Thames Water has created the UK's first ‘on-demand’ internet protocol contact centre, as part of a three-year multimillion pound managed services deal with Cable&Wireless.

The centre, which takes 4.5 million calls a year and is supported by C&W networks, will connect 800 back office and contact centre staff on one network, and manage all customer interactions from a single platform.

Thames Water is paying C&W on a pay-per-user deal, and C&W will also provide ongoing network support. It said the on-demand nature of the centre meant it could increase or decrease the number of staff resources on call as conditions change.

The flooding in south England in summer 2007 hit Thames Water’s customer contact centre in Swindon, resulting in a temporary loss of service. Part of the aim of the new centre is to avoid the problem reoccurring.

The software provides contact centre services and IP telephony to the whole of the Thames Water Swindon centre. It also integrates the Thames Water contact centre and back office staff, as part of its ‘One Contact Centre’ strategy.

It integrates with existing call recording and workforce management applications, and Thames Water said reporting mechanisms had been improved, making the collection of vital statistics simpler and less time consuming.

Mike Tempest, customer services director at the utility, said: “The Hosted IP Contact Centre service monitors, in real time, the status of all users logged on to the platform so customer calls are delivered to the right agent at the right time. As the contact centre gets busier, we can bring in additional resources from the wider, one contact centre team to ensure our high levels of service are maintained.”

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