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  • CASE STUDY: How the Kennel Club transformed its contact centre

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    Delivering an outstanding service to its customers is paramount to the Kennel Club, but its original contact centre system was in need of updating…

    The Kennel Club is the UK’s largest organisation devoted to dog health, welfare and training. Its objective is to ensure that dogs live healthy, happy lives with responsible owners.

    The Kennel Club is the first point of contact on all dog matters and the biggest investor in canine health and welfare in the country. They offer dog owners and those working with dogs an unparalleled source of education, experience and advice on puppy buying, dog health, training and breeding.

    The Kennel Club registers around a quarter of a million pedigree dogs each year, thousands more on its activity register, and manages Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found database for microchipped pets. They employ 220 employees at its head office in London and Customer Support and Contact Centre in Aylesbury.

    Contact Centre Solution

    Delivering an outstanding service to its customers is paramount to the Kennel Club but its original contact centre system was in need of updating to keep pace with the future ambitions of the organisation and to better serve customer needs. Calls are received on a wide range of enquiries from breeds of dogs, buying a puppy to attending dog shows such as the world prestigious Crufts, which the Kennel Club manages. The Kennel Club also runs Petlog, which has records of over 10 million microchipped animals.

    Over 40,000 calls a month are handled by the Kennel Club contact centre. Previously the centre solution was separate for each division, and the multi-skilled contact centre agents worked across both. If an agent was sitting at a desk taking a call for the Kennel Club and the next call was regarding Petlog then they would physically have to change desks and telephone to take the call.

    Alex Meek, IT Director at the Kennel Club, explains: “As you can imagine this was a very inefficient way of working and made it hard to deliver good customer service.

    “We needed a new telephone and contact centre solution and went out to tender looking for a solution provider to deploy and manage the solution.”

    New beginnings

    Alex and his team went out to tender to find a technology partner that they wanted to work with and that could provide the necessary technology required for the organisation.

    “The Kennel Club has a very large customer base which is reflected in the fact that the contact centre receives over 40,000 calls a month. That’s why it was very important to find the right technology partner, who can help provide this specialised service that deals mainly with incoming calls and not outgoing. A single provider for all technology implementation and management,” comments Alex.

    Britannic Technologies won the business and were selected as the Kennel Club’s Solution and Managed Service Provider, to supply a new phone system and contact centre solution.

    “We selected Britannic Technologies because we get on very well with the team; chemistry is vital when working with people. They understood the not-for-profit sector and how our organisation was different and bespoke.

    “We needed a contact centre solution on top of our existing phone system as well as a separate new voice platform which Britannic Technologies was able to provide. As well as an end-to-end cloud based solution that now forms the foundation of our business communications. We were also impressed with their history and reputation in the telephony and contact centre industry” said Alex.

    Discovery and demonstration

    Alex continued: “Britannic worked closely with the IT team and the contact centre to discover and learn about the organisation, how we work and what objectives we wanted to achieve. They audited the technology that we had in place and our operations to see how and where we could improve.

    “Britannic were excellent at discovering our needs and our ways of working. After demonstrations of the technology they could provide, we designed a system tailored to the Kennel Club drawing from our experience and theirs, which ensured a best-fit solution,”

    Britannic recommended a Britannic Communications Solution with Mitel IP telephony platform and Mitel Multi-Media Contact Centre Solution with Red Box Recording, all hosted in the Britannic cloud.

    Relocating offices

    The Kennel Club selected a cloud solution because they wanted to benefit from the flexibility it provides, especially as they were going to relocate offices and needed to be sure the move would be as seamless as possible. They also wanted to take advantage of Britannic’s managed service offering to enable the IT team to focus on strategic areas of the business and hand over the day to day availability to Britannic.

    “A cloud solution and managed services offering was most definitely the way forward for us. We did not want any hardware onsite and preferred the monthly rental model rather than capital expenditure. This way we can benefit from access to the latest technology and applications. The cloud made our office move so simple; we had our old and new offices live at the same time to guarantee a smooth transition. The agents literally carried their phones out of the old office and walked into the new office across the road, plugged them in and they worked! It was unbelievably seamless,” said Alex.

    Contact Centre – Training and development

    The Mitel Contact Centre has enabled the Kennel Club to have a single comprehensive solution where calls come in on two separate lines, one for the Kennel Club and the other Petlog. All calls are dealt with by one of their 50 plus multi-skilled agents.

    Laura Duforest, Contact Centre Manager, the Kennel Club comments: “Previously our solution didn’t allow us to report on our overall contact centre performance and we had very little visibility of our call patterns and the productivity of our agents. The Mitel solution helps us to report on a range of different components such as call waiting times, call abandoned rates and agent performance to name a few.

    “The Kennel Club calls can require specialist knowledge, the new system allows us to break down call types and determine which agent is best suited to assist the customer. The call can be routed directly through to the agent with the correct skills. This has allowed us to skill base route all our calls maximising our agent’s skills and knowledge.

    “The system allows us to monitor our agents’ statistical performance closely by breaking down certain functions. The system has allowed us to identify how many times an agent has used a certain function and for how long. This includes wrap up time, hold time, and other unavailable statuses. This reporting has not only improved our performance management system and the support we provide the team but has improved our overall customer satisfaction.

    “The reporting tool within the system allows us to view the agents’ overall performance which can be broken down by day, hour and even minutes. This allows us to report against their KPI’s and provide an overall view of where our agents are meeting or overachieving their KPI’s.

    “The Kennel Club records all calls using a Red Box Recorder; this enables us to listen to the agents in real time as well as listening back to calls previously handled. This is a valuable tool that allows us to assess our agents and develop their knowledge and skills for the future. This tool is essential for training and quality assurance.

    “The solution is fantastic”, Laura confirms. “The visibility and transparency encourage and motivate the agents to exceed their targets. The agents love the wallboards and even set themselves challenges without any intervention from me.”

    A breed of our own

    The Kennel Club is a unique organisation that requires a specialist approach. Britannic excels in working with such customers, designing and developing communications technology solutions that meet their needs.

    Alex comments, “I don’t think that we were easy customers to deal with due to our unique requirements. However, Britannic worked closely with us to design and develop a communications solution that suits us. One of the areas they are working on at present is our forecasting tool in the contact centre to help us forecast busy periods and plan agents.

    “They are a strong team from account management, project managers through to the engineers. Britannic provided us with our own dedicated engineer due to our specialist requirements.

    “Britannic is a fantastic company to work with. The team constantly works on discovering our needs and demonstrating and designing technology for our road map, taking us on a digital transformation journey but at our own pace. Most importantly, they deliver on their promise and do what they say.”


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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