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BT contact centre solution helps Western Power improve customer service and lower costs
No matter how resilient an electricity grid is, there’s always a time when supply to some homes and businesses will fail. When it does, people want answers quickly. Most of all they want to know when power will be restored.
So dealing with massive incoming call peaks is something Gino Giudice, Manager of the Customer Assist team, is all too familiar with. Having earlier selected a BT command and control system for network operations, he knew the right technology could make his customers a whole lot happier and his life a whole lot easier.
BT was a natural choice for a new contact centre solution. Now, near real time recorded announcements – right down to postcode level – keep customers better informed. That frees agents to spend more time on calls that need the personal touch.
BT has worked with us to deliver our vision. It has shared many ideas, concepts, and solutions that are helping us engage with our customers to deliver a much more seamless, informative, and flexible service, both now and in the future.”
- Gino Giudice, Manager Customer Assist, Western Power
Western Power is responsible for the safe, reliable, and efficient distribution and transmission of electricity in southwest Western Australia, encompassing the Perth metropolitan area. Its electricity network is the largest interconnected power network in the state – 88,000 kilometres of power lines provide electricity to one million homes, businesses and public buildings, as well as to 150,000 streetlights.
Western Power is tasked with maintaining the network and responding to power interruptions, as well as with evolving the network to meet the ever-increasing power needs of customers and developers. Day-to-day operation of the network – monitoring, switching and dispatching electricity – is managed 24/7/365 through a Network Operations Control Centre (NOCC).
Gino Giudice, Manager Customer Assist at Western Power, says: “Western Power has a duty of care to the one million customers we service. We need to be able to receive their calls if ever they have difficulties with their power, or if they have a potentially life threatening situation.”
Western Power needed to cost effectively improve its customer interface. In particular, the accuracy and timeliness of advising customers on situations such as power outages, and prioritising calls to ensure that customers with the greatest urgency got dealt with first.
Kerry Kennedy-Lennie, Customer Service Manager at Western Power, explains: “Real time customer information at suburb level is critical for our customers. They need to know when they will have power back on, at home or at work, so that they can go about their day-to-day lives.”
As a government organisation Western Power was required to select a vendor for the contact centre solution by following a strict tendering process. As well as BT, Western Power invited proposals from five other global technology suppliers.
BT had developed a sound understanding of Western Power’s business, having previously equipped the NOCC with a command and control system. Recalling that earlier purchase decision, Shane Duryea, Network Operations Manager at Western Power, comments: “The ITS.Netrix solution provided by BT really stood out because it was the only one that offered a handset that presented all the information we needed in one place. It has fundamentally changed the way the control room operates.”
The outcome of the tender process saw BT awarded a five-year contract for a new contact centre platform with a three-year extension option.
Neil Canby, Programme Manager, IT and Strategic Projects at Western Power, says: “We chose BT because of its experience and track record in providing similar services to other organisations and also its recognition of the strategic partnership we were looking for from a service provider.”
The new contact centre has helped Western Power transform the customer experience. The introduction of near real time recorded announcements to postcode level has seen a marked drop in the number of calls requiring agent intervention. This has resulted in direct cost savings and enabled the company to respond more effectively to emergencies and potentially life threatening situations. A rapid access menu option enables customers to connect immediately to an agent where the call concerns, say, accidents or matters of public safety.
Neil Canby concludes: “The BT solution has really delivered in two key areas. The first is that it allows us to give a much greater level of detail to customers through automated messages. Secondly, it is helping us to solve problems at customer sites over the phone rather than send an engineer, something that from a cost perspective is materially advantageous.”
BT has provided Western Power with a leading edge solution featuring contact centre software from Aspect – customised, installed, and commissioned by BT in a fully redundant architecture. This mission critical platform is capable of handling 300,000 busy-hour call completions, essential for managing call avalanche-type situations that can occur in the event of major power outages.
BT assembled a dedicated team to deliver the solution against a challenging timescale. The team included systems integration specialists to ensure interworking of the contact centre with Western Power’s control room systems.
The BT solution was implemented in three phases. First, the customer messaging system was introduced, followed by the new contact centre platform. The third phase saw the implementation of call recording (a regulatory requirement), call quality monitoring, and Verint workforce optimisation and management tools. These provide the company with a complete view of its contact centre resources at any one time.
Better customer service
The BT solution recognises calling customer location data at the postcode level. This enables Western Power to offer accurate, up-to-the-minute service information pertinent to a customer’s locale. The service information is dynamically generated and derived from the BT ITS.Netrix control room system, using text-to-speech technology, delivered through an IVR module.
- Contact centre solution featuring Aspect software in a fully redundant configuration
- Verint workforce optimisation tools and call recording facilities
- Systems integration, installation, commissioning, and ongoing support
- BT Trading – ITS.Netrix command and control system