Massey University upgrades contact centre solution

Wednesday, 27 November, 2013

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New Zealand’s Massey University has updated its contact centre solution in preparation for unified communications.

Massey University is one of New Zealand’s largest universities, providing educational services to 18,000 students across three campuses in the North Island and to more than 17,000 local and international distance learning students.

Six years ago, Massey University conducted a technology overhaul of its frontline student communications channel, the national contact centre.

The impetus for change came after 10 years of growth, which saw the contact centre evolve from a single-channel inbound call centre to a multichannel inbound/outbound facility. To remain responsive to the needs of students, the contact centre required a new platform that could integrate and automate the management of more than one million contacts per annum including phone calls, faxes, web chats, text messages and emails.

Massey selected the Customer Interaction Center (CIC), an IP-based contact centre automation software solution from Interactive Intelligence, which provides multichannel contact centre automation and IP telephony functionality.

The solution was deployed in Massey’s 24-seat customer service contact centre and was put to use supporting agents as they managed up to 5000 interactions per day.

Over the next few years, Massey began expanding its use of the platform to include additional contact centres. Tina Rowland, Massey University Contact Centre Manager, said, “We leveraged this investment and the business processes that had been established within the main contact centre to implement other smaller contact centres at the university. These included the external MUSAC Software Support team and, internally, the IT Service Desk, Facilities Management Helpdesk and Massey Enterprise Reporting Centre Helpdesk.”

By mid 2013, university management decided it was time to take the platform one step further by upgrading from CIC 3.0 to version 4.0 in preparation for introduction of unified communications.

“The university is deploying Microsoft Lync as our unified communications technology throughout the organisation,” Rowland said. “Our roadmap is to transition all 3000 staff onto Lync within two to three years. Rather than go through the pain of integrating first and then later migrating to 4.0, we decided to upgrade and integrate now.”

The decision to upgrade to 4.0 was also influenced by three other factors: a desire to achieve cost benefits through virtualisation, the availability of new functionality and the opportunity to futureproof the contact centre.

“The upgrade allowed us to migrate the CIC platform from a server base to VMware. While we still have a physical media server, the rest of the servers in 4.0 are virtual. This has removed the dedicated outbound calling gateway and allowed us to reduce costs,” Rowland noted.

As for new functionality, Rowland said, “The segregation of roles in 4.0 allows for security of each of the contact centres and supervisors can manage their own services independently.”

Universal queuing has become an important tool for efficiency, while the solution’s reporting is providing management with information on any dimension of the services.

“We use 4.0 extensively for two of our external contact centres and three internal service desks, utilising the blended multimedia queues and Optimiser for our main customer service contact centre including 0800 MASSEY along with recorder/reporting to manage our customer interactions,” Rowland said.

“There are a number of other features, such as speech analytics, that we intend to use. We see 4.0 as a way of futureproofing the contact centres,” she said.

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