New comms supports debt counselling service

Charity improves staff productivity and customer service levels with unified communications.

Company profile

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) offers consumers with debt problems free and impartial advice through its national telephone service, ten regional centres and CCCS Debt Remedy online resource.

When people are worried about debt it is important for us to make the process of getting advice as quickly and easy as possible.

Situation

The Foundation for Credit Counselling is a registered charity based in Leeds that helps hundreds of thousands of UK consumers with debt problems every year through its Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) centres, helpline and online resources. 

When the organisation started to experience exponential growth in call volumes three years ago, it needed to find a more reliable, centralised communications system for the 450-plus telephone agents that man the free CCCS telephone service.

John Paterson, Consumer Credit Counselling Service technical support manager, told IT Pro the charity wanted to replace the various legacy call management technologies accumulated as it had grown over the years with a central standardised system. "The main problem was that the existing systems had hit their maximum capacity," he said. 

The charity was maintaining three different contact centre management systems and over ten communication platforms across its ten sites. Apart from making it difficult for Paterson and his team to manage their ongoing maintenance, the platforms lacked sufficiently sophisticated functionality to support the high levels of service that the charity wanted to offer. The various different systems interfaces also made it difficult for call centre staff to move quickly between sites, roles or just desks.

Solution

CCCS initially evaluated 10 different vendors before shortlisting three. The organisation eventually selected a unified communications (UC) system and enterprise contact centre from vendor ShoreTel. 

Paterson explained: "Perhaps ShoreTel was seen as more of a risk because it isn't as big a vendor as some of the others in the market we evaluated. But it had the best functionality for us and a good roadmap, and its people had a fresh, honest approach. 

"It knew that, as a charity, this was a big purchase for us, so it helped us base the decision on what would be the best fit." As a result, ShoreTel worked closely with both CCCS and its third-party networking services provider Astro Communications to deploy and configure both the UC and contact centre systems at all of its sites.

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