About Connexus Group

Formed in June 2017, from the coming together of Herefordshire Housing and Shropshire Housing Group, Connexus has over 600 employees and manages a portfolio of around 10,000 homes.

Along with answering queries about rent, and repairs, Connexus also has an independence trust arm which looks after the wellbeing of tenants, and a 24/7 cover helpline with red button alarm lines for people who are vulnerable in their homes. Delivering a contact centre capability that covers all this is challenging but made more complex by the recent merger.

Project Overview

Both Herefordshire Housing and Shropshire Housing Group had their own contact centres and associated telephony solutions in place. Running these separately at each site was expensive and wasteful of time and resource. Connexus realised it needed to rationalise these solutions into a single streamlined offering.

After a detailed review, it decided to standardise on the Enghouse Interactive Communications Center (EICC) from Enghouse Interactive. As Adam Huselbee, group head of ICT, Connexus, explains: “We were impressed by EICC’s ability to act as an operational hub within the contact centre, seamlessly supporting an omnichannel capability. We liked the intuitive TouchPoint user interface and saw Enghouse’s ability to provide a single point for all call recordings as a key differentiator, helping reduce cost and increase convenience.”

Benefits of chosen solution

In addition, the ability to integrate with Cisco UC, which Connexus already had in place, enabled the housing group to protect its legacy investment, and drive cost savings by eliminating the need for it to buy additional licences.

The Connexus contact centre teams were also more familiar with using it than the main competitive
solution. Therefore, due to it’s intuitive nature, the choice of EICC entailed less training overall.

Another key benefit was that the Enghouse Interactive solution allows Connexus to add additional modules in line with changing budgets and requirements, effectively making it future-proof.

Seeing the Full Picture

Working with long-term IT partner, Voyager Networks, Connexus rolled out EICC at its three main sites, together with the Enghouse Quality Management Suite (QMS) for call recording and quality monitoring.

Connexus now uses EICC to interact with tenants through social media platforms like Facebook and, traditional phone calls and emails as well as for call wrap-ups. Most interactions are inbound around queries or questions tenants have, but Connexus also uses EICC to reach out to them with outbound interactions – often in response to issues highlighted by social media monitoring.

“By leveraging the analytics and insight EICC and its own customer surveys provide, we have gained greater insight into how we interact with tenants, as well as the ways in which our tenants want to interact with us” adds Adam.

The insight provided by EICC also helps enable agents and supervisors to understand the status of queues. Supervisors also have a birds-eye view of metrics, such as how many calls the contact centre has processed over a given period, how many have been answered and how many dropped.

All this translates into a reporting capability of course. Using the Enghouse Interactive solutions enables Connexus to ‘slice and dice’ data in a range of ways, allowing them to analyse the level of certain types of enquiries and complaints, and the most common interaction modes chosen. This insight can then be used by Connexus to evaluate, for example, whether it has the right key performance indicators (KPIs) in place, and, if not, which might be more appropriate.

Working within a fully-integrated Cisco UC environment, EICC also helps Connexus to develop a more connected enterprise and ensure it is routing calls through to employees, who have both the ‘current availability’ and the relevant skills and experience to answer them. In addition, Connexus makes extensive use of the QMS suite’s call recording capabilities, primarily for agent training but also for compliance and dispute resolution. In line with this, the group is evaluating Vocal Coach. It is interested in the capability and impressed by the functionality of what Enghouse Interactive can offer in this area. A final decision on whether to use it in the future will depend on an assessment of business need.

Reaping the rewards

Adam says “We have been impressed with the flexibility of EICC. Implementing it across our three main sites has made any changes or adjustments that might be needed to the system much easier to achieve. Call recording is less complex too because there is now one single point where recordings are saved onto the system rather than the multiple gateways used before.”

An easy and intuitive solution

The solution is also easy and intuitive to use. Agents have quickly got to grips with the functionality and have all the information they need to answer calls efficiently, at their fingertips. They also now have in-depth insight into previous interactions and an understanding of queue times and prior issues tenants may have had. That helps them to deal with tenants in a more informed way during the interaction. The focus is on query or complaint resolution rather than simply answering calls quickly and keeping call times down. Tenants are reporting higher levels of satisfaction as a result.

According to Adam: “It’s a great benefit to us that EICC is easy and flexible to use. Its critically important that contact centre solutions are not cumbersome or clunky but that you can quickly start using them to drive business efficiencies and customer satisfaction. Our experience with EICC has been very positive in this respect.”

“It is also important to acknowledge, however,” Adam continued, “that to get the most out of a solution like this you need to understand what you want the solution to do for you before you start using it.”

The advice of Voyager Networks has been critical to Connexus in this respect. In fact, Voyager has played a crucial role throughout this whole project. It provided impartial support during the evaluation process and helped Connexus achieve a smooth implementation of the Enghouse solutions. It delivered high-quality training on the new systems. Moreover, its support of the solutions since implementation has been of a consistently highquality – and always fully transparent.

About Nottingham City Homes

Nottingham City Homes is an arms’ length management organisation on (ALMO) who look after around 27,000 homes on behalf of Nottingham City Council. NCH’s vision is to create homes and places where people want to live and this year they won the title of Landlord of the Year 2018 from the UK Housing Awards which is a testament to their commitment to tenant involvement and putting customers at the heart of everything they do.

Project Overview

NCH offer a wide range of services to its local community and handles over 400,000 calls through its contact centre per year. With their current system reaching end of life it was imperative for NCH to find a new contact centre solution that would provide continuity of service but also offer flexibility as new channels of communication were added.

Catherine Elliot, Head of Customer Experience, NCH commented: “It was important for us to find a system that would allow us to grow and develop. At the moment 90% of our interactions are telephone based but we want to drive uptake of other interaction methods over time, so we needed to ensure that the chosen platform offered a future migration path.”

Choosing a new platform

Governed by strict procurement policies, NCH went out to tender and chose a leading unified communications provider, who in turn worked with managed service and unified communications provider, Voyager Networks to deliver the Enghouse Interactive Communications Center (EICC). NCH had no pre-conceptions on solutions so went in with an open mind.

“The process gave us the opportunity to benchmark products and suppliers against each other and it soon became clear that the combination of a leading CCS supplier as primary contractor, Voyager Networks as solution provider and the Enghouse Interactive Communications Center as the flagship contact centre solution was the right choice,” Added Elliott.

Putting the System In

One of the key priorities for NCH when it came to installing the solution is that it had to be carried out with minimal downtime. Thanks to the expertise of the Voyager team and the intuitive nature of EICC, the system was only down for 17 minutes in total and was being actively used within a day of installation.

Project delivery

Voyager also upgraded NCH’s existing Cisco Unified Communications (UC) platform and integrated it with EICC. Overall, the whole implementation project was successfully delivered on time and under budget. “The implementation itself may only be relevant for a comparatively short period,” said Elliott. However, how efficiently and effectively it is carried out can have a real impact on how you feel about a product over the long-term. Ensuring that the implementation was smooth and had very little impact on our customers was an important objective for us – so we are delighted with the result.”

Reaping the rewards

Contact centre agents at NCH are already reaping the rewards of using EICC. Most have needed little external support to get up and running on the system and have enjoyed exploring its functionality to find faster, more intuitive ways to carry out their day-to-day tasks.

NCH is also starting to see some of the enhanced customer insight that the solution can provide. Call coding has improved, both in terms of the detail agents provide, but also the ability of management to drill down into that detail and gain a better understanding of the status, preference and needs of the customer.

The use of the Cisco UC platform, in particular, helps agents route calls more quickly through to experts in the middle and back office of the business.

Expert support

From the outset, NCH has been impressed by the support it has received from Voyager Networks, a key Enghouse Interactive partner and the main solutions provider it has worked with on the account.

“The continuity of service we received on this project has been very important,” Elliott added. “The Voyager team we were introduced to at the outset remained the same throughout and that continuity has been increasingly important as the project has rolled out.