Etihad Airways has signed a five-year, multi-million dollar agreement with BT (British Telecom) one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, to virtualise its global contact centres. The partnership has enhanced the airline’s guest experience by reducing call waiting times, introducing new servicing capabilities, and providing services in 15 languages.
Based on a Cisco platform, the cloud-based contact centre solution, BT Cloud Contact Cisco is enabling Etihad Airways to seamlessly route calls from 40 countries to any one of 450 multi-lingual agents available across its three contact centres in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in the UAE, and Manchester in the UK.
By making a single virtual entity of the UAE and UK contact centre locations, the airline ensures that guests receive high-quality service by automatically transferring calls to the right agent with the right skills, irrespective of where the guest calls from. In addition to improved service levels, this approach has significantly reduced the average time to answer calls by more than 30 per cent.
Through its Cloud Contact platform, BT provides a seamless end-to-end service for Etihad Airways’ contact centres with many new capabilities including a new customer relationship system. It also gives access to innovative technology from other suppliers such as Verint and Cisco that provide a variety of solutions to enhance the airline’s guest experience further. Call and screen recording improves quality control, workforce optimisation tools enable reduced call waiting times, and speech analytics enable detailed reporting to improve processes for guests.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are always searching for new ways to raise the guest experience bar and this intelligent, reliable technology will help us achieve that by making a significant difference to our contact centre management.
“With this agile, innovative solution, our contact centre teams can now efficiently manage inbound traffic and virtualise resources. It helps us work smartly, but importantly, it supports the company’s rapid global growth with an increased focus on the guest.”
Robert Webb, Etihad Airways’ Chief Information and Technology Officer, said: “This agreement aligns perfectly with our technology and innovation strategy of delivering a world-class digital guest experience by creating services that seamlessly integrate and personalise all guest interactions with the airline.
“BT Global Services is an established leader in providing contact centre technology and together we are building a scalable and resilient system that handles guests’ calls more quickly and effectively while lowering costs for Etihad Airways.”
Luis Alvarez, CEO, BT Global Services, said: “We are proud to work with Etihad Airways for the first phase of its Global Contact Centre Virtualisation project and to be a provider of their global customer experience platform. Adding to a long-standing expertise in the delivery of enterprise-grade cloud services, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience in managing contact centres for some of the world’s leading brands, including in the airline industry. Through our Cloud Contact platform we are looking forward to delivering to Etihad Airways a world-class, “evergreen” contact centre with the very latest technology.”
Etihad Airways’ three virtually integrated contact centres operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and manage more than three million calls per year from around the world.
The airline is committed to developing and retaining local talent as part of its Emirati-first approach, and to invest in Abu Dhabi. Two of the airline’s three contact centres are located in the Emirate, with the Al Ain contact centre solely managed by female UAE nationals. In 2014, Etihad Airways opened an additional wing of the award-winning Al Ain centre and now has 150 Emirati staff working there, who last year answered over one million calls.