Who's using it


Case Study - ICS & Answer 4U


 "Synthesys™ has enabled us to keep agent idle time at a minimum, in turn maximising agent productivity. It has continually proved itself by maintaining ICS' billable minutes to between a minimum of 45 and maximum of 52 minutes giving us an approximate increase of between 29% and 108% on the industry average. We really believe it is the best in the business."

 Managing Director at ICS & Answer 4U, Mark Menhennet



The Challenge

Integrated Communication Services (ICS) is a customer communications specialist providing extensive, flexible, tailored call handling and outsourcing solutions to large international and UK companies. Based in the same centre, Answer 4U is a wholly owned subsidiary of ICS, designed to provide a concise and simply structured inbound answering service to small and medium sized businesses during office hours. 

ICS' core business is inbound operations, offering 24/7 answering services from its call centre in Nottingham, including out of hours and overspill reception, multi-site helpdesk emergency engineer callout, media response such as DRTV and brochure request and disaster recovery for call centres and receptions.

ICS' 25 agents manage approximately 1500 - 2000 calls per day on behalf of its clients, patching through calls to a member of the clients' staff or taking messages. Messages are distributed immediately via telephone, fax, email, SMS or recordings in the form of a .wav file, delivering information directly to a person's desktop or other chosen medium.

ICS covers any market and every sector, from financial companies offering credit to applicants, to a company operating internationally needing night cover on reception. So a prime concern is to be as flexible as possible when handling multiple accounts as well as providing a high quality service with tailored scripts and extensive call reporting and billing. ICS agents also act as an overspill to Answer 4U and vice versa, so for example if all Answer 4U agents are busy, clients can expect an identical service in quality with no extra charge.

ICS and Answer 4U were looking to implement software systems that would integrate seamlessly with each other, and build a flexible call centre that would handle all the different accounts effectively and to the standard required by the client.

"Outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular with two thirds of UK businesses currently outsourcing, a number which is expected to grow by 50% by 2008 due to the apparent savings in cost, space and time," explains Managing Director of ICS and Answer 4U, Mark Menhennet. "It is a competitive market and we wanted to employ a customer interaction management system that would perform to a high standard and through our agents provide a unique, quality front end for each account."

Menhennet adds, "Saving our clients money is important to us so ICS accounts bill calls by the second rather than per minute, meaning it was essential that the solution we implemented provided extensive reporting and therefore integrated completely with our billing system enabling our clients to view exactly what they have been invoiced for."

The Solution

ICS evaluated many call scripting and customer interaction management systems, many of them were eliminated immediately, "Most of them just didn't offer everything we were looking for and wouldn't integrate with our other software," says Menhennet.

"We tested solutions such as Call Scripter, Alchemy and Sintellate against Noetica Synthesys™ and it outperformed them all. We liked how Synthesys™ was designed with the agent in mind. It has a broad range of capabilities and would integrate with our infrastructure, such as our Avaya switches and Crystal Reports."

"We also found Synthesys™ to be flexible enough to seamlessly manage CRM interactions as complex as callout coordination covering multiple sites and multiple engineers. It also handles the different accounts from both ICS and Answer 4U by analysing agent activity, presenting them with the correct scripts and enabling efficient campaign management through the easy and speedy amending and launching of campaigns," adds Menhennet.

ICS employs a team of scriptwriters that work closely with each client, a dedicated solutions analyst from ICS and the telephony team to ensure that scripts precisely fit a company's needs and are tailored to fit a brand whilst still flowing naturally. "Our script-writing team were very impressed with the drag-and-drop Windows-based interface, which meant their job creating a script tailored to each account was quicker and easier," says Menhennet.

Synthesys™ is Noetica's flagship customer interaction management software, and is designed to allow non-technical managers complete control of the contact centre. It presents all agents with a windows-based callflow script, guiding them from start to finish through every outbound call. Using intelligent branching the agent navigates through the interaction based on the information provided by the person receiving the call, providing them with the appropriate response to questions and ensuring the correct data is captured efficiently.

"We are also starting to offer a small outbound service to clients - we handle approximately 300 to 500 outbound calls per week - so it really was a simple choice to go for Noetica's Script-Aware predictive dialler, as it was available on a basis which suited our low but increasing level of outbound activity. Importantly, it meant we got both inbound and outbound management within one package," says Menhennet.

ICS runs an outbound campaign for National Home Buyers, a company who buys homes for cash from those who are struggling to sell. National Home Buyers will send out 1000 information packs to prospective customers promoting its services and providing a response service for interested prospects. ICS follows up with prospects that do not respond with a courtesy call ensuring they have all the information they need.

ICS uses 'skill set routing' that ensures the dialler selects the agent most appropriate for the call with screen popping showing the ICS agent the correct script. Noetica's patented Script-Aware predictive dialler is designed to reduce agent idle times and also the much publicised and problematic 'silent calls' caused by the over-dialling of predictive diallers on outbound campaigns. By analysing agent activity, the dialler only considers dialling when an agent has reached an appropriate point in the script; ensuring agent productivity is kept to a maximum.

"Noetica supported us fully throughout the implementation of Synthesys and the dialler, with the process only taking three weeks including training," adds Menhennet.

The Benefits

As flexibility and dynamism is key to ICS, Menhennet notes the haste at which campaigns can be managed with Synthesys™, "Campaign and script management with Synthesys™ has been fast and simple. For example, our scriptwriters have found that our simple answering service campaigns for Answer 4U can be released to agents within one hour, with zero disruption to the system or our agents."

"Agent efficiency on multiple accounts has been fantastic," states Menhennet. "The scripts in Synthesys™ flow in a systematic way and it ensures the agent is walked through the call collecting the required information so each call is consistent in quality."

"The effective integration of Synthesys™ with Crystal Reports also results in quickly produced, detailed and extensive reports of account call activity which we can then pass onto our clients," Menhennet adds.

"Synthesys™ has enabled us to keep agent idle time at a minimum, in turn maximising agent productivity. It has continually proved itself by maintaining ICS' billable minutes to between a minimum of 45 and maximum of 52 minutes giving us an approximate increase of between 29% and 108% on the industry average. We really believe it is the best in the business," says Menhennet.

As ICS continues to expand, clients with new requirements will come on board and expect more from the service, "We have yet to exploit the full capability offered by Synthesys™ and its Script-Aware predictive dialler. There are still markets that we expect to emerge which will allow us to do more with the system. We have been looking into using the call recycling and call blending functions of Synthesys™ which we hope will increase our productivity further."