UK communications provider Gamma announces that education charity, AQA, the UK’s largest provider of academic qualifications taught in schools and colleges, is using its services to futureproof its customer facing operations. The contract, delivering a cloud-based multichannel contact centre solution from Serenova, a leading contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) provider, is essential to AQA being able to flexibly resource its workforce throughout busy exam periods.
AQA set and mark the papers for around half of all GCSE and A-level examinations taken every year. Its customer service team deals with a number of different customer groups that need to get in touch for advice and enquiries, including teachers, parents, students, examiners and exams officers. During the summer period, and especially on examination days, there is a surge in the amount of calls received, and the team needs to scale accordingly from approximately 110 people to double that number.
At the beginning of 2015, AQA underwent a telephony review, under which it assessed whether its current system met its ‘business as normal’ requirements, as well as if it would meet a variety of possible future requirements such as being able to manage, measure and respond to customers in live chat and social networks with the same routing, quality control, efficiency and reporting as its voice channels.
“We found our pre-existing cloud-based telephony solution was fit for purpose,” said Nikki Bolshaw, Head of Customer Services at AQA. “It had skill-based routing, which is our core requirement, but when we assessed whether it could meet our future requirements, we realised it didn’t have the scope that other systems did. In addition, some core functionality such as transferring a call more than once wasn’t possible. This occasionally led to dropped customer calls and would heavily impact our customers.”
AQA reviewed new hosted telephony solutions from various companies until settling on a shortlist of four providers. Gamma, in partnership with the Serenova (formerly LiveOps Cloud) platform, was finally selected because of the wide range of requirements that it met, including intelligent multichannel routing, real-time reporting, and interaction recording across every channel: voice, email, web chat, social and SMS.
Bolshaw continued: “We were surprised at just how many of our requirements the Gamma and Serenova solution met out of the box. But what clinched the deal was the flexible costing Gamma offered around scaling additional users and agents. During the busy summer period we need a very robust system that allows us to draft in extra staff to be able to deal with the increased demand. Being able to cost-effectively resource our workforce was a definite selling point.”
Whilst running a proof of concept, AQA was also impressed by the customer service on offer with Gamma’s easy-to-use web interface, which was perceived to be more user-friendly than AQA’s pre-existing solution. It also allows employees to manage their calls more easily and effectively, maximising their individual productivity and giving management a much greater level of control over resource planning and adherence.
“One more tick in a box was the solution’s ability to seamlessly link with our CRM system, Microsoft Dynamics,” said Bolshaw. “What could be a nightmare transition process appears to be seamless and is likely to go live early in 2017.”
The Gamma and Serenova solution went live in October, and AQA is hopeful as to the new features it can add in the near future.
“At present we rely primarily on voice and email communications with our customers. I’ve worked in smaller organisations before where text and live chat is also a big part of customer communications. Fortunately this functionality is offered as part of the Gamma and Serenova solution, and I’m keen to explore this for our customers within the next 12 months. A big benefit of working with these two providers is their futureproofing capabilities. It has given us the benefit of knowing we can easily bolt on additional features when we need them.”
Serenova simplifies every aspect of the customer experience, from front office to back, to make life easier for you, your customers and your employees. The world’s most passionate, customer-focused brands achieve brighter interactions, deeper insights, and more meaningful outcomes with Serenova’s always-on, highly secure, true multi-tenant and instantly scalable Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platform, CxEngage. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Serenova also has operations in California, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Learn more at www.serenova.com.