City of Sunderland College
Company: NoeticaCustomer: City of Sunderland CollegeSubmitted by: MCC InternationalDate: April 2001City of Sunderland College have been successfully using Noetica’s Synthesys technology since April 1999, in its call centre, mobile call centre and drop-in centre as part of an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) in Processing Information using Telecommunications and facilitating the day to day running of the college. Synthesys acts as the software platform that allows the college to better assist its students via an information line, to recruit students via the mobile call centre and allows students on the course to gain call centre skills, and expose them to the real world of call handling.The City of Sunderland College is a further education establishment for A-Level and vocational A-Level students, and also takes a large number of part time students from local industries. Reflecting the high numbers of call centres in the North East of England, the college is the first to establish a custom-built call centre training centre.
IDENTIFYING THE OPPORTUNITY
“Through our research the College identified a gap in the local education system for quality training for budding call centre agents,” explained Allwyn Foster, Communications Co-ordinator, City of Sunderland College.
“The College decided to set up the 70 seat call centre, and 12 seat drop in centre, specifically to train call centre agents right in the heart of call centre country. Part of the funding for the project came from the Training and Enterprise Council, who realised the potential early on.”
The college picked Noetica’s Synthesys for the task. Synthesys is a leading Callflow and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package for customer contact centres. Designed to allow non-technical managers complete control of the call centre, which is especially important at Sunderland where different types of callflows need to be set-up to provide the students with experiences across a variety of industries and call scenarios. Synthesys components – such as its intelligent branching, which can branch on any outcome – layer together to provide one of the most advanced call centre software packages available.
Aimed primarily at future and existing call centre employees, City of Sunderland College’s qualification runs typically for 5 weeks, with a part time course also available. The course teaches inbound and outbound calling to students in addition to customer service and sales techniques. Students are taught in an actual call centre environment, supported by Synthesys, using realistic call flows in role-play. This is critical given the increasingly high skill levels being demanded of operatives in the call centre industry.The college links the training centre to a new ACD phone system, and has installed a dedicated internal phone circuit to provide the students with a safe system in which to work where they could control the environment.
PROVIDING STUDENTS WITH VALUABLE EXPERIENCE
“With the support of the latest software in the form of Synthesys, we can train our students in a tailored fashion, giving them experience of real life in a call centre,” said Allwyn.
“Some students even describe the experience as being so real that they get nervous when a call comes in, even though it is from someone in the same room!””Noetica’s Callflow Editor is very important to us as it means we can present our students with a wide range of call scenarios, which we can quickly and easily set up. Other colleges running similar courses have bought scripts relating to a specific call centre. We, however, can create our own callflows/scripts and relate them to the type of work that the students are most likely to experience when they have completed the qualification,” continued Allwyn. “Specifically, we match our call flows to the type of call centres which are based in this area, for instance, banking, telecoms and utilities. Synthesys Callflows are intuitive and we can make sure they are relevant for the work our students are likely to be going into.
“One of the main benefits of the course is that students are better prepared for job interviews. When students are asked how they might handle a caller asking for information or registering a complaint in a given situation, he or she can answer with reference to an actual callflow they have used.
MORE THAN JUST A TRAINING TOOL
City of Sunderland College has a second application for Synthesys in its college information line, which has 10 call centre agents and is a live call centre. This provides a resource for current students and prospective students, and also undertakes valuable student destination research for the college into which companies students are employed with once they complete. This research has shown that 85% of the students who complete the Processing Information using Telecommunications course, go on to work in the call centre industry, including many based in the surrounding area.
There is a third role for Synthesys at Sunderland: Allwyn takes a mobile call centre to exhibitions around the country to demonstrate what the college is able to offer. “I take a mini call centre consisting of four agent workstations and a server around the exhibitions which has proved very successful. Once existing call centres and potential students see what our course entails, and just how life-like the Synthesys set-up, is they become very interested.”
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
Both Allwyn and the students seem to agree that not only is Synthesys the easiest to use and most versatile call centre software on offer but it is also a system that provides the students with a good grounding for a career in the call centre industry. With the training centre in place the future is looking bright for the college and the surrounding call centre industry.”Many of our students, most of whom are unemployed when they come to City of Sunderland College to study, obtain the skills and experience they need to find successful employment in the telemarketing and customer contact industry,” concluded Allwyn.
“After using Synthesys for a year it has proved itself and exceeded all our expectations by allowing us to deliver high quality training and greatly improving efficiency of the day to day running of the college. An independent report commissioned by Sunderland City Council and carried out by Deloitte and Touche, identified our training course as one of the best currently supplying the needs of the call centre industry, and is ideally positioned to continue meeting industry demands in the future.””This is good news for the students, good news for the industry, and good news for the North East as a fast growing centre of telemarketing excellence,” said Keith Symondson, commercial director, Noetica. “With the support of the latest software in the form of Synthesys, City of Sunderland College can train its students in a tailored fashion, giving them experience of real life in a call centre so they acquire the necessary skills to succeed within their careers in the call centre industry.”