Countrywide case study: unified communications

BT helps transform customer service with dynamic call handling through a Unified Communications and Contact Centre solution.

BT helps Countrywide improve its customer contact systems, with a powerful, intelligent contact centre solution.

Relocating business premises is rarely without challenges. But Countrywide Farmers turned their move to a new purpose built HQ and contact centre into an opportunity to enhance customer service, both internally and externally, through a new communications infrastructure.

As a leading supplier of products and services to the rural community, Countrywide prides itself on being able to provide thorough advice to its customers, through a good understanding of the rural way of life and by training specific call operators in new and specialist product areas.

They needed a solution that could be easily deployed and managed, to enhance day to day operations as well as improve their contact centre flexibility and provide a platform for future expansion.

A fast moving business with seasonal peaks and troughs, the system needed to be able to react in ‘real time’ to deal with customer enquiries by dynamically routing calls to the best available agent. Previously any changes made to their inbound call routing required IT involvement, so a change to accommodate a seasonal spike in orders for example, could take several days to be implemented, with a knock on effect on customer service.

Expertise in Unified Communications

BT’s position as a leading provider of Unified Communications solutions, underpinned by its reputation for combining technical expertise with skilled project management, were crucial factors in Countrywide Farmers’ decision to award them the contract.

BT’s Contact Centre solution provided call routing decisions from a system wide perspective, taking into consideration the available skills and resources across all sites before directing a call.

Capabilities such as dynamic call handling and voicemail announcements that are automatically updated based on a person’s Presence and calendar status have driven an improvement in employee productivity, increased individual efficiency and boosted staff morale.

Simplicity through single server architecture

By interfacing to the diaries, voicemail and Interactive Voice Response, the solution has transformed customer call handling by giving staff full visibility of their colleagues’ availability.

Furthermore, by simplifying the provision of advanced functionality such as skills-based routing, multi-site networking and multi-media queuing, through single server architecture, the solution delivers a high level of flexibility and manageability with a lower cost of ownership - as well as being easily scaled and relocated.

Now Countrywide’s 200 plus employees, including 50 contact centre agents, are able to access a full range of capabilities through one interface embedded within their Outlook email system including access to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system for the contact centre agents.

The solution currently covers three sites, with plans to bring two further remote locations onto the network in a further phase of the project.

Transforming working practices

The new functionality will enable the planned introduction of flexible and home working options to ensure business continuity during periods of disruption such as severe weather.

The solution has removed the need for IT to manage contact centre call traffic.

The contact centre management team now ensure that seasonal peaks and staff absences are handled quickly and effectively by their direct management and control of the system.

Presence and its integration to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system have significantly improved customer service, enhancing Countrywide’s ability to build solid relationships with its customers and ensuring call queues are dealt with swiftly.

The system’s ease of use within Outlook and the unification with calendar and address books have delivered enhanced productivity and significant time savings for all users on a daily basis.

Says Steve Bowen, head of customer service: “BT created an integrated and flexible IT solution that supports our high standards in customer service. Delivering on time and on budget, BT ensured we moved to our new premises without interruption to our business.”

"BT ensured we moved to our new premises without interruption to our business."

Steve Bowen, Head of customer service, Countrywide

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