Manchester, Leek United and Furness building societies live with Avaya IP telephony system

Source: Avaya

Avaya Inc., a global leader in business communications applications, software and services, announced three top building societies, Manchester, Leek United and Furness, are now using secure IP Telephony solutions from Avaya which have been deployed, designed, installed and managed by Pennine Telecom, an Avaya Platinum BusinessPartner.

With Avaya technologies, these three building societies are now able to enhance operational efficiencies, simplify communications management, and streamline internal workflows to drive revenue growth and improve customer service. This technology also helps to put in the communications foundations that underpin business continuity and contingency planning in the event of a natural disaster such as the recent flooding that happened in the UK or a critical infrastructure failure.

"Financial organisations are now facing specific challenges, from instituting flexible working practices to improving internal communications and knowledge sharing," said Nick Roullier, Country Manager, Avaya UK. "To meet these challenges while simultaneously increasing revenue streams, financial institutions must create an "intelligent network" which runs on unified communications applications. This sophisticated technology, which Avaya pioneered, helps improve employee and customer communications, increases productivity and drive customer loyalty, even in the highly-competitive financial services arena."

Manchester Building Society has chosen to implement a completely converged IP Telephony solution based on Avaya's Communication Manager IP Telephony solution. Business continuity and mobility were the two key business drivers behind the Manchester Building Society's choice to evolve its network. Manchester Building Society has been providing financial products since 1922, operating as a streamlined organisation, based at the heart of the city with a national network of agencies, which requires a flexible business continuity infrastructure that can be deployed at a reasonable cost while minimizing recovery time from a possible disaster. "In the finance sector it is critical that we have business continuity. This was evident recently when a large proportion of businesses in Manchester lost their telecoms due to a fire in the city centre. We can't risk losing our telecoms and we have a have a duty to deliver a reliable and high level of service to our customers," said Ian Johnson, ICT Manager of Manchester Building Society. "Having the local back up processor at our second site ensures that our customers will not be affected by such an event."

The Building Society was also looking for competitive mobility features to enhance employee productivity to allow their work force to operate in the field. To that end, employees have been equipped with Avaya's 9600 IP Telephones and are trialing Avaya's IP Softphone, which makes it easy for staff to place and receive phone calls from their laptop, making it an ideal application for employees on the move - enhancing Manchester's Building Society ability to serve its customers.

As part of its IT strategy, Furness Building Society chose to evolve its original network, based on an Avaya INDeX solution, to allow the organisation to experience the benefits of IP Telephony-based communication and improve customer service while increasing the level of business continuity. "The Furness is a national provider of competitive mortgage and savings, but also excels in offering outstanding personal customer service," said Ray Jones, IT Controller at the Society. "Avaya's INDeX solution has been performing very well for more than nine years but this strategic deployment gives us the flexibility to evolve to IP providing Furness with productivity benefits and cost savings, demonstrating the strong value proposition of Avaya's IP Telephony business solutions." The Furness' new network, used by 160 employees, is based on Avaya's Communication Manager software.

Leek United Building Society was established in 1863 and for over 140 years they have been providing their customers with choice, value and personal service in a range of financial services. Over a single weekend, an Avaya IP Office 500 solution was deployed at the Building Society head office in Leek so customers could benefit from the new converged voice and data system features on Monday.

"Following a 'mystery shopping' customer service initiative we noted that our telephone systems needed to be upgraded in order to provide better service to our customers," said Stephen Boulton, Head of IT at Leek United. "We have been very impressed with the Avaya solution, which gave us the ability to improve our customer service ensuring that business critical calls get through and reach the right person as well as the ability to handle calls quickly during peak hours and streamline call routing."

"Initially we set up five people on the IP Office Phone Manager Pro software application but installed it on all PCs. Staff in the IT department, together with those who received the training, started using it straight away to see who was available. Speed dial lists of all teams were created and imported thereby providing a quick list of all users. Usage then started to gather pace with other members of staff wanting to use it because other employees had found it so useful. Now we use it to set a "Do Not Disturb" message, set up call forwarding, make calls and transfer calls. Following its success, we are now developing a training course for all employees who have requested it. Phone Manager Pro has shown how control of the phone via the PC can be of benefit to all employees," concluded Boulton.

Leek United Building Society plans to deploy Avaya's IP Office to all of its 12 offices throughout the UK.

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