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Finding fresh opportunities in a changing world

Don’t lose out on business, says Vodafone’s Liam O’Brien, people expect to be able to contact you as they require

Vodafone's position as one of Ireland's leading unified communications providers was strengthened recently by the company's achievement of the highly prestigious Avaya Platinum Business Partner status. Vodafone, which has a long-standing relationship with Avaya as a result of its acquisition of Cable & Wireless in 2012, is now one of only three Avaya Platinum partners in the country.

According to Vodafone Ireland head of enterprise product development Liam O'Brien, the accreditation is recognition of Vodafone's ability to deliver best of breed solutions to its customers. "We're delighted to gain this accreditation and to continue our successful relationship with Avaya. As a leading provider of total communications solutions, our customers expect us to work with only the best of breed suppliers to help them build innovative, resilient solutions that drive tangible business outcomes."

"Vodafone is incredibly focused on delivering change to their customers through their New Ways of Working programme and Avaya is delighted to partner with them in that," says Jason Flynn, Avaya country manager. "The award of platinum status is a fitting reward for Vodafone's endeavours to date."

The accreditation adds to the range of unified communications, collaboration, contact centre and networking products which Vodafone offers to customers, from SMEs up to large corporates and public bodies such as the Irish Blood Transfusion Service and Dublin City Council. "These products help customers become more efficient and effective in their business by increasing contactability through unified communications and improving customer services by giving more ways for customers to interact as well as faster access to experts in the organisation," says O'Brien.

The solutions are designed to help customers manage communications, transform business processes and control costs. “Our IP and data services – fixed or mobile based – help customers to be ready for the application explosion and ready to benefit from the latest most secure and reliable connections,” says O’Brien.


-demand IT infrastructure
"Our cloud and hosting services prepare customers for growth, with flexible, secure on-demand IT infrastructure that leaves complexity behind. Our security solutions protect their business and their data. And our mobile data solutions enable them to be ready to do business anywhere with employees working productively and always contactable no matter where they are. Furthermore, our converged applications ensure employees are ready to collaborate more effectively and speed up decision making."

Among the benefits being realised is the way end customers interact and engage with organisations. “The whole concept of a call centre has changed,” O’Brien says. “In the past, if you wanted to contact a company to find out about its products and services or even just to enquire about its opening hours, you had to phone. There is a much wider range of options now in terms of the web and instant messaging and so on, and there are other clever things that companies can do now, some of which are enabled by our deployment of solutions with partners such as Avaya.”

Among these is to intuitively direct callers to where they are most likely to have their query answered. "By using caller recognition and linking that to a customer's history an organisation can predict what their query might be related to. For example, if a customer usually calls in relation to stock availability of a particular item or range of products, their call will be routed to the people in the organisation best able to answer those questions." Customers who contact by email or instant message can also have their queries dealt with more efficiently. "Instead of sitting on the phone listening to another verse of Greensleeves a customer can send an email or webchat to the contact centre and get a response almost instantly or arrange a callback at a time which suits them. These solutions allow emails and chats to be stored in the same queue as phone calls, so a contact centre agent is responding to them in order. This is a great facility for customers as people frequently don't have the time to make a telephone call."

And the solutions don’t only apply to enabling smarter ways for customers to contact companies. “In the old days if a contact centre agent wasn’t able to answer a query straight away themselves they had to tell the customer they’d get back to them and then go hunting for someone in the organisation who could help,” O’Brien adds. “Now the agent can send a webchat or an email to the relevant expert within the company and get an answer for the customer pretty much straight away. In the past there was very little interaction between the contact centre and the rest of the organisation but this has changed now due to this new breed of solutions. This concept of first contact resolution is not a new one but it is now within reach for many organisations for the first time.”

Vodafone is also able to offer innovative solutions which blend the best of both fixed and mobile communications. One example of this is the ability for customers to have the option to have just one number and take a call on any device as well as managing conference calls, video calls and screen-sharing from mobile devices.

Converging contact points
"People have a variety of numbers and contact points including their landlines at home and at their desk, their mobile, and perhaps others. By converging one's fixed and mobile services with Vodafone, we are able to offer the end users an experience so that they can effectively work as if they have just one number. If they get a call on any of their numbers, one or all their devices will ring and they can choose to answer that call in the way that suits them best at that time. We offer simple-to-use and intuitive mobile apps or a web portal to allow customers to control how they want this solution to work, in a way that suits them."

O’Brien says this ability to simplify and optimise contactability is potentially one of the most important benefits to be derived from Vodafone’s unified communications solutions. “If someone is looking to source a product or service they usually have two or three potential suppliers on their list. If you are top of that list but can’t be contacted because you are not at the number the customer has called, you could miss out on that business. Our solutions makes sure you’re always available and don’t miss out on opportunities. The world has changed and people expect people to be always contactable. That’s what we are offering customers with these solutions.”

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