Datapoint announced a £10 million, five year managed services contract with O2. Datapoint has created a virtual, multi-channel contact centre linking all of O2’s UK core contact centres. It provides O2 customers with a fast, efficient service via phone and SMS messages and, in the future, will offer the ability to integrate other communication channels such as social media.

Datapoint, with its expertise in enterprise communication and customer service systems, will be integral to supporting O2’s customer experience for implementation of O2’s strategy by developing new communication channels. Providing the communication framework, Datapoint has created a virtual, IP-based contact centre for O2 in the UK for the first time. This links 6,000 agents in O2’s six contact centres across: Warrington, Leeds, Bury, Rotherham, Manchester and Glasgow, managing over 80 million phone calls each year.

As part of the contract, Datapoint has not only implemented the virtual contact centre but will now provide a 24 hours a day, seven days a week managed service to eliminate any bottlenecks before they impact customers. A key element will be the provision of consultancy services to help O2 shape its customer contact and management strategy. This includes quarterly ‘Customer Service Innovation Workshops’. In the workshops, Datapoint will support O2 to evaluate new communication technologies for the virtual contact centre such as natural language speech recognition. This will help O2 to improve customer service in the future by increasing the use of such technologies to give customers a greater choice of communication channels.

Jim Kent, CEO of Datapoint said, “O2 is investing in what is one of the largest and most complex, virtual IP contact centres in Europe as part of its vision to differentiate the customer experience. Our team has spent over 3,000 man days to implement the IP contact centre which enables O2 to be even more agile in communicating and rolling out new services to its customers.”

Gareth Turpin, head of Strategy and Operations, Sales & Service, O2 added, “Datapoint’s communication and customer service infrastructure will help us double the number of our customer ‘fans’ by the end of 2011 as we step up service for our customers regardless of which channel they communicate with us – whether it’s via the phone one day or Facebook the other.”

Datapoint’s dedicated, ten-strong services team will monitor and manage what is one of Europe’s largest IP contact centre installations. The open-standards based system will provide business continuity across two data centres and integrate the following: Nectar proactive monitoring and managed services software; existing Genesys call routing, workforce management and customer interaction management systems; Avaya interactive voice response and switching; Qfiniti voice and data recording; HP and Sun enterprise servers; NetApp storage; and an Oracle database.

In the future, the system can integrate Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to further increase flexibility.

Also, other European contact centres and communication channels can be integrated easily to enhance customer service (from SMS to social media with Twitter and Facebook; webchat; and instant messaging). This is part of O2’s vision to give customers a greater choice of channels with which to communicate with O2.