Animal Friends Case Study

Requirement: Modern, omni-channel Cloud-enabled Contact Centre

The Client

Animal Friends Pet Insurance was founded in 1998 with the sole aim of providing pet insurance to help support animal welfare charities. Since its inception, Animal Friends Pet Insurance has grown to become not only an award-winning business but one of the largest pet insurance providers in the UK.

The nature of customer services has however changed a lot in the last 20+ years and Animal Friends found its ageing Contact Centre technology to be inefficient. Importantly, it wanted to enhance its reporting capabilities so it could access richer data about its customer interactions and ensure that it streamlined the process of meeting its compliance obligations to industry regulators.

 

Technical Solution

Animal Friends turned to Managed Services Provider GCI to deploy a cutting-edge Contact Centre for its 400 users. This would replace its legacy Contact Centre with a Cloud-based operation using Microsoft Skype for Business, Enghouse Interactive and call recording via Verint’s Verba solution, as well as providing Animal Friends with GCI’s integrated PCI compliant telephone payments solution. 

Enghouse is a leading expert in customer communications, providing one of the most comprehensive sets of Contact Centre interaction management and reporting tools in the industry. Enghouse offers ideal synergies with GCI’s own Unified Communications and Cloud expertise, and with the integration of Skype for Business, Animal Friends would benefit from a vastly improved interactive customer experience.

GCI was already a known and trusted partner to Animal Friends; however, during the tender process they were selected ahead of nine other providers due to the merits of their offering, expertise, and experience. Having previously worked with GCI on several IT projects, the insurer already benefitted from a modernised IT infrastructure from which to build a foundation for the Contact Centre. For instance, GCI had led an IT refresh which introduced Microsoft 365, a Cloud-powered productivity service incorporating Office 365, Windows 10 and security. This had made them more agile with a platform ready to scale.

Additionally, employees had already been using Skype for Business internally, which was a key technology within the new Contact Centre. Familiarity with the software meant onboarding was straightforward for a roll-out of this scale.

 

Success and Company Benefits

The project was completed from pilot to full implementation in just four months. GCI worked closely with front line staff to ensure that they were comfortable using all the new features of the system so that the business and Animal Friends customers would derive maximum benefit. Animal Friends have reported a high level of positive feedback with users remarking that it has made their lives at work “less stressful” and “more productive” as calls are being routed to the right departments more efficiently in turn cutting call times.

Other benefits include the deployment of an external ‘dialler’ so that outbound calls can be made using the system. This automated technology can quickly and easily detect busy signals, answer machines and disconnected numbers, which in turn has maximised agent productivity and driven up call volumes.

Secure card processing that ticks all the boxes
Additionally, a PCI compliance system is now in place enabling Animal Friends to securely take card payments over the phone, whilst adhering to industry regulations. As well as fully protecting customer card data, Animal Friends’ overheads of PCI compliance have been substantially reduced with the deployment of this solution.

The new reporting function has been a game-changer for Animal Friends and has provided senior management with access to real-time statistics. Key performance data such as how many calls per agent and how many calls per day has enabled them to analyse productivity and be more efficient as a business. This level of monitoring has been crucial when call centre employees are working from home. 

James Clelford, Service Desk Manager at Animal Friends comments: “GCI had already taken us on the Cloud journey with the successful introduction of Microsoft 365. This has greatly changed the way we work with greater collaboration across the business and staff able to work more flexibly. Extending this further to the Contact Centre was a logical next move and has enabled us to serve our customers in a more consolidated way. A key driver was real-time performance data, and this new functionality is enabling us to deliver longer-term improvements and demonstrate industry compliance.”

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the implementation of a cloud-based contact centre has enabled Animal Friends to redeploy its entire 400+ workforce to work remotely, without any drop in customer service.

Maximising the customer experience
James Clelford, Service Desk Manager at Animal Friends continued “during the current COVID crisis, Animal Friends have continued to work closely with GCI, not only ensuring that we can deliver BAU and in flight projects on time, and on budget, but also embark on new technological initiatives. The technology that GCI have implemented for us, particularly the omni-channel Contact Centre has ensured that we are able to continue to service our customers from to the same high standards we would if we were in the office.”

Planning for the future
The success of the new Contact Centre project is further evidenced by the fact that GCI is now engaged with Animal Friends on the next phase of planning. The nature of the Cloud-based technology means that it is simple to add new features, as such Animal Friends are investigating the advantages of chat bots and the company is beginning to incorporate social media and email as additional methods of customer communication, all of which is powered from the central customer management system built by GCI.

The steps that Animal Friends have taken in their technological evolution has effectively future-proofed their business via the Cloud. As a business they are ready for the next innovations in technology, maximising their competitive advantage and helping customers more efficiently.

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