Newport City Homes (NCH) is a nonprofit residential social housing agency that manages properties for 10,000 residents at Newport City Council in Wales, United Kingdom (U.K.). It decided to improve customer service by integrating its call centre
technology with Microsoft Lync 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Call centre agents now have a single view of all customer interactions with the organisation, helping to enhance customer service quality.
NCH was established in 2009 after Newport City Council transferred its social housing stock to the organisation. It has an ambitious multimillion pound investment programme to bring all its properties into compliance with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard
as set by the National Assembly for Wales. With 10,000 residents on its books, NCH needs to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology to help it achieve compliance and service its tenants, leaseholders, and shared home owners.
Neil Jones, Head of Information Services, Newport City Homes, says: “As a new organisation, we needed to build a complete picture of our interactions with customers to provide them with the best levels of assistance. Our goals were to refine the services
we offer to our residents and ease the pressures on our cost base by reducing the number of calls into our customer contact centre.”
NCH customer service operations were already using a unified communications solution based on Microsoft technology. It planned to upgrade this environment to support its cost reduction goals.
||With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, our customer contact centre agents and knowledge workers can now easily view incoming call data.
Head of Information Services
Newport City Homes
Before implementing a new, integrated infrastructure, NCH consulted a community panel of residents about any improvements they would like to see in the service. Jones says: “Unsurprisingly, when our residents connect with our contact centre, they want to
resolve any issues as quickly as possible—preferably in a single transaction.”
NCH needed to analyse which services were most used by its customers and identify any that needed improvement. The organisation wanted to implement an up-to-date customer relationship management (CRM) system to help manage contacts with residents so agents
could see whether any issues were outstanding from previous calls. In deciding the priorities for its investment programme, NCH also needed better customer insight data, especially for residents with disabilities.
Customer service agents now use software from Aspect, a leading contact centre company in a global alliance with Microsoft, which integrates easily with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Lync 2010, and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
NCH integrated its Aspect technology with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Lync 2010, having previously used an earlier version of Microsoft unified communications software. NCH took advantage of its Microsoft Open Licence agreement and deployed the
Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft Office 2010, and Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010.
Jones says: “With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, our customer contact centre agents and knowledge workers can now easily view incoming call data. They can see if there are any outstanding issues with that customer or identify the type of interactions that normally
take place between the organisation and the individual.”
When a customer needs to be re-directed, the presence feature in Lync 2010 allows the agent to see if the expert required is available. Aspect reports on the number of calls in the queue in real time to allow more proactive resourcing of the call centre’s
performance. The underlying Lync 2010 technologies permit callers to access additional agents working from home or at remote locations.
Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services are used to analyse details about calls—for example, the number of calls received, services requested, and the department that deals with the request.
Data is then reported in SharePoint Server 2010 in real time. In a further improvement, agents will soon be able to view written historical correspondence between the housing service and customers. Paper-based files are currently being scanned into the SharePoint
Server 2010 document management system.
NCH is committed to excellence in housing services, and working in partnership with its residents to create a dynamic organisation that improves continuously. By integrating its CRM system with the most up-to-date unified communications and call centre technology,
NCH is now delivering better services and ensuring that its investment priorities correctly align to the needs of its customers.
CRM system ensures improved customer satisfaction. Through Microsoft Dynamics CRM, when a customer speaks to an agent either over the phone or at NCH offices, he or she can now see how well his or her previous requests have been serviced.
Jones says: “Customer satisfaction, first call resolution, and customer handling times will improve even further when the historical records are available to agents.”
Reporting shows uptake of individual housing services. The organisation is better placed to enhance specific housing services based on objective analysis through Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Jones says: “This will help us manage the demands of
current and future customers.”
NCH IT team wins industry-wide award for excellence. The integration project with Microsoft Dynamics CRM resulted in NCH winning the U.K. IT Industry Award for Best Small IT Team of the Year in 2010—a recognition
of its ability to transform the business without help from third-party consultants.
Business continuity procedures help offer round-the-clock service.Remote access to the Aspect call centre system ensures a consistent level of service around-the-clock. For example, agents can log on from
home in severe winter weather without having to undertake hazardous journeys to work.
NCH saves money when compared to upgrading existing
system. Jones says: “Lync 2010 is a significantly more cost-effective solution than a traditional private branch exchange. It provides us with additional features such as voice, instant messaging, audio and videoconferencing, presence awareness,
call recording, and speech recognition.”
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