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Housing Association, Together Housing, transforms Customer Experience across 5 contact centres

Together Housing Group is a leading provider of quality homes in the North of England, managing an impressive portfolio of 37,000 homes and employing over 1,250 staff. Together Housing experience high levels of customer service enquiries from over 50,000 tenants, managing a wide range of customer enquiries including repairs and maintenance, lettings, welfare reform and anti-social behaviour, resulting in over 38,000 calls a month.

Following the coming together of the five housing associations in April 2011, the customer service centres were all relying on different telephony platforms with some centres having up to 15 different phone numbers for customer service enquiries. As a result, Together Housing were struggling to deliver a consistent level of customer service across the group and therefore started looking for ways to knit these disparate systems together to provide a “one call for all” customer service offering.

After looking at a number of different providers, Together Housing selected mplsystems for the design and implementation of the solution as a result of the high levels of flexibility offered to suit their specific business requirements. Alongside this, mplsystems solution had the ability to scale and accommodate any future business growth in the Together Housing Group, enabling them to extend the solution when needed, rather than having to procure third party systems for additional work.

Working closely with Together Housing’s team, mplsystems designed a unique contact centre solution that brings together all calls from the multiple social housing brands within the group into one secure system. Although currently operating on and East / West basis, the system allows the possibility of the five regional contact centres to work as one virtual team with calls being intelligently routed from one call centre to another, enabling them to effectively share resource and significantly improve productivity.

With the implementation of an intelligent desktop, the customer service team are now able to resolve customer enquiries regardless of the housing group involved, whilst maintaining the local identity of each association. The agent desktop identifies the customer as soon as the call is connected and presents their data on a single user interface, allowing the agent to deal with the call more efficiently.

Stephen Batley, Group Head of Customer Services, said: “Each of the partners was operating on separate telephony systems, which was clearly not suitable if we were to realise the benefits of a group structure. IntelligentContact has allowed us to achieve this, whilst ensuring we maintain the local identity of each of the individual association’s, which is an important part of our Board’s priorities and customer service delivery.”

The solution from mplsystems also provides customers with a call back option, which means once their enquiry reaches the front of the queue an agent will call them back, avoiding customers having to spend long periods on hold. These call backs are often within a 10 -20 minute timeframe and subsequently over exceeding customer expectations.

Together Housing now have a single, secure and reliable solution that has helped achieve their objective of working together as a group and as a result, customers are now experiencing faster response times and a consistently high level of customer service.

“mplsystems solution has played a big part in helping us transform the level of customer service we deliver through our customer service centres,” he added. “We are now able to work as a group, rather than as separate organisations, and this has benefited us as a business as well as our customers and the service they receive through the customer service centre.”

Together Housing are now planning a second phase of the project with mplsystems, where they will integrate email, social and web chat customer service in to the intelligentContact system. This will provide Together Housings tenants with a true multi-channel solution, and be effectively managed through the agent desktop to help provide a seamless customer experience regardless of channel.

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