Vanco’s Customer Service – Specsavers’ Positive Experience

Specsavers is one of Vanco’s newer clients, having signed an agreement in February 2008. As might be expected of the UK’s largest and most trusted opticians, Specsavers has a highly sophisticated wide area network connecting over 1000 stores in nine countries with Specsavers’ own lens manufacturing laboratories and with head office support functions. Specsavers therefore places great focus on the reliability of its communications infrastructure in order to continue to deliver an excellent, consistent level of service to its customers.

The five-year agreement between Specsavers and Vanco, with a contracted value of over £4.5 million, delivers end-to-end connectivity via DSL technology across Specsavers’ entire estate. Vanco’s asset-light approach utilises a range of different carriers to ensure the network fits Specsavers’ technology requirements, along with a pricing model that meets its budget objective.

Specsavers selected Vanco both to increase bandwidth and to ensure ongoing scalability, to support its ambitious plans for international growth. One of the important considerations was Vanco’s reputation for excellent customer service.

Ruskin Snow, Specsavers’ IT Operations Manager, commented, “We decided to use Vanco because they have consistently demonstrated technical innovation and, very importantly, a clear focus on customer service. Vanco’s ability to provide us with the most suitable network for our needs means that we have the freedom to carry on growing and evolving. This combination of services allows us to concentrate on what we do best – providing value-for-money eyecare.”

Nigel Spain, Architecture Manager, who is the person responsible for supplier relationships at Specsavers stated: “There was so much noise in the press when Vanco plc’s shares were suspended in May 2008 and Vanco was looking for a buyer. I was initially concerned about the possible impact on our service levels, but I genuinely feel that Vanco did everything within their power to ensure I was fully informed of the situation. I could understand the processes they were going through to ensure a successful outcome for their business and for all of their customers.”

The results bear this out. During the three weeks between the share suspension and the sale to Reliance Globalcom, Vanco maintained the level of service that has placed it at the top of the industry year-on-year. The ‘spotting rate’ – Vanco’s measure of its ability to detect faults and contact the customer before the customer is aware – was, on average, just under 90 per cent against an SLA of 70 per cent.

For Specsavers’ project roll-out specifically, three data centres (two in Guernsey and one in Eastleigh) were connected to Vanco’s Virtual Service Integration Points (VSIPs). Next, to satisfy Specsavers’ immediate demands following an acquisition, 16 sites in Finland were connected on a temporary 3G solution within very short lead times. In Australia, Vanco has rolled out 80 new stores since February (a public IP network using a combination of BDSL, ADSL and wireless technologies) at a rate of approximately seven sites per week, fully on plan and meeting the customer’s expectations. As a result, Specsavers recently signed a further 28 Australian sites to Vanco, in addition to the 17 still to be rolled out in the region.

Andy Sumner, Vanco’s UK Managing Director, commented, “Like the majority of our customers, Specsavers’ Wide Area Network is absolutely critical to their business, so maintaining levels of service continues to be our absolute priority. It is pleasing to see that our customers appreciate our efforts and we believe that their faith will be repaid with a network solution that delivers material financial and business benefits to them. What’s more, our subsequent acquisition by Reliance Globalcom will bring additional benefits and services to Specsavers, and all of our current and future customers worldwide.”