How Connect has proved itself the perfect partner for First Customer Contact | Amazon Web Services Specialist Expert UK, South Africa

First Customer Contact.

Much more than a managed service.

How Connect has proved itself the perfect partner for First Customer Contact.

First Customer Contact utilised a service provider for support whenever issues arose with its Amazon Connect contact centre. While the support received during those times was adequate, the process of implementing change and improvements was significantly delayed. Seeking a more efficient solution, the company asked Amazon Web Services (AWS) for recommendations on alternative service partners, resulting in the appointment of Connect. Now, First Customer Contact enjoys a collaborative partnership that delivers promptly and professionally on support and change requests, while providing a wealth of ideas for service improvement too – one of which is saving an estimated £0.5m a year.

  • 24×7 support for complex Amazon Connect contact centre
  • All service levels met
  • Rapid delivery of operational change and service improvements
  • Consistently demonstrating deep knowledge of AWS solutions
  • Outbound dialling solution is delivering substantial annual cost savings

The business need.

First Customer Contact provides the main customer contact centre for several of the UK’s biggest train operating companies – selling tickets and handling group bookings, arranging travel assistance and processing customer compensation claims and complaints. It has more than 400 agents and offers services around the clock.

For a number of years, its operations have been based on an Amazon Connect contact centre solution, which has proved highly reliable. On the rare occasions it needed support, First Customer Contact was able to call on the expertise of a managed service partner, who didn’t let it down.

But though the basic support was fine, First Customer Contact was frustrated. The team had identified a range of improvements it wanted to make to the operation, but the supplier seemed uninterested. As for proactive suggestions for improvement, there was simply nothing forthcoming.

First Customer Contact wanted a partner that could not only maintain the status quo, but take its operation forward. Managers contacted Amazon Web Services (AWS) to ask for some suggestions of alternative partners; having met four, the First Customer Contact team was unanimous in its choice of Connect.

From the first time we met Connect, they listened to us, made suggestions and came back with ideas. They instantly seemed the best fit.

IT Service Manager Patrick Kay

Our solution.

With the contract signed, Connect began the transition process – and one of the first actions really impressed Patrick and his colleagues.

Connect examined our production environment and documented every aspect of how it worked. Then they did the same with our User Acceptance Testing and staging environments – pinpointing differences between the three, that could then be eliminated. We didn’t ask them to; they just recognised it would be an invaluable tool to move forward.

That insight helped ensure Connect was well placed to deliver on the basic support requirement from the outset. While Patrick is quick to point out that there are few support calls needed, on the rare occasions Connect has been called to action, the response has been outstanding.

We had an issue occur at 3am, when our CRM solution had been upgraded automatically and was no longer working with the Amazon Connect contact centre. Within 15 minutes, Connect was on the case, and by the time our agents came online for the busy morning shift, everything was resolved.

Patrick also appreciated the detailed report Connect provided after the incident, to allow them to understand the causes and recommend potential mitigations for future risks.

But meeting all the service levels was only part of what First Customer Connect wanted; the primary reason for seeking a new supplier was to deliver improvements. Here too, Connect has excelled.

The outcome.

Since partnering with Connect, we’ve been able to make a wide range of changes to our operations,” Patrick confirms, “from complex configuration to integration with other tools.

An ongoing focus has been on deploying automation to streamline a range of operational tasks that were previously manual – such as scheduling updates to outgoing messages across multiple queues.  

Another change that has made a valuable operational impact was an upgrade of the contact centre reporting solution. The solution originally deployed was extremely limited in the information it collated and displayed via wallboards. Connect proposed an enhanced solution that would provide supervisors and agents with more relevant and detailed performance information – including making the data available online for home workers. The new solution also allows managers to customise the information on display.

In both cases, we explained what we wanted and Connect quickly came up with a proposed solution,” says Patrick. “Once we approved the proposal, they then delivered exactly on our requirements, on time and on budget.

Perhaps most impressively, Connect has also put in place a solution that is enabling First Customer Contact to save an estimated £0.5 million a year. Under the old configuration, whenever an agent called a customer back, it went through the same calling line identity (CLI) – meaning there was no way to track which train operating company the call was being made for. Outbound calls could not therefore be billed back to the operating companies. Connect made it possible for agents to select a CLI specific to the relevant operating company before they make the call, so enabling accurate bill-back.

This series of successes has encouraged First Customer Contact to be more ambitious in its use of the Amazon portfolio, and in what it has asked Connect to take on. That has resulted in the development of a more extensive transformation programme, which aims to make even greater use of automation to enhance the customer experience further.

Patrick is extremely confident in Connect’s ability to help First Customer Contact achieve this.

Since appointing them, we really haven’t looked back. The communication is excellent, and the level of knowledge outstanding. Pound for pound, we’re paying about the same for support – but getting so much more than an ordinary managed service. It’s a much better relationship, a real partnership, and it’s delivering fantastic results.”

IAbout Connect.

Connect are the independent communications experts who can transform how your organisation communicates – both internally and externally. We deliver solutions and services that join up your employee and customer communications across platforms, across sites and across countries, in three core areas: Contact Centre Solutions, Unified Communications and Network Services. We provide simple, elegant solutions to the most complex problems.

IAbout First Customer Contact.

First Customer Contact provides customer relations services for all of First Rail’s train operating companies. Part of the FirstGroup, a leading private sector provider of public transport, First Customer Contact is based in Sheffield.

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