiger Communications, the provider of Call Management Solutions, has announced details of an installation at Bournemouth University that has helped to manage successful student clearing processes dealing with nearly 59,000 calls in the first week, of which over 34,000 calls were on the first day.

Over 18,000 students study at Bournemouth University each year at its sites in and around the large south coast town. Its departments include The School of Applied Sciences, The School of Health and Social Care, The School of Tourism, The Business School, School of Design, Engineering & Computing and The Media School. Bournemouth University is highly regarded and, since 2005, has been investing over £100M in staff and facilities to maintain its traditional focus on academic excellence.

One of the most crucial and stressful periods for both staff and prospective students is the clearing process, which takes place every August. As John Thomas, Network and System Security Manager at Bournemouth University explains, “We probably handle more calls over the clearing and confirmation period than we do in the rest of the academic year combined.”

The call handling process uses multiple numbers and trunk lines and connects to operators that cascade calls down to the relevant staff within each of the schools and departments. At peak, hundreds of calls per hour are not unusual and John and his team need to have reliable and scalable systems in place to ensure that callers are handled in the most appropriate way, reaching the right people as quickly as possible or, at the very least, not becoming “lost in the system.”

In the past, the ability to accurately report on call flows, capacity and response times has proven to be a challenging manual task. So the University decided to invest in a Tiger 2020 solution to integrate with the Cisco Call Manager & associated ACD systems. “We were looking for a product that could give us complete visibility across all our trunks and internal lines down to a very granular level,” explains John, “we also needed to be able to create reports quickly and allow our users to self service around other activities such as working out the impact of ongoing marketing and outreach campaigns.”

Following a straightforward integration project carried out by Logicalis UK, the Tiger 2020 solution went live in August. “The real test would come when clearing started and, in the aftermath, it is fair to say that Tiger performed admirably,” agrees John. At its peak, the University clearing team handled 1,200 calls in the first hour with other department traffic remaining unaffected and the Tiger solution was able to track all flows without disruption. “We were able to monitor in real time whether our call strategy was working and how calls were being distributed across multiple carriers. We could spot bottlenecks with queues and potentially allocate more resources based on historic or ongoing trends.”

The net result is that no calls were lost due to capacity issues with the majority of applicants speaking to a human operator within an average of 2 minutes. All calls were also successfully passed on to the queues of the relevant department. “In the past, the burden for generating individual reports was passed to the IT department. With Tiger, we have now introduced a self service portal allowing users within the organisation to quickly create their own very specific reports to help them with other call related projects – this is a significant benefit for everybody involved.”

John Thomas judges the adoption of Tiger 2020 as a success for the University and, moving forward, believes that its comprehensive reporting capability will help it to rebalance its telephony resources more efficiently. “Having accurate reporting is such a key part of our infrastructure it’s essential that we aim to improve our responsiveness at clearing time and for the greater benefit of the University,” he concludes.

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