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All-in-one contact centre solution for SA

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Ninzi-Connect Software (formerly Multi-Connect) was one of the first suppliers of Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) equipment to the South African market, when the company was originally established in 1989. This was followed up by introducing the workforce management product now known as eWFM (originally TCS) to the marketplace.

At the time, ACD was a business tool that took the market by storm and it has since matured into the advanced Customer Contact Centres that we know today.
MD Howard Haines had the vision to realise that the contact centre industry in SA was a growing one, and along with ACD, added an outbound dialler and a call logging solution, to the organisation’s arsenal, in order to be able to offer clients a total package.
"We have now come full circle from our early days, as an "island of technology" supplier- to our newest offering, Ensemble Pro, which is an all encompassing solution that provides both single site and enterprise level functionality and effectively combines ACD, outbound, recording and multi-media communications into a single reliable and scalable package," he says.
"The evolution from ACD to Ensemble Pro in some ways mirrors Ninzi-Connect’s evolution from its humble beginnings as Multi-Connect, through 18 years of contact centre implementations, into an experienced and fully BEE-compliant solutions provider."
According to Ninzi-Connect account manager Nic Loizides, the company’s Ensemble Pro provides both inbound and outbound dialling, as well as interactive voice response (IVR) technology, full recording and application service-providing functionality which will provide a total solution for an in-house contact centre or BPO-focused organisation.
"Buying a unified product such as this benefits these companies as they no longer have to purchase a number of disparate products to make an entire solution," he says.
"This is our flagship product, as it encompasses all that is needed in a contact centre, and by its nature it opens up a whole new marketplace for the company, because it allows us to play in the mid-range space as well as at the enterprise level."
He says that Ensemble Pro is the key differentiator for Ninzi-Connect, as it provides the type of all-in-one solution that the mid-size organisation requires, adding that to purchase the different offerings found within this product on a piecemeal basis would in all likelihood be far too expensive for such a business.
"A lot of smaller organisations have budget constraints and it would cost an arm and a leg to buy all the products individually, but because our solution is a unified one, it is much cheaper and is also the type of product that can grow with an organisation as its business grows."
He says a perfect example of a mid-range implementation is that which was done for Norton-Lambrianos Attorneys, a law firm that specialises in the area of debt collection for a number of major retailers and similar corporations.
"Since the nature of their business involves a lot of telephone work, the company decided to invest in its own call centre as it was of the opinion that in order to offer a better service to its clients, it needed a tool that could assist it with the collection process," says Loizides.
"Ensemble Pro proved to be the right product at the right time for them, since it offered the kind of functionality they were seeking within the correct price range. Also, the Norton-Lambrianos MD had previous experience with our Davox predictive diallers, which is why he turned to us in the first place."
Norton-Lambrianos MD, Dave Fisher, says that his organisation had recently acquired a large retailer as a  client, and the volumes of collections had become quite high. Thanks to his previous good experiences with Davox and Ninzi-Connect’s service, he approached the company with regards to implementing something that could handle high volumes and a complex, blended contact centre environment.
"The installation was well planned beforehand and it went very smoothly. This was because we set out a timeline to work to and stuck to it. Also all the work was done offsite first, so everything was ready by the time we came to install the offering at our offices," says Fisher.
"The key to making this implementation a success from our side lay in understanding the newer functionality and this meant that training our staff and getting them used to using the product was critical, so training was conducted beforehand both for normal staff and for our supervisors."
Loizides says that Norton-Lambrianos now also has the option to record calls – both for legal purposes and for quality control – as this is built into the product functionality and that as their requirements grow so more functionality can be switched on too.
"The real challenge for us was the fact that this was one of our first Ensemble Pro implementations, so it was a case of accurately determining the most efficient call flows to meet the customer requirements, which could nonetheless be altered on the fly as the requirements themselves changed."
He insists, however, that because Ninzi-Connect had been performing similar sorts of implementations for quite a long time, the business already had the experience within it that was necessary to make the operation flow smoothly.
"It was certainly trickier in some respects, because it is an end-to-end solution, rather than the individual solutions we had been offering before, but then it was also easier in some ways because of this," states Loizides.
"We had Norton-Lambrianos up and running within three months – from the time we placed the order for the equipment through to going live with it – which is quite a remarkable turn around time for a full contact centre implementation," he says, pointing out that a lot of the installed equipment was shipped in from overseas, and that had it not been for the lead time on this, the project could have been completed in as little as six weeks.
Fisher says that as far as his company is concerned, the solution has done exactly what it was meant to, which is to improve agent productivity in order to facilitate more collections for the corporations Norton-Lambrianos works for.
"From a quality point of view, we also have a voice recording option, which means that we can manage our agents properly, gather accurate statistics such as how many calls are made, how many real connects occur and so on," he says.
"The solution has also become a good marketing tool for our business, as most of the large retailers and financial institutions are keen on partners who have this type of technology, so Ensemble Pro gives us a competitive edge in the market."
Asked about the future for Ninzi-Connect, Loizides says that he sees Ensemble Pro playing a role in driving SA forward as an outsource contact centre destination, particularly as it is a solution that offers best-of-breed, all-in-one functionality.
"This is because Ensemble Pro allows customers to utilise an ASP model to support multiple independent contact centres off a single implementation."
"Whilst the product is undoubtedly world class, it is also vital that the correct expertise is utilised in the implementation process, and this is where Ninzi’s more than 18 years of experience in the field comes to the fore, ensuring an implementation that will exactly fit the client’s needs and requirements," he adds.