Travel Counsellors Case Study
Requirement: Skype for Business Contact Centre, PCI Compliance, Disaster Recovery and Network Infrastructure
Leading independent travel company Travel Counsellors required a solution that would keep it ahead of the competition for customer service on an international scale, as well as ensure its data was safeguarded and that its Contact Centre was compliant.
A leader in its sector for more than 20 years, multi-award winning Travel Counsellors is an independent travel company that delivers a personal, bespoke travel service. It has the highest Customer Satisfaction score of any travel company in the world (NPS), with a worldwide turnover of over £534 million last year. The company has over 1,700 travel franchisees, supported by more than 360 staff across its UK headquarters in Manchester, and 6 overseas offices in Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, and Dubai.
A business familiar with the collaborative benefits accrued from Unified Communications, Travel Counsellors already had an on-premise Skype for Business Enterprise Voice solution, implemented via a self-deployment. With a focus of growing across seven countries, the travel leader recognised the need to move to an end-to-end solution and Managed Service. They were looking for a long-term partner to provide expert, consultative advice and support them along the way, whilst delivering 24/7/365 support – a critical component for the always-on nature of their business.
Travel Counsellors’ existing Contact Centre solution was also holding the business back from its global expansion plans - the system lacked advanced monitoring or reporting capabilities and PCI compliance features. To successfully move forward the business required a system that would route and log calls to its travel experts where they could take secure PCI-compliant payments, and enable them to provide customers with an enjoyable, seamless journey from initial enquiry to booking confirmation - all whilst meeting the new data protection requirements set out by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
GCI proposed a Skype for Business and Enghouse virtual Contact Centre; a solution that is perfect for improving and streamlining the Contact Centre experience for customers and Travel Counsellors’ team of 2000 travel experts. A feature-rich offering, the solution enables the business to achieve single service resolution wherever possible by ensuring that every customer is connected to the best-fit agent – this is important in a digital age where many consumers prefer to engage via social media and chatbots. The implementation of a Skype for Business and Enghouse Contact Centre also meant that the travel leader could continue to enable seamless communication and collaboration between teams, with users benefitting from Presence, Video Conferencing, Instant Messaging, document sharing and much more – all at the touch of a button. Skype for Business is highly flexible and scalable which means rolling out the solution to new offices or staff members is quick and easy as the company continues to grow across the globe.
To ensure that the implementation of this new global solution didn’t impact on the businesses existing infrastructure, GCI provided Travel Counsellors with multiple Enterprise-grade servers to ensure full resilience and a Disaster Recovery solution, which guarantees minimal downtime and data loss. To connect to the Skype for Business services, Travel Counsellors’ staff simply connect to GCI’s highly-accessible platform over private MPLS connections which direct back to the GCI core network – ensuring a resilient, secure connection that is imperative to their 24/7 multi-channel operation.
In line with GDPR data-protection regulations, ensuring secure PCI-compliant payments was critical for Travel Counsellors. As one of Europe’s only PCI Level 1 Service Providers, GCI implemented GCI Live Agent and automated PCI De-Scope options so that Travel Counsellors is able to securely take payments from customers whilst ensuring that all sensitive card data is removed from both the company’s head office and agents’ home office environments. The secure payment platform applies to the processing of all payments taken over the telephone, enabling the company to be compliant with new data-protection regulations.
Travel Counsellors’ solution also has selective Call Recording capability, meaning that calls are recorded on a variety of factors such as agent profile, group and skills which is important for a company that strives for continuous improvement and transparency. Additionally, all calls can be recorded to meet compliance with legal, government or industry requirements, and agents across the globe are able to initiate the recording when desired.
Success and Company Benefits
GCI’s Skype for Business and Enghouse Contact Centre solution has empowered Travel Counsellors to eliminate the requirement for multiple systems, delivering a flexible and scalable communications platform in the process. Best of all, the solution aids expansion on an international level, enabling Travel Counsellors to further expand its team of home-based travel experts by over 200 within the first few months of implementation. Further benefits include improved time efficiencies - not only helping staff to assist more customers more quickly, but also allowing them to concentrate on other work-related tasks and collaborate more easily than ever before.
John MacMillan, Programme Manager at Travel Counsellors, said: “After some time considering the requirements to support our global teams of travel franchise owners and head office support staff, we invited a number of companies to participate in a procurement process. During the various stages we were impressed with how GCI demonstrated a clear understanding of our business and requirements.
GCI’s expertise, paired with a market-leading solution has gone a long way to support Travel Counsellors’ continued growth across seven countries and has enabled us to provide an even greater, quicker service to our customers. As well as experience of delivering Skype for Business deployments to organisations with tens of thousands of users, they have a unique blend of capabilities that have proved invaluable to us.”