Articles & Case Studies

South East Water taps into cost efficiencies and enhanced customer service with ntl:Telewest Business

Posted: Monday 19th January 2009

South East Water, the UK’s second largest water only company, is working with ntl:Telewest Business, part of the Virgin Media group, to improve efficiencies and enhance customer service through a new digital network. By consolidating all voice and data traffic onto the Next Generation network and by deploying a new IP-based contact centre platform the company is saving money and empowering staff with greater access to information both within its contact centre and out in the field.

The Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IPVPN), which covers eight principal sites and 55 water stations, and the IP contact centre platform provide South East Water’s operations with greater resilience and flexibility. Contact centre agents can seamlessly be added in order to meet spikes in call demand, and new office locations can easily be added to the network.

The IPVPN provides a secure, flexible, scalable and fully managed infrastructure for carrying voice, video and data traffic, providing a higher bandwidth for information sharing between South East Water employees whether out in the field or in one of its offices. For the first time, roaming employees are now able to securely access and share files across the company network from all the IPVPN-enabled sites, including pumping stations. Additionally, as the next generation network is IP based it allows the water company to run Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), IP handsets and IP wireless over the network with a view to adopting IP CCTV in the future.

As part of the rollout, South East Water is also bringing its contact centre back in-house. The IP contact centre platform enables agents to deliver a consistent level of customer service by making access to centrally held information easier. For example, if a mains water pipe bursts the contact centre manager can now instantly send a message to all agents providing them with up to the minute information on where the leak is, when it is expected to be fixed and who it will impact. By providing all agents with the same information at the same time it ensures that all customers are provided with up to date detailed information.

“A key factor to the regulatory approval of the merger was that we could achieve significant efficiencies which could be passed on to our customers. By rolling out the advanced digital network and moving to an IP infrastructure for our call centre, we’re using telecoms to power this efficiency drive,” said Jamie King, IT Services Project Manager, South East Water. “Following a formal tender process we selected ntl:Telewest Business for the project. After tendering with major telcos and system integrators, we eventually chose ntl:Telewest Business ahead of BT because the team listened carefully to what we wanted and was prepared to adapt technologies to make the solution work exactly how we need it to. It’s also a national company with a local presence and that’s exactly what we require.

“There are further specific benefits for South East Water. Consolidation of the non-geographic numbers provides us with a one-stop shop solution for customer contact. The Internet Script Editor (ISE) technology is also a fantastically powerful tool - it enables us to control how callers are processed before they reach us, which saves time and increases productivity,” said Mr King.

Covering an area of 5,657 square kilometres, South East Water supplies drinking water to 2.1 million customers in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. Each day the company supplies on average 565 million litres of drinking water along 14,500 kilometres of water mains to its customers’ taps.

“The merger proved South East Water is an ambitious company that keeps customers at the forefront of its mind. Working closely with the customer we’ve been able to develop and implement technology led solutions that deliver business change for South East Water and real benefits to its customers,” said Rob Worrall, Business Sales Manager for ntl:Telewest Business in the South East.




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