Case Study: Concept Publishing
Established in 1977 and based in Bath, Concept Publishing produces a selection of magazines for UK cinema goers including "Cineworld", "Showcase", "Take 2" and "Unreel". The magazines are distributed at cinemas and other venues throughout the UK and each title is given a regional focus. Features in the magazines include current cinema reviews, interviews with favourite stars, competitions, movie events and news and gossip from Hollywood. The company's principal revenue is generated through regional advertising sales conducted through their call centres in Bath, Bristol and Telford offices.
Concept Publishing was using a traditional PBX phone solution, but this had limited functionality, was costly to maintain and altering extensions often resulted in downtime for the company. Operating in a fast moving business, and handling often complex advertising campaigns meant that the company needed to record all call centre agent conversations, so that business transacted could be monitored and logged. Recording calls was also important from a training perspective, as each agent was alloted a specific time for each call. Calls that extended beyond this timeframe were deemed unprofitable, so it was important to have a tool that could highlight potential training needs or even customer service issues.
Concept Publishing needed a solution that not only delivered an effective call handling capability, but was flexible enough to accommodate staff moves and changes whilst also having the capacity to record, log and archive all calls. Another important factor was having the capacity to link offices via a dedicated line over the same network, so that internal calls between offices would be FREE.
By using IP telephony in their call centres, the company were confident that they could generate more sales, reduce outgoings and have greater control over their business operations. Following research, Concept Publishing discovered IP PBX manufacturer, Swyx Solutions. Impressed by a case study featuring Scapa Technologies, who were using the Swyx solution to connect offices between Edinburgh and New York, the company approached Applied Data Technologies Ltd. one of Swyx's UK distributors based in Bristol. A visit to Scapa was arranged to demonstrate "SwyxWare" in a live working environment. After experiencing the solution in action, Concept Publishing decided to trial it themselves and this was undertaken in September 02, going live for 90 users in Bath over the Christmas and New Year period. An additional solution was also installed in January 03 (with a dedicated line to Bath) for 10 users in Bristol enabling FREE internal calls between sites. This process took approximately 2-3 days and was undertaken in-house by the IT Manager, with some back office support from Applied Data Technologies Ltd. The Swyx solution operates on a Windows 2000 server, and the company also run a Linux server which authenticates user log on.
Features & Special Benefits
A major cost saving for the company is that the solution is software based and runs on a PC platform, enabling the company to use their existing desktop computers. The principle activity undertaken by call centre agents at Concept Publishing is taking and negotiating bookings for advertisements across its various publications. Since installing Swyx, all agent conversations have been recorded and archived. With 90 agents operating in Bath and recordings stored from September 02, it is now possible to re-visit agent conversations by date and time, to resolve misunderstandings or address customer complaints.
All calls are logged into the company database which can be accessed via the company Intranet.
The digitised recording function has satisfied Concept Publishing's need for proof of calls which is now a valuable 'credit control' tool for their business enabling them to present evidence of conversations in the event of possible disputes.The digitised function has also improved staff morale, as agents now feel they have more support from line managers, knowing that a supervisor can intervene and quickly resolve a difficult call where a customer may be unhappy over advert content or rates quoted. Also if some agents are spending too long on each call, training needs can be quickly addressed and progressed so the agent also feels that their professional development is being enhanced.
The company predominantly operates outbound calling, and all contacts are stored in a central database. Using the Swyx solution, agents can dial directly from the database with a simple mouse click. The company has configured the solution so each agent has their own unique extension number, therefore if an agent is on the phone, calls can be diverted to an agent's personal voicemail. This recorded message is delivered via email as a WAV file so a response mechanism is always available.
Using Swyx, agents can also 'hotdesk', so they log themselves in at any PC thereby never missing an important call using their unique user ID.
The Swyx solution is popular with management and staff alike. Call centre agents have been very receptive to the solution, finding it user friendly with high voice quality. Staff are using Plantronics headsets, but the company also has a couple of IP desktop phones dispersed across the office, so staff can also log into these (if needed) with their user ID.
By choosing Swyx's IP telephony solution, Concept Publishing has saved in excess of £90,000 on their upfront investment compared with other options. At the same time agent productivity has increased resulting in 10% sales growth, and all internal calls between offices are now FREE.
By September 03, the Swyx solution is planned for the Telford office, whilst the Bristol office (which is relocating to new premises) is expanding its solution to support a further 6 users. The company also plan to use Swyx to support remote and home workers in the future for the production and typesetting of adverts.
What the customer says
Pete Siviter, IT Manager for Concept Publishing commented: "Swyxware has completely transformed the way we transact business in our call centre. The digital recording function is crucial in resolving customer queries, and raising staff morale. Agents now feel secure knowing calls are recorded, and that a supervisor can intervene on a diffcult call."
"We decided on Swyx because the software is constantly evolving, just like our business and has all the functionality to grow our call centre. It's flexible, reliable, cost effective and has saved us around £90,000 in comparison to similar solutions. We would have no hesitation in recommending Swyx to any business looking to upgrade their telephone system."