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“We were looking for the right solution to reduce operational costs and increase our ability to innovate.”
-John Bevan, Global Voice Architect
TRANSCOM INJECTS SCALE + INNOVATION INTO BPO OFFERINGS
10,000 Contact Center Seats Centralized with Avaya
The ability to rapidly and easily scale-up and scale down; reduced expense; and the ability to innovate with speed; these are three advantages that a centralization initiative has brought to the contact center business at Transcom. The contact center outsourcer handles calls in the Netherlands for sixteen European countries. Transcom is rapidly adding new customer engagement capabilities to its environment. “The customer experience is immediately better when you can see the how — and preferably why — someone is contacting you,” says Sytze Koopmans, CTO at Transcom.
Transcom employs 30,000 employees worldwide, with 15,000 based in Europe. Employees are spread over 20 countries globally, including 16 in Europe. Transcom supports all European languages in over 40 locations. All locations are equipped with Avaya contact center solutions, Transcom’s corporate standard, that ensures calls are routed to the best available agent.
Centralization Because of Scalability
In the past, Transcom’s infrastructure was designed to service only calls originating in-region. Clients were increasingly asking for more sophisticated capabilities. In response, Transcom moved to upgrade its environment to position itself with abilities to solve more complex problems. A centralization strategy targeted improved flexibility across sites in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“We considered updating our systems separately by region, but it made much more sense to centralize,” observes Sytze Koopmans, Transcom CTO. “So the motive was the need to upgrade, but we opted for centralization because of its scalability.”
Transcom has located its global hub in the Netherlands. “The new strategy is that it is through the gateways in the Netherlands where the phone calls will be put through to agents across Europe,” comments Koopmans.
“This makes our call centers very flexible because we do not need to scale by location, or have to move a physical system as we move,” he says. “Landing calls, routing, IVR and recording will all be centralized in the Netherlands.”
Dick Kouwenhoven, Avaya Global Account Manager, observes, “The scale of the system and the data center is unlike any other in the Benelux.”
DatapointEurope and SPS, the key Avaya Business Partners in this project, worked very closely with the architects of Transcom to set up this business-critical system. Reliability is crucial, because the contact centers must be up 99.999% of the time.
“The new system is built in a British Telecom data center and routed over the British Telecom network via IP / MPLS,” says Kouwenhoven. "Setting up a multi-channel contact center is challenging enough, but globally in a multinational company it is almost impossible to control. Multinational companies are facing an enormous challenge organizing and managing excellent customer contact services in different countries. Most global organizations have to deal with many different contracts, as well as points of contacts in different countries.”
“Each of these provide a part of the multi-channel contact center service solution,” he adds. “Local regulations and endless streams of invoices from service deliverers make matters even more complex to manage. DatapointEurope and SPS have proven to be successful in these processes by enabling Transcom to manage all of this and by making sure that Transcom was able to maintain the optimum service level for all their customers regionwide against acceptable and manageable costs.”
- Fragmented infrastructure leading to limited communications and staff flexibility between different sites and locations across Europe
- Outdated systems
- Not fit for future
- Disparate delivery methods
- Multiple contracts
- Multiple points of contact
- Multiple Operational, Delivery Models and SLA’s
- Intelligent Contact Centers
- Flexible resourcing and infrastructure
- Stepping stone for future innovation
- Decreased operational costs
- Global consolidation of infrastructure across the world
Lower Operating Costs, Innovate More
Transcom had worked for years with Avaya. “Every switchboard was Avaya, because it is the class leader and its solutions are the most stable,” comments John Bevan, Transcom Global Voice Architect. “Those were our main reasons for deciding again for Avaya, as well as the legacy knowledge and integration with the core Avaya services.”
“The big benefit with Avaya is their hardware and software are extremely solid and backwards compatible,” he adds. “We were looking for the right solution, to reduce operational costs, and increase our ability to innovate at the same time.”
The hub for all development is now in the centralized datacenter in the Netherlands. There are two systems, one for the northern Europe and one for southern Europe. Licenses can be easily moved between systems so that if one customer from Northern Europe leaves, a new customer from Southern Europe can simply be added to the other server. The data center is located in a private, on premise cloud.
Not all contact centers were transferred at the same time. “Too risky and too complex,” says Bevan. “They are stepping stones, each time a new contact, new upgrades, and further integration. We know a migration is a success when our customers notice nothing of it though. The more invisible a transition, the better.”
Transferring is becoming faster and smoother. “On Friday, we finalize the set up a for a contact center, on Saturday it goes live, and on Sunday we complete the migration,” says Bevan. “That sounds easier than it is, because there are months of planning in advance.” During the migration, a team of some fifty experts are ready to intervene if something goes wrong.”
"The customer experience is immediately better when you can see the how — and preferably why — someone is contacting you."
—Sytze Koopmans, Transcom CTO
The first steps towards omnichannel innovation have also been put in place, says Koopmans, “We are moving away from voice-only to omnichannel support with chat, email, and WebRTC, and using for example Avaya Breeze. We are now working together with a major customer, Avaya, DatapointEurope and SPS to understand the customers’ needs and how to best meet them.”
“If you look at the digital transformation,” he comments, “you see that 95 percent of the contact is digital. When prospective clients call, they have already looked for a solution, but they have not found it.”
“So then a conversation becomes more complex or deeper, and therefore more valuable. You can proactively respond by being able to bring out in advance what information he has looked through, what channels and what other data, etc.,” says Koopmans.
The solution integration capabilities that SPS, DatapointEurope and Avaya offer, coupled with Transcom’s new centralized model, now allow Transcom to enhance the solutions it can offer to clients. The upgrade, coupled with solutions like Avaya Breeze, means that Transcom has the infrastructure to move ahead of competitors with omnichannel capabilities for its regional and global clientele.
Kouwenhoven adds: “Think about it: when you’re in a car and call a contact center, your call may be disconnected. You will probably directly call back. Then you have the whole menu again, and you probably get a different agent on the phone. It is better that an agent can instantly call back the customer when he’s disconnected. This provides a much more pleasant experience for the customer.”
Based on Avaya Breeze, Avaya Equinox’s strength is that it is a mobile-centric solution. As Kouwenhoven points out, “It is striking to see that online, mobile apps and contact centers are still often disconnected. We’d like to integrate communications applications. Think of a bank that could do easy video calls with their clients, with known context for the agent.”
“This way, the whole process and contact with the customer should run seamlessly and be proactive.”
Preparations for improvements leveraging Avaya Breeze are well under way, says Koopmans, “We work together to create omnichannel contact centers, in which we deploy smart solutions for routing, for example based on customer value. Gold customers can be treated differently than other clients.”
Automation intelligent enough to escalate calls to live agents when appropriate is another capability that Transcom is engineering, with the help of Avaya Breeze.
Automation, self-service and improvements in routing may result in fewer calls for outsourcers. At the same time, there is an opportunity for agents to deal with more complex issues. The skill levels needed on the part of an agent are likely to go up.
“Difficult questions require human intervention,” says Koopmans. “I do not believe in zero-agent policies such as at Xerox. It is good to think about it, but we’ll look at why customers contact a brand. Are these customers more satisfied? “
Transcom is satisfied when it comes to the benefits of the new system. The goal of high stability has been achieved. In addition, costs have decreased. New locations can be easily on-boarded; the use of hardware and licenses is now streamlined across multiple sites. As an added benefit, innovation can be delivered up faster thanks to Avaya Breeze platform. Transcom is now positioned as a multichannel solution provider in the market.
Founded in 1995 by the Swedish investment company, Kinnevik, Transcom is a global customer experience specialist, providing customer care, sales, technical support and credit management services through our extensive network of Contact Centers and work-at-home agents. Visit www.transcom.com.
- Avaya Aura Communication Manager
- Avaya Aura Contact Center
- Avaya Call Management System
- Avaya Contact Center Control Manager
- Avaya Enablement Server
- Avaya one-X Agent
- Avaya Breeze™
Founded in 1995 by the Swedish investment company, Kinnevik, Transcom is a global customer experience specialist, providing customer care, sales, technical support and collections services through our extensive network of Contact Centers and work-at-home agents.