First Group Management.
First Group untangles communication complexity with Genesys Cloud solution.
Established in 2004, First Group Management is a specialist hospitality management company that manages a portfolio of leisure and business accommodation, including hotels, golf villas, all-suite properties, resorts, apartments and chalets.
First Group Management provides customers with a full spectrum of hospitality options including weddings, conferencing, wellness spas, comprehensive entertainment and a host of ancillary business and leisure services.
The company prides itself on its ability to deliver superior customer experiences across its managed services and properties and on its ability to cater to personal customer preference and interests.
In addition, the company manages five major holiday clubs on behalf of clients and four self-developed clubs, catering to a customer base of 120,000, and also provides timeshare management services across multiple resorts, including residential and commercial properties, catering to a customer base of 13,000.
The company’s contact centre in KwaZulu-Natal serves as a vital cog in the operation, managing outbound sales and collections, and inbound reservations and customer support calls.
“However, prior to 2019, we did not have a centralised contact centre solution. Each division operated independently of each other,” explains Cecilia Bauer, Senior Manager, Core Operations at First Group Management.
“We used complicated routing strategies to connect inbound callers with the right department while fielding emails via independent mail clients. The outbound team was also using manual dialling methods, which was ineffective and time-consuming and was holding us back from revenue-generating opportunities.”
First Group Management identified that better integration and a more streamlined operation was vital to the company’s success as bookings and reservations drive revenue within the business.
The company also realised that it needed a more robust dialler in place to improve collections. Furthermore, issues with poor call quality further complicated service delivery and negatively affected outcomes.
Most importantly, First Group Management needed a solution that would empower the company to engage and communicate with customers in the way they wanted to connect and converse.
Consequently, the company issued a request for proposals in 2018 and shortlisted four potential managed services providers.
“While multiple providers recommended Genesys Pure Engage based on the specifications issued in the RFP, Connect SA pitched the most comprehensive solution at the best price,” continues Bauer.
First Group Management subsequently selected Connect SA as its preferred services provider and the team began the implementation in February 2019.
“We began a phased implementation of Genesys Pure Engage and went live in September 2019 with voice services for 120 agents, with plans to integrate email in the subsequent phase,” explains Karl Reed, Chief Solutions Officer at Connect SA.
The decision to adopt the solution also proved strategically significant to the company’s ultimate survival when the country went into level 5 lockdown in March 2020 and the hospitality industry effectively shut down.
“When the South African government implemented stringent lockdown regulations aimed at curbing the Covid-19 pandemic, we effectively locked our office doors on 26 March 2020,” explains Bauer.
Going into lockdown meant that the team essentially lost momentum on the contact centre modernisation project as the priority shifted to ensuring continuation of services.
“Connect worked with the internal team and the company’s network service providers to route remote agents into the on-premise Genesys Pure Engage solution,” elaborates Reed.
Within 24 hours First Group Management had 20% of outbound agents working remotely and over the next four weeks worked to add additional functionality.
The configuration and customisation limitations related to operating an on-premise solution soon became apparent as First Group Management needed to log support ticket to implement changes.
“Whatever we needed to change or update in Pure Engage needed to be scoped, costed and billed. There were also costs associated with implementing the changes,” continues Bauer.
“Ultimately, the tightly coupled system and our reliance on resources that were not always readily available created a compelling case for migrating to a cloud-based contact centre solution.”
We’re Connect, a global business communications expert with over 30 years’ experience. We have a clear and simple purpose; to help people communicate better. We make this happen by powering frictionless journeys and providing secure networks that benefit organisations, their people and their customers, building towards a brighter, more sustainable future for all three. By leveraging our expertise in CX and automation, we orchestrate connected experiences. And while we are trusted by many technology vendors, we’re independent of all of them, enabling us to make the complex simple. www.weconnect.tech
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