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Telecomms Consultancy & Call Centre Voice Services for UCAS

CAS was awarded this consultancy assignment to manage the OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) procedure for replacement of private branch exchange (PBX) and voice services for the main UCAS call centre based at Cheltenham. This is where UCAS receives UK and International student enrolment enquiries and deals with Universities and Institutions across the UK.

CAS won the contract to assist UCAS in streamlining its call centres, to transition from its legacy INDeX communications platform to a new Avaya S8700 Media Server, running Communication Manager Software. CAS was instrumental in finding reliable suppliers and service providers. UCAS deals enquiries from course applicants to all UK universities and colleges, as well as courses on nursing, midwifery and social work.

It strives to make the process as simple as possible for applicants, and to offer advice and otherwise assist with the applications process. Its diverse role, necessitates a comprehensive and tightly run communications strategy.

The project was conducted according to formal OJEU process.  This included:

  • An options appraisal review of the three possible solutions to better meet UCAS users’ needs: traditional, IT enabled, and IP telephony options, with special emphasis on the contact centre requirements.
  • Assistance through official OJEU notice publication and evaluation, with documentation to meet recognised EU procurement and tendering standards using the restricted procedure.
  • Production of the contractual and technical aspects of the Specification document issued to suppliers, following the OJEU restricted procedure.
  • Development of evaluation criteria and documentation; subsequent evaluation of technical and costing elements for a new contact centre, telephony support and reporting services, and associated applications including:
    • Workforce management package and integration of business process. Workforce Management Software by Q-Max will provide the facility to match call inquiries with the most qualified agent to advise on the course. It also enables modelling of call volumes in advance of peak hours, to better organise staff allocation.
    • Media gateway between circuit-switched and packet-switched networks.
    • IP Telephony (VoIP), the more efficient packet-switched means of data transfer, which enables better processing of multiple simultaneous calls.
    • Voice Recording and Agent Screen Capture, to record customer interactions. Monitoring employee performance helps highlight areas for improvement; it also assists in creating a benchmark against which to measure performance across the organisation.
    • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and integration of data on applicants, to allow for quicker and personalised processing of their call. In future, UCAS envisions a solution where applicants provide their details while their call is queuing, and then data will appear on the agent’s screen once their call is put through.
    • Management Information System (MIS), enabling senior management to assess the financial and operational efficiency of each company sub-division.
    • Auto attendant, directing callers to dial-an-option menu choices on their keypad
    • Interactive Voice Response, allowing callers access to their personal information stored on the UCAS database.
    • Voice Mail
    • Call Logging
    • Enhanced Network Services, to allow improved traffic flow and messaging

Call centre specialist CCT was chosen as the supplier for this project, following a rigorous evaluation process and numerous site visits.  The design of the system resulted in a smaller carbon footprint with more environmentally friendly equipment.

The network services and switchboard were also enhanced and reconfigured to meet improved service level targets.

Following a successful implementation, the first “Clearing Period” in August (A-level results day) resulted in a record number of over 15,000 calls passing through the contact centre in a single day, with the least number of aborted calls compared to previous clearing days. This demonstrated the project was a resounding success.