Virgin Implement Mitel IP Solution with Reseller Echo

Six months after installation, Mitel has announced that the Virgin Group’s Cosmetic and Jewellery business ‘Virgin Vie At Home’ has implemented an IP-based contact centre solution to improve communications between its network of UK Consultants and support staff at its West Sussex Head Office.

The IP solution, managed by Echo Communications Ltd, went live in August 2006 and comprises the Mitel 3300 IP Communications Platform (ICP), Mitel 6100 Contact Centre Solution and the Mitel Your Assistant Lite.

The 50-strong team at Virgin Vie’s contact centre handle queries from a network of 12,000 Independent Consultants across the UK, who sell the brand’s Cosmetics and Jewellery range. Contact centre agents advise the Consultants on everything from the status of orders awaiting delivery, to invoicing queries, to updates on the latest sales and marketing materials.

Neil Mainwaring, Senior Account Manager, Echo, said: “Virgin Vie At Home’s existing solution was coming to the end of its lifecycle and could not support the high level of interaction between agents and Consultants required. Echo recommended a Mitel IP solution to improve the quality of communications both for the contact centre agents using the technology and the Consultants dialling in.

“Working closely with Mitel we were able to implement the solution in just two weeks from the signed order date, going live in time for the busy Christmas period. The switch to the Mitel solution has already enabled the company to reap the benefits of using an IP-based solution.”

The Mitel Your Assistant is integrated into the contact centre and provides agents with a soft-phone which improves efficiency of call handling.

The Interactive Contact Centre application also allows team leaders to access up-to-the-minute information about call volumes, queues and agents performance, while the intelligents routing system directs callers to the appropriate agent which ensures the call is handled correctly and reduces the time the customer has to wait.

Another key consideration of the project for Echo was to provide a solution which could be developed to enable the adoption of flexible working practices for contact centre staff.

Ian Chapman, IT Director, Virgin Vie At Home, said: “We are currently looking at the Mitel Teleworker Solution to enable agents to work from home. Operating in an area of relatively low unemployment, the retention of good quality agents is extremely important to us and the new IP solution enables us to adopt the flexible working practices, which makes us attractive as an employer, without compromising service and quality levels.”

Impressed with the results of the implementation to date, Virgin Vie At Home is already considering using the Mitel Teleworker solution to connect its 17 Flagship stores and retail outlets to the central contact centre, enabling the sharing of information regarding stock levels and customer orders. In addition, Echo is currently discussing future plans with Virgin Vie At Home regarding the expansion of the multimedia capabilities of the Mitel contact centre, to enable Consultants to log requests for information or assistance via email.

Graham Bevington, Managing Director, Mitel, said: “The Virgin Vie At Home implementation is a perfect illustration of how retailers can use the latest in IP communications technology to streamline their communications and operate more efficiently. Furthermore, it highlights how IT has a key role to play in realising wider business strategy, staff retention and flexible working practices in the case of Virgin Vie At Home, for example.”