Six Payment Services, a specialised global provider of bank card payment processing services, has deployed virtual telephony solutions that integrate closely with customer management systems to ensure direct reconciliation between the sales and receipt systems.
About Six Payment Services
- Bank card transaction management
- 3,900 employees (Six Group) with 100 working for Six Payment Services
- Head office in Luxembourg, other offices in Sweden, UK and US.
- Decentralised, unified and flexible telephone system
- Permanently available infrastructure and solution
- Integration and cooperation across all sites and their respective infrastructures
- Greater mobility for employees
- Lower internal communication costs
- Strengthening of external telecommunications
- MiVoice Business (4 controllers)
- 120 MiVoice IP Phones (type 5320,
- 5340 and 5360)
- 73 MiCollab Client Softphone
- 55 MiCollab Mobile Client
- MiContact Center (35 agents)
- 10 MiCollab Audio & Webconferencing
- 7 MiVoice Border Gateway - Teleworker Service
The company mostly targets customers in restaurant and high-class hotel chains as well as parking operators. This traditional customer base is now extending to include other companies operating particularly in sectors such as large-scale distribution, petrol stations, e-commerce and fast food. Six Payment Services’s business requires it to be constantly ready to listen to the least concern or wish of its customers. Any failure would have a significant impact, not only on their financial situation, but also on their image and, therefore, on their relationship of trust with their customers. The effectiveness of Six Payment Services’s solutions and also of its teams is therefore essential.
However, to cover the 29 countries where it operates, the company needed to decentralise its sites and entrust each of them with a number of roles and responsibilities, particularly in project management and customer service. Moreover, the traditional old PBX-type telephone exchanges had clearly come to the end of their time. “This disparity and incompatibility made centralised management of our working environment impossible”, says Benoît Collet, Director of IT at Six Payment Services Luxembourg. “We needed a harmonised, unified voice over IP-solution that would also be more effective and would enable us to connect all our offices.”
The solution? A single integrated communications system in which voice virtualisation became a requirement. “Priority number one, the driving force that guided our choice, was that the telephony solution with which we would equip the call centre and the teams had to guarantee that the customer relationship was easy to manage”, states Collet. “Our business, the nature of our customers and the geographical dispersion of our operations require us to work 24/7, across different time zones. Secondly, as our employees are constantly travelling it was also necessary to find an IP solution which offers flexibility so that our employees can work from anywhere as though they were at their home port. These criteria have guided our choice for a more modern and harmonised voice infrastructure and call centre, based on VMware and with richer functionalities while minimising communication costs.”
Putting the Customer First
“Some requirements could undoubtedly have been met by most suppliers of IP telephony solutions. They can all provide a unified platform and the ability to work flexibly. What Mitel provides us - and what others couldn’t - was significant value add in terms of additional applications that we could run across our virtualised voice infrastructure to give us more manageability, flexibility and more sophisticated and adaptable report generation potential.”
“With our requirement to maintain constant, efficient and reliable customer service, it was a non-negotiable priority for our telephony infrastructure to guarantee resilience in case of a failure, concerns regarding one of the sites or a problem on the IP network. We therefore wanted to deploy a redundant voice architecture, to ensure the availability of all sites at all times and the ability to re-route a call to an available operator. Unlike other suppliers that prioritise a centralised infrastructure with the associated heavy costs of building in redundancy, Mitel offered us the possibility of implementing a decentralised virtual voice architecture and functionality at a much more affordable price.” says Benoît Collet.
The Virtues of Vitualisation
Six Payment Services has achieved its objective of modernised telephony capable of operating in unified communications mode, including the essential aspects of mobility and 24/7 availability. Virtualisation has been the determining factor, although invisible for users and customers, allowing Six Payment Services to benefit the everyday, tangible benefits for its activities.
The arrival of the Mitel Freedom architecture and a set of virtual voice solutions has already brought some major advantages for users. Where they had previously needed to use an external service, Web conference calls, both internal and external, are now handled by the platform. The company can now also use a set of advanced features like unified messaging, mobility, remote working, voicemail, etc. Hot desking enables all employees to connect, work and be reachable wherever they wish via a single number. While many of them - driven by their jobs - operate outside of their office, the flexibility of a virtualised communications infrastructure is a powerful argument.
Today, total mobility and unified communications are in place. Whatever the terminal requested – telephone, PC with a softphone, GSM, etc. – employees will always be able to initiate and carry out communications wherever they move to. In the near future, when Six Payment Services selects its next smartphone platform (the current Blackberries are to be replaced) and equips all users with tablets, the same roaming flexibility will also extend to applications. Telephony will then be fully unified and all terminals merged.
In addition to the gains in flexibility and mobility, the installation of the Mitel virtual voice solution has had a significant side benefit. “We are seeing a significant decrease in our communications costs”, says Benoît Collet. “We certainly included this criterion in our initial objectives, by assuming a 25% reduction, but the results have already exceeded our expectations.”
The main gains are in communications between sites: “Communication time between European and American colleagues soon adds up, so the savings offered by an IP solution are therefore tangible. In addition, the 4 Mitel systems installed at the 4 sites were implemented so that the system systematically chooses the cheapest route. For example, when someone calls a customer in the United States, the call goes through the U.S. platform. The programmed mechanism can systematically borrow the gateway that is cheapest and closest to the destination. This has the effect of substantially reducing the costs of international calls.” This cost optimisation exercise will continue in the future, especially through enhanced analysis of the most advantageous routes.
“We reckon that we will have recovered our investment in virtual voice within three years. This is a purely budgetary projection as it does not account for the flexibility that the system provides or for the possibility of extensions and scaling to meet our communications needs.
The first site to benefit from the Mitel solution was the Luxembourg office, particularly to enable the IT department to get up to speed with the new virtual voice system and to verify that all elements and features met expectations. “The implementation of the solution in Luxembourg was carried out by a certified Mitel implementation partner. They configured all the systems for the other sites in the exchanges and trained the IT department to install and deploy the solution in other countries. They will continue to provide us level 2 support and inform us about solutions that might interest us. In fact, they advised us to install audio/web conference functionality and the teleworker solution.”
Staff welcomed the change of solution across the board. “People were tired of having to work with the old tools. The novelty effect has been profound. We have a twofold hope: firstly, even greater cost control, as a result of mobile telephony cost reductions. Secondly, optimisation of staff availability. A third of our workforce is composed of mobile workers. Some sales agents are hardly ever at the office or move from one office to another. They may work from home or from a hotel. The only concern is to meet the customer or prospective customer’s needs in the most effective way possible.”
Highly Valued Stability
The stability, the ease and manageability of the Mitel virtual voice solution are gratefully acknowledged by Six Payment Services. “To date, the solution has inspired confidence. We do not feel that we need to be constantly alert to identify potential problems. Although IP telephony is an essential tool for Six Payment Services, it is not our core business. It is not our goal to have a dedicated full-time telephone administrator. Now we can all manage ourselves. We have already moved controllers without experiencing problems. Previously, the entire management was outsourced. So it was necessary to be specialised in telephony to change the slightest thing. When we had to install a new user, we even had to get the implementation partner in. This meant that we lost time. Today, the IT department manages telephony just like everything else and this seems entirely natural to us.”