Uthukela Water in KwaZulu Natal has streamlined administration of its telephony environment and boosted customer service levels of its call centre by implementing a Mitel unified communications (UC) solution supplied by Itec Newcastle.
The organisation provides water and sanitation services to around 300 000 households across the municipalities of Amajuba, Newcastle and Umzinyathi. It embarked on an open tender to replace a legacy telephony system that was inflexible and expensive to support. Itec emerged as the winner based on the quality and price of its solution.
The Itec solution is built end to end on a UC platform from Mitel, a Nasdaq-listed provider of business communications and collaboration software and services. It includes Mitel IP desktop devices, voice logging and contact centre management software, and the Mitel 3300 PBX.
The system currently serves around 75 users, including call centre agents. It replaces an analogue system with an IP-ready solution that will enable the water utility to achieve significant cost-savings into the future.
“After we evaluated all the bids, it was clear that the Itec solution offered the best value for money and the highest quality. One of the most important criteria was support – we wanted a tight service level agreement and a guarantee of responsiveness from our chosen vendor,” says Omesh Singh, chief technology officer at Uthukela Water.
“But the quality of the PBX, handsets and software were also important. The solution that Itec proposed would address our immediate business needs, as well as providing a foundation for developments we have planned for the future.”
Uthukela Water was impressed by the speed of the installation, which took place over a single weekend. Singh says that the telephony infrastructure is a central component of Uthukela Water’s business because the call centre is the organisation’s face to its customers.
The voice logging, call tracking and call distribution features of the Mitel system play an important role in customer service delivery and relationships by boosting quality and responsiveness of the contact centre.
“The contact centre manager now has a wallboard-display showing service levels statistics, details on calls answered, taken or abandoned, and a range of reports on agent quality management and other metrics. This translates directly into better service levels for customers calling into the contact centre,” says Hannes van der Merwe, Mitel product manager at Itec.
The solution also supports regulatory needs, such as 128-bit encryption of all calls recorded in the contact centre.
Itec Newcastle’s Ronnie Naidoo says that Itec proposed a solution that would address the high rental that Uthukela Water was paying on its old PBX, while giving it access to rich new features. The new solution clears the way for Uthukela Water to migrate to an all-IP network in the next few months, he adds.
“The Itec solution fits in with our long term plan to improve cost management as well as to improve management of our comms environment,” says Singh. “We have more than a dozen offices spread over a radius of 400km. In time, we want to move all of them over to a voice-over IP solution to cut costs of communicating between branches.”
“The lives of the IT staff administering the solution are already easier because the Web-based solution can be managed locally or remotely. It’s easy to add new user licences to the system so that it can scale up to meet Uthukela Water’s needs in the years to come. This is a solution that will grow alongside our customer,” adds Van der Merwe.