Homemade interactive voice response (IVR) and UC help Hoyts improve customer service and IT help desk

Thursday, 14 June, 2012

Homemade ivr hits the box office

Entertainment company, Hoyts Corporation, has built its own interactive voice response (IVR) application for use with a recently deployed unified communications (UC) system.

Hoyts first deployed a ShoreTel UC solution as part of its move to a new head office location for 160 staff in Sydney in 2010. In late 2011, the cinema chain also deployed ShoreTel UC in New Zealand to replace a non-scalable PABX system that it had acquired with the purchase of the Berkeley Cinema Group.

The deployment has formed the foundations of a broader networking strategy for the cinema chain to reduce communication costs and enhance productivity across the group. That strategy centred on the rollout of digital cinema and Power over Ethernet (PoE) switching across its complexes in Australia and New Zealand, supported by a new, fully redundant wide-area network capable of supporting VoIP.

The UC deployments have reduced operational costs and increased productivity across the business.

Hoyts has developed its own IVR application on top of the ShoreTel UC platform for use in the IT service desk, ensuring that support calls in relation to the digital cinema systems are routed to the most appropriate and available engineer.

“At present we are using the IVR in reverse,” said Adam Wrightson, Group Technology Director and CTO at Hoyts.

“Our cinema sites log projection and sound issues via a website and assign a priority, based on the impact to the business. Our business is moving to 100% digital projection systems and a problem with one of those systems can potentially have a major impact to our customer experience and income streams. Our priority-one issues require an SLA from our support team of no more than a few minutes.”

The Hoyts-developed IVR system puts logged problems into a queue. From that queue, the system works through a list of on-call technicians based on a roster and the geographic location of the site. If the appropriate engineer does not answer, the system phones an alternative engineer and escalates until it gets someone. When an engineer answers, the IVR prompts the engineer to accept the job. If accepted, details of the fault are forwarded to the engineer otherwise the system goes back to escalating or finding an alternative engineer.

“This approach fully automates the assigning of tickets. It also allows us to have a distributed support workforce, working in local time zones but providing the flexibility of covering a much longer day across our different time zones of operation,” said Wrightson.

Hoyts is now also better managing its inbound calls, especially in peak periods with unanswered calls being almost non-existent.

“Generally, we have seen how much Hoyts’ customer service has benefited since the installation of ShoreTel. There is now a much faster turnaround in call handling with less time spent on call waiting and voicemails.”

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