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  • 1. IP Telephony Contact Centers Mobility Services CASE STUDY How Avaya IP Contact Centre Solutions and Support are Helping ebookers plc Maintain Competitive Advantage As one of Europe’s largest and fast- is highly familiar with the realities of Challenge: est-growing online travel specialists, integrating an acquired company’s After fuelling rapid growth with the acquisition ebookers offers a full line of services assets. Brent Spicer, ebookers’ direc- of more than a dozen travel firms, a lack of uniform call centre technology was making it geared to the leisure traveller – from tor of business development, plays increasingly difficult to offer truly differentiated discounted flights, hotels and car a key role in ensuring that newly customer care. rentals, to complete vacation pack- acquired properties deliver the intend- Solution: ages and cruises. ed return on investment. An Avaya Contact Centre Solution powered by Avaya Communication Manager and Avaya Creating a differentiated brand in a The Importance of MultiVantage™ Communications Applications fiercely competitive industry is no mean was deployed across more than 30 sites in 13 Communications Technology countries. feat. Since its formation in 1998, “Acquisitions are an essential ele- ebookers has executed a market strat- Value Created: ment in driving the growth of ebookers’ egy that couples a broad set of high- • Improved customer experience by reducing business, and our financial targets are value products with the convenience of caller wait times and, thus, decreased the based on quick utilization of acquired number of abandoned calls by 35 percent. Internet self-service, backed by phone- assets. Experience has shown us that • Increased efficiency and reduced costs in the based support in over ten languages. contact centre operation by allowing ebookers the integration of communications tech- to exactly match its capacity – and resource This strategy has clearly paid off – in nology can be one of the most difficult spending � to meet the demands of the market without adding resources. addition to experiencing more than aspects of post-acquisition integration. • Reduced network transport spending costs five years of sustained expansion; “Customer choice is an essential part by replacing costly leased lines with Avaya IP ebookers ended its most recent fiscal Telephony over its virtual private network (VPN). of the ebookers brand experience – year with sales in excess of £520M • Increased sales through the use of the Avaya both in offering a diversity of travel skills-based routing applications. Agents are and year-over-year top line growth products as well as allowing custom- now receiving the calls that match their exper- exceeding 100 percent. tise and as a result, conversions per transac- ers 24x7 access to their preferred tion are up nearly 30 percent. method of conducting transactions. Driving Business Growth • Increased performance and interoperability by providing uniformity across multiple contact Through Acquisition “Although the majority of our sales centres and integration among different vendor products using Avaya MultiVantage™ take place through online self service, Rapidly expanding companies often Communications Applications. we give ebookers’ customers easy, face significant challenges when key ‘click-to-talk’ Web access to more business processes and infrastructure LONDON, United Kingdom – Looking than one thousand contact centre cannot keep pace with the rate of for a dream vacation? Whatever your experts for the more complex trans- growth. These challenges are par- preferred form of rest and relaxa- actions. Since these contact centre ticularly pronounced when business tion – shopping the floating markets purchases are typically the highest- expansion is fuelled by mergers and of Bangkok, coral snorkelling in the margin sales, the performance and acquisitions (M&A). Great Barrier Reef, or soaking in a gla- reliability of our communications With more than ten acquisitions in technology is absolutely critical to the cier hot spring in Reykjavík – ebookers the past three years alone, ebookers success of ebookers’ business.” has a get-away that will fit the bill.
  • 2. avaya.com 2 A Comprehensive Self- of an Avaya Certified BusinessPartner Making the Choice Assessment to help determine the technological “With the needs assessment as their options. “After completing two significant benchmark, the project team deter- acquisitions in 2003, we decided to “A few years back, [the BP] man- mined that a converged voice and conduct a systematic evaluation of our aged a very successful contact centre data solution using IP Telephony asset use across the entire operation.” undertaking for our UK operation. That would be the only approach that could project required [the BP] to design and deliver what the business needed. “The findings were troubling – espe- deploy a complex, integrated solution, This determination was especially cially in the areas of contact centre so we knew they would be an excellent interesting since all of our existing integration and our on-going cost of complement to our own IT resources.” contact centres used traditional TDM operations. The recent acquisitions all (Time Division Multiplexing) technol- came with their own centres, and the “The first thing the ebookers project ogy.” study underscored the challenges we team did was to perform a thorough were encountering in getting all of the needs assessment. We met with “Our IT leadership team then multi-vendor technologies and appli- employees in all aspects of the busi- approached multiple vendors and pre- cations to interoperate properly.” ness – from front-line agents to our sented ebookers’ requirements. After executive management team – to get a evaluating their responses, we were “We had more than 30 contact cen- detailed understanding of the perform- able to make our decision quickly tres all over Europe and the perform- ance and features that were required – Avaya would provide our technology ance and reliability of the centres was to meet the needs of the business.” platform, and [the BP] would be our literally all over the map. Although end-to-end support partner.” each site was interconnected, the A Clear Set of Business lack of common routing functional- Requirements “The Avaya solution was chosen for ity significantly limited our ability to several key reasons. Compared with “The needs assessment gave us a very balance the call volumes between the the other proposals, we were con- good understanding of the demands centres. We weren’t making cost-effi- vinced that the Avaya MultiVantage™ that our communications technology cient use of our resources.” Communications Applications portfolio would face.” and converged infrastructure of media “Our call routing difficulties also “From a performance and capabilities servers and gateways represented a impacted the end customer experi- perspective, the platform would need genuine best-of-breed approach.” ence. Even though we were spending a to operate with extremely high reliabil- significant sum of money each month “We saw Avaya as the clear industry ity while delivering a uniform set of on centre-to-centre connectivity, we expert when it comes to engineering powerful applications to our geograph- often had trouble connecting callers high-performance voice systems that ically distributed agent workforce.” to the agent that was best able to are ‘future proof’. There are several address specific enquiries. Callers had “To maintain a competitive cost struc- approaches to IP Telephony in the to endure multiple transfers and were ture, we needed a centralized platform market today, but Avaya was the only spending too much time on hold.” that was easy to administer and man- provider that gave us the total confi- age – one that had the built-in scal- dence we were looking for.” “When you are in the highly-com- ability and interoperability to incorpo- petitive business of discount travel, “There were a number of Avaya TDM rate all of our existing and future sites the margins for error are very tight. systems in our embedded base, and into one virtual centre.” The study made it clear that we had we were very impressed with how to quickly make some fundamental “Support-wise, we also determined easily and cost-effectively they could changes to improve service delivery that a collaborative approach with a be upgraded to IP Telephony. There and lower our operating expense.” single expert provider would be the was no forklift required, and we could best way to go. In the past, we had completely re-use our existing data Choosing a augmented our internal resources with networking infrastructure.” Communications local service providers for each of the “The BusinessPartner was our clear Technology Well-Suited centres. Expertise and responsive- choice to be ebookers’ support part- for Growth ness of the providers differed widely, ner. They have deep expertise in so this time we wanted one global Given the importance of the situation, TDM and converged technologies, partner that could deliver consistent Brent enlisted the consulting support as well as a proven track record of lifecycle support.”
  • 3. COMMUNICATIONS AT THE HEART OF BUSINESS 3 complex, multi-vendor contact centre An Improved Customer Reduced Expense – Together implementations. The BP stood out Experience With a Growing Top Line from other providers in their depth “The Avaya Business Advocate and “The Avaya applications allow us to of knowledge about our business, Expert Agent Selection applications exactly match our capacity – and responsiveness, and their willingness have enabled full skills-based routing resource spending – to meet the to always ‘go the extra mile’.” across all of our centres. This ensures demands of the market. For the first A Rapid Rollout that each call goes to the agent with time, we can make well-informed the right specialization and language decisions about the number and type “In the first phase of the implemen- skills. If all agents in Paris are busy, of agents that we need. Our agent uti- tation, [the BP] documented our for example, an enquiry can be routed lization levels have never been higher, existing voice and data network in to Dublin to be handled by a French- and we have been able to handle great detail. This enabled [the BP] to speaking agent – completely transpar- increased call volumes without adding develop a cutover plan that allowed us ent to the customer.” resources.” to introduce the new platform without any disruption to the business or our “The Avaya applications allow all of “IP Telephony has allowed us to make customers.” our travel agents to be treated as a huge reduction in our network trans- a singl,e ‘virtual’, global resource. port spending. Instead of costly leased “To ensure full readiness before the Incoming calls can now be intel- lines, all of our call traffic is now cutover, [the BP] configured and ligently distributed between sites. carried as packets on ebookers’ wide tested all of the new software and Caller wait times – and frustration area network (WAN). The days of long- hardware in their labs. Once the test- – have been substantially reduced. Six distance charges are over – all of our ing was complete, a team of [the BP] months after cutover, the number of inter-site voice traffic essentially ‘rides and ebookers’ engineers then went abandoned calls has gone down over for free’ over our VPN.” from site to site to introduce the new 35 percent.” software and hardware and retire or “Our use of Avaya skills-based routing upgrade the in-place systems.” “We are also using the Avaya has resulted in a dramatic increase in Interactive Response application, sales. Agents are getting the calls that “[The BP] performed overall project which enables customers to make pay- match their expertise, and as a result, management and worked all of the ments or check flight availability and conversions per transaction are up cutover details with all of the essential reservations over the phone. This is nearly 30 percent.” parties. Tight coordination with British another step toward giving customers Telecom (BT) was particularly key High Performance and the fullest possible set of self-service since we were also switching each of Interoperability options.” the centres from leased lines to BT’s “It is not unusual for a centre to han- new MPLS-based (Multiprotocol Label A Total View of Performance dle over 200,000 calls per month. In Switching) IP VPN connectivity.” “The Avaya Call Management System the old environment, the reliability of “The rollout spanned thirteen differ- application has given us a complete, our different platforms varied widely ent countries and had an extremely consistent view of the performance from centre to centre. Now the entire aggressive timeline. We successfully of all the centres – right down to the network operates with the same high implemented the new solution in all agent. Before the new solution, our performance.” thirty-one sites in just eight weeks. ability to look at each centre’s per- “This superior performance is a result There is no doubt that the success of formance varied widely.” of a well-engineered platform coupled the rollout was a direct result of [the “The Avaya platform enables us to with the day-to-day comprehensive BP’s] skill, dedication and detailed make immediate decisions about the support that [the BP] delivers in part- planning.”The Business Benefits performance of each centre as well nership with Avaya Global Services.” With the new platform fully opera- as the overall network. The real-time “In terms of integration, we are uti- tional, Brent has had an opportunity information we receive also allows lizing several multi-vendor products to assess the impacts to ebookers’ us to make rapid business decisions and devices together with the Avaya business. involving our market campaigns – the MultiVantage™ Communications business has never been so agile.”
  • 4. avaya.com Applications. ebookers has also all of our sites, and ebookers’ now has Learn More deployed a Witness® Call Recording one of the world’s largest virtual con- System as well as the Epiphany® CRM tact centres. Performance is top-notch, For more information on how Avaya can (Customer Relationship Management) and the quality of our customer service take your enterprise from where it is software – both of which inter- has been uniformly high – even during to where it needs to be, contact your operate perfectly with the Avaya the periods of highest call volume.” Avaya Client Executive or Authorized Communication Manager.” Avaya BusinessPartner, or visit us at “This virtual contact centre initiative www.avaya.com “On the transport side of the network, has clearly been a vital investment for the Avaya solution works seamlessly ebookers – not only have we reduced with the Cisco devices that manage our our cost structure, but we have created VPN connectivity. This is a fully trans- a more differentiated customer experi- parent voice and data environment.” ence. At the most strategic level, Avaya and the BP have demonstrated how Delivering at the Strategic Level ebookers’ can leverage leading-edge “Without a doubt, the [joint Avaya and technology to create a sustainable com- BP] solution has met all of our expecta- petitive advantage. That’s real business tions. We have powerful functionality in value.” ABOUT EBOOKERS ebookers is a leading pan-European online travel company specializing in the mid- and long-haul modular leisure segments of the European travel industry. The Company has a multi brand marketing strategy under the ebookers umbrella brand. Its brands include ebookers.com, Flightbookers , Travelbag, Bridge the World, and MrJet. ebookers plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EBR) and quoted on U.S. NASDAQ (EBKR). For more information on ebookers, visit www.ebookers.com. Applications Systems Services • Avaya MultiVantage™ • Avaya S8700 Media Server • Avaya Global Services Communications Applications • Avaya S8300 Media Server • Avaya Communication Manager • Avaya G700 Media Gateway • Avaya Call Management System • Avaya G600 Media Gateway • Avaya Interactive Response • Avaya 4620 Series IP Telephones • Avaya Business Advocate • Avaya Expert Agent • Witness® Call Recording • E.piphany® CRM All statements in this Case Study were made by Brent Spicer, business development director, ebookers plc. © 2005 Avaya Inc. All Rights Reserved. Avaya and the Avaya Logo are trademarks of Avaya Inc. and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. All trademarks identified by the ®, SM or TM are registered trademarks, service marks or trademarks, respectively, of Avaya Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Printed in the U.S.A. COMMUNICATIONS 12/05 • GCC2540UK AT THE HEART OF BUSINESS