Improved network efficiency was the key motivating factor for global training provider Action for Employment (A4e) when they turned to leading telecoms company Solar Communications.

A4e wanted a modern telephone system linking its sites across the UK to enhance internal communications and accommodate expansion plans. The solution was a Mitel system giving significant cost savings, increased efficiency and improved service levels.

A4e was founded in 1986 to provide training and employment opportunities for the unemployed in Sheffield.

The company has grown substantially and now has a turnover of £145m, employs 3,100 worldwide and has become a market leader in public service reform, working at a strategic level with a number of governments including the UK, Australia and South Africa.

In addition to A4e’s initial requirement to upgrade their system and network their offices, Solar Communications identified further areas where they could add value – improved staff productivity and higher levels of customer service.

Internal communications

In a business with offices located across the country, an effective telecoms system is crucial and the ability to network telephone and IT systems allows for much greater functionality and faster speed of response.

For example, having the ability to instantly view the efficiency of agents on a PC monitor means managers are able to quickly identify areas for improvement with specific training and share good practice methodology between the offices.

Customer service

In a service-led organisation improved internal communications and increased staff productivity will ultimately lead to higher levels of client satisfaction. This is important to a company delivering public service contracts and the even greater expectations on private companies like A4e to excel in this area.

With this in mind, and knowing that A4e wanted to deliver a service level that exceeded the expectations of end-users, Solar Communications installed dedicated call centre software which assisted A4e by dramatically improving enquiry handling whilst also contributing to a significant cost saving for the company.

Staff productivity

After considering A4e’s requirements, Solar Communications installed the Mitel 5000 system which, with specialist call centre application software, provided immediate call forwarding to the most appropriate and available operator and enabled A4e to direct sufficient resource to the right team at the right time.

It also meant that managers were able to quickly identify those agents who were over-worked, or conversely those whose skills could be redirected.

The future

A4e’s continuing expansion is underpinned by Solar Communications expertise, reliability and high-quality phone systems.