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When you answer over 700 calls an hour, you need phone lines that can keep up. Discover how ProPharma utilised BT Cloud Work to take the next step for their business.
Calls about medication can be a matter of life and death. So, when people want information and advice from ProPharma, their calls need to get through. With BT Cloud Work, provided by RingCentral, they can be certain no call goes unanswered.
ProPharma is the world’s largest Research Consulting Organisation (RCO). As the leading global provider of regulatory, clinical, and compliances services for the life sciences industry, it provides end-to-end support across the complete product lifecycle.
It’s a complex business, but you’ve probably seen some of their work: the information sheet that comes with all medication. There’s always a number to call if you have any concerns about mixing the medication with any other meds you might be on. When you dial that number, it’s ProPharma’s call centre that picks up the phone.
If a patient or clinician rings for advice, but lines are down, the consequences could be life-threatening. For ProPharma, it’s critical that its phone system doesn’t fail.
ProPharma’s enquiries were being handled by 400 people in their call centre in a rural part of Richmond, North Yorkshire, five days a week. This was delivered on ISDN30, a high-performance cable connection. But if something happened to that cable that might damage it in any way, it would bring down the whole service. There was no disaster recovery system in place and limited backup.
Instead, the team had to call a support team in Glasgow to redirect any calls. This was often rerouted to someone’s mobile so only one call per person could be dealt with at a time. As ProPharma usually deals with several hundred calls per hour, this would overload the support team – and deliver a poor experience for clinicians and patients.
There was also no way of knowing if calls were getting through during downtime. If calls couldn’t be redirected to a mobile, they would simply get lost in the system. And if there was an outage, multiple service providers meant that it could take a long time to work out where the issue was, and whose responsibility it was to fix it.
The team needed a better business continuity system, and they wanted to move away from copper in good time for the digital switchover in 2025. They needed phone lines that were accessible 24/7, and greater flexibility for a growing and increasingly remote workforce. Plus, it all had to integrate with their existing technology without any service disruption.
BT is a global power, which aligns well with what ProPharma's doing, because it's growing exponentially.
ProPharma and BT have developed a strong working relationship by collaborating on a number of initiatives in recent years. So, naturally, they turned to us for advice on a better disaster recovery solution. We suggested Cloud Work, a cloud-based voice communications platform, provided by RingCentral, that would work in conjunction with ProPharma’s existing SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) line.
When it’s business as usual, calls come in on the SIP lines from around the globe. They’re answered by set teams for specific clients, who respond in the same language as the caller. But the moment a call doesn't get answered or doesn't connect, auto-sensors on the SIP lines kick in, and it's diverted to Cloud Work instead.
It’s all controlled via an app, which adds to its flexibility. Call handlers can use it on mobile devices or desktops: they can even switch seamlessly between devices in the middle of a call. And they have access to the same collaboration tools and call management features, no matter where they’re working.
It’s much easier for the management team too. They have visibility of the whole system and can easily route calls, add people to teams, and even see where any problems are on the network.
Cloud Work provides each team with the ability to answer a phone call no matter what's happening within the data centre. It enables everyone, any patient around Europe, to phone in and have their issues triaged.
The team at ProPharma now have a disaster recovery plan in place that keeps them connected. And it’s proven to be a success. There have been three critical outages: each time, the SIP platform has detected it and switched it within a matter of seconds into Cloud Work, provided by RingCentral, with no drop in service.
The team can see live data to assess the scale of any problem. They can add people into a call group with just a click of a button, sorting them by language or by client. If staff can’t get into an office, anywhere in Europe, the team can simply change the directory route so callers still get through to a local language speaker.
Having the mobile app is particularly useful for out-of-hours issues. If there’s a problem at 2am, all calls will route to the app so the team can provide continuity of service. This also acts as an early warning system: if the Cloud Work numbers start to ring, it’s a sign that people can’t get through to the main network and there’s a wider issue. The team can respond quickly and fix any issues while business carries on as normal.
Cloud Work is bringing extra benefits too. Since the pandemic, the team has seen a huge switch in working practices and now most staff members are working from home around the country. It means those who don’t travel for work no longer need mobile phones; they can use the app across any device that works for them.
All of this is helping to futureproof the business as it expands and evolves. As part of that, ProPharma is looking to integrate Teams with Cloud Work as a next step, and then move its international numbers into the system too.
It's far more flexible and agile, and we can respond far quicker for a better customer experience.