SOURCE: Aspect


August 05, 2011 07:06 ET

Newport City Homes Enhances Microsoft Unified Communications Deployment With Aspect Customer Contact Platform

Tight Integration Between Platform and Deployed Microsoft Lync and Dynamics CRM Platforms Will Improve Customer Service Quality, Ease of Management and User Experience for Customer Contact Staff

LONDON--(Marketwire - Aug 5, 2011) - Aspect, a leading provider of customer contact and Microsoft platform solutions, today announced its customer Newport City Homes (NCH), a leading UK not-for-profit Registered Social Landlord, has extended its Microsoft-based unified communications deployment with Aspect® Unified IP®, a next generation contact center platform that unites a comprehensive set of customer contact capabilities with the power of software.

Aspect Unified IP gives NCH a centralized platform for inbound routing, outbound dialing, email, Web, social media and voice portal. It also will deliver a range of advanced customer contact features that NCH previously lacked including wallboards, on-hold music, skills-based routing, full-time compliance recording and a detailed management information (MI) system.

NCH's unified communications deployment is based on Microsoft solutions in both the front and back office. These include Microsoft Lync 2010, Microsoft Office, Service Manager, SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Windows 7.0 on the desktop. Microsoft Lync 2010 provides a full unified communications capability with advanced features such as voice, instant messaging, video and call conferencing, presence, call recording and speech recognition.

"We looked at many different customer contact solutions but Aspect was the only one that gave us confidence to integrate with our existing Microsoft infrastructure and had the roadmap that would enable us to fully execute our unified communications strategy," said Nigel Ward, Information Services Developer, Newport City Homes. "We anticipate the platform will play an important role in improving our contact center efficiency and effectiveness."

Through tight integration between Aspect Unified IP, Microsoft Lync and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, NCH will be able to:

  • Add new contact center agents in just a couple of clicks rather than having to register people on individual systems. (Close integration also permits Windows authentication methods thereby reducing responsive support costs and improving accessibility for agents).

  • Take advantage of Aspect's powerful agent communications panel without additional integration work, enabling agents to work from a single, seamless interface. The panel enables calls to be handled more efficiently, and contributes to reducing stress levels in an already charged environment.

  • Rapidly add new customer options and adjust between live and automated services -- without relying on the IT department to make the changes. Recently, for example, an additional IVR option was added to the initial greeting menu for customers to access specialist heating, hot water and plumbing advice.

  • Empower agents to better engage with customers by sending screens of relevant CRM information (i.e. customer histories, details on services requested, outstanding activities, etc.) to their desktops as contacts are delivered.

  • Embed Presence into each case history enabling agents to see the status and availability of relevant housing, rent enquiry, new homes, or financial inclusion officers and contact them immediately, while the customer is still online. This permits agents to leverage knowledge throughout the organization.

By implementing Aspect's unified customer contact platform and leveraging technology across the Microsoft stack, NCH has provided more efficient collaboration for NCH agents and knowledge workers as well as enabling faster, more effective customer issue resolution and improved communications within the enterprise.

"The value of having a Presence system cannot be underestimated," states Nigel Ward. "Previously, if an agent needed to contact an external knowledge expert, he would have to dial telephone numbers not knowing where that person was or whether they were free to talk. This often increased the length of the call and the engagement time of the agent, and added to caller frustration. With Presence, we can now reduce contact handling times, improve first call resolution and enhance customer satisfaction."

NCH plans to introduce a raft of new customer contact features in 2011 enabled by the Aspect Unified IP platform. These include:

  • Workforce optimization: to improve the effectiveness of forecasting and workforce scheduling

  • Automated outbound dialing: to conduct information updates (such as community safety alerts)

  • Scheduled callback: enabling customers to request an automated callback from an agent rather than wait in queue

  • Multichannel contact handling: extending customer choice to Facebook, Twitter and other popular social communications channels

"Through its innovative use of Aspect Unified IP, Microsoft Lync 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, NCH has created a highly effective customer contact solution that will deliver benefits for its customers, management and employees," said Mark King, senior vice president, Europe & Africa, Aspect. "We look forward to working with NCH in the coming months to enhance the platform as we look to improve management flexibility and service quality, and meet the multichannel demands of its 'next-generation' customers."

"We've been very impressed with Aspect throughout the implementation," said Nigel Ward. "The Aspect toolset allows our customers the flexibility to determine the way they communicate and gives us the ability to manage those interactions."

"I have been impressed with how Aspect has understood our vision and provided unified products that meet both our business needs and those of our customers," added Darren Lloyd, Information Systems Manager, Newport City Homes.

For its innovative technology implementation, Newport City Homes was shortlisted in July 2011, for the Best Use of Technology award to be presented at the 2011 European Call Centre & Customer Services Awards gala on October 11, in London.

About Newport City Homes
Newport City Homes (NCH) is a leading UK not-for-profit Registered Social Landlord created in 2009 after a stock transfer of approximately 9,500 properties from Newport City Council. Today, it serves over 10,000 residents, leaseholders and shared owners in the city.

About Aspect
Aspect builds customer relationships through a combination of customer contact software and Microsoft platform services/solutions. For more information, visit

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Aspect, Unified IP and Aspect Software are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Aspect Software, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries. The names of other companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Contact Information

  • For more information please contact:
    Michael Gray
    Gray Associates
    +44 (0)20 8224 2315
    Email Contact

    Jenny Thornton
    +44 (0)20 8589 1000
    Email Contact

    Anastasia Bullinger
    +1 630 227 8108
    Email Contact