If you had told me a few years ago that in the future, we'd be recruiting and onboarding 20,000 agents while our offices were closed and we were forced to work from home, I wouldn't have thought it'd be possible. But when we had to execute on that very plan to support the UK government, we were completely successful. A large part of the reason was RingCentral.
Sales Director, Sitel Group®
The world’s third-largest provider of customer-experience outsourcing
When they want to deliver a world-class contact centre experience for their customers or constituencies, organisations all over the world—from commercial enterprises to government agencies—turn to the experts at Sitel Group®.
One of the world’s largest and most respected providers of outsourced contact centre services, Sitel Group delivers meaningful connections between its clients and their customers more than eight million times a day, in dozens of languages.
The company’s decades-long reputation for professional, reliable, and secure service has made Sitel Group a trusted partner for governments around the world—and a Crown Commercial Service supplier in the UK.
But when the pandemic led to enormous contact centre demand at many UK public-sector agencies, Sitel Group faced a logistical challenge supporting its longtime government partner. Fortunately, the company was able to work with its own longtime technology partner, RingCentral, to devise a solution that met these government agencies’ considerable needs.
Rapidly onboarding 20,000 remote agents to support UK social services
As the 2020 quarantines went into effect, Sitel Group received a contract to support several agencies facing massive spikes in inquiries from the public—including the Department of Health and Social Care, UK Visa and Immigration, and Home Office.
Ian Conduit, Sales Director at Sitel Group, points out that the combined needs of these and other UK agencies, in the timeframe they were asking for help, presented a challenge even for a company of Sitel Group’s size and experience.
Ian explains: “Sitel UK was being asked to play a significant role in supporting the government’s response to the pandemic, which was an honour and a privilege. But in practical terms, that meant onboarding and coordinating 20,000 new agents in under two months—all home workers, due to the quarantines. And that was a bit concerning.”
Leveraging RingCentral, a trusted ecosystem partner
Steve Rafferty, RingCentral’s Country Manager for UK & Ireland, notes that this project had a couple of unique challenges. “We couldn’t even meet because of the lockdowns,” he says. “So, our teams had to work through this complex undertaking entirely virtually—using RingCentral Video and RingCentral’s team-messaging platform to collaborate.”
Another challenge, Steve notes, was that the two organisations had to move extremely quickly to implement the first phase of Sitel Group’s support operations for the UK government. “Ian needed us to get a couple thousand users, all working remotely, up and running on RingCentral’s Platform in just a couple of weeks to start handling these agencies’ calls.”
Fortunately, though, because Sitel Group works with RingCentral on complex projects all over the world, Ian knew he didn’t need to worry about the standard obstacles his team might face with another contact centre provider.
We knew RingCentral reliably makes good on its 99.999% uptime promise, and we knew the company's platforms all have the security and compliance elements built in. Whatever solution we devised with our partners at RingCentral, we knew it would meet our client’s requirements.
Sales Director, Sitel Group®
Miami, FL, USA
Finding ways to save the UK taxpayer
“With a project of this scale and under this much time pressure, you need close collaboration with your partners,” Ian says. “That was one of the biggest advantages of working with RingCentral. As we developed our plan to roll out RingCentral for our remote agents, we weren’t working as two separate entities. We operated as one organisation, working together toward a shared goal.”
As Steve adds, that shared goal included making Sitel Group’s contract for RingCentral as flexible as possible, to keep costs down for taxpayers. “Ian had no way of knowing in those early days how many agents he would need to hire, or when he’d need to scale capacity up or down. Taxpayers should be paying only for the services their public agencies need and use—especially during a pandemic.”
RingCentral drew up an agreement that was strictly pay-as-you-need, and over time Sitel Group took advantage of this flexibility by increasing and decreasing its licenses multiple times. “Things changed rapidly during this period,” Steve explains. “Ian’s team went from a few thousand agents to 20,000, back to a few thousand, and back again to 20,000. And they never needed to pay for any service or capacity they weren’t using.”
As Ian notes: “RingCentral’s pay-as-you-go model, combined with the fact that the solution is cloud based that didn’t require a lot of upfront costs, meant we were able to provide great service to our clients while helping them reduce their total cost of ownership.”
Improving operations with RingCentral
Nor was this the only way Sitel Group and RingCentral worked together to deliver value to UK’s government agencies. The organisations also found ways to leverage integrations with Sitel Group’s existing workflow applications with RingCentral Embeddable, allowing quick integration of calling into web applications, as well as creating custom workflows with RingCentral’s APIs, to improve agents’ efficiency and the customer experience.
“We’ve found so many ways to leverage RingCentral’s integrations to enhance our operations,” says Ian. “We use custom integrations to gain visibility into our call data, which helps our teams improve agent performance. We’re also using database integrations to automate steps for our agents, such as pulling up a caller’s profile as they take the call. That frees up our agents to have more meaningful conversations with citizens—which means we’re also delivering a better experience for our clients.”
And as Steve points out, in addition to helping Sitel Group improve agent productivity and the quality of service to its clients, these added efficiencies have also helped the organisation pass on even more cost savings to the UK government.
“When your support operation generates 15 million minutes of calls per month, and you can use automation, integrations, and other elements of your contact centre software to save agents a few minutes per call, that time savings can add up to hundreds of thousands of pounds saved. Using RingCentral, Sitel Group was able to do just that on this project—which provided another way to reduce costs to the UK taxpayer.”
We’ve been running at full speed, nonstop, since the early days of COVID to support our government clients. We haven’t had much time to reflect on things. But when I look back and consider what our teams have accomplished—handling millions of calls, with thousands of new agents working from laptops at home—I’m amazed that this was even possible.
Sales Director, Sitel Group®