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London Hotel Group Teams with Dell and Aspect to Improve Guest Experience

October 03, 2013

By Madhubanti Rudra,
TMCnet Contributor

In a client-focused business like hospitality, you have to establish efficient communication with customers with an aim to clearly understand their needs. No wonder then that all prominent players in this industry make investments to improve customer communication.

London’s Edwardian Group, which runs luxury hotels in London, Heathrow, Guildford and Manchester, is no exception. The hotel group has recently forged a strategic partnership with Dell (News - Alert) and Aspect to upgrade the infrastructure in its customer contact center. As part of this project, Edwardian Group is installing an updated communications platform based on a new IT infrastructure.

The Edwardian Group London serves over 1.2 million guests every year. The modernization of its communication infrastructure looks to expand these guests’ choice of channel for contacting the hotel staff for a range of purposes, such as hotel booking and other issues, during their stay at the hotels. The guests will now be able to communicate with the hotel staff over variety of different platforms including email, instant messaging (IM) and social networking. This is expected to enhance the overall customer experience of the company’s guests.

The investment is also designed to help manage the distribution of Edwardian Group’s workforce. This in turn is expected to reduce costs associated with the management and overseeing of shifting staff.

In order to achieve this multi-platform capability, it was necessary for the hotel to upgrade the legacy Alcatel PBX (private branch exchange) telephone system. Accordingly, The Edwardian Group London approached Dell and Aspect (News - Alert) with an initial request for exploring the feasibility of implementing Microsoft Lync. In the next stage, the possibility for the development of a new customer contact center platform was considered.

The new communication platforms will be supported by infrastructure from Dell including Dell EqualLogic storage and Dell PowerEdge R620 rack servers with VMware vSphere 5 licensing for 20 virtual machines.

Dell had partnered with Aspect to ensure that the new infrastructure would support full-service communications. The project was executed in three parts:

The first part involved the integration of Microsoft Lync with the existing Alcatel telephone system to improve communication channels between staff across all 14 hotels in the UK.

The second part involved the implementation of an updated customer contact center based on Aspect’s Unified IP 7.1 for 150 agents, replacing the existing contact center technology that was unable to accommodate additional staff requirements during peak periods.

The third and final part of the project was aimed at achieving the ability to forecast resource requirements with Aspect Workforce Management for 200 people. With this, the company hopes to improve employee productivity and staff deployment efficiency, leading ultimately to improved call waiting times, service levels and customer satisfaction.

“Our communications platform is critical to the high level of service that we offer our guests by widening the means in which they can reach our staff; whether that is to make a reservation or order room service. We also needed to improve the way we manage a very transient workforce and ensure that we have the right amount of people available to support guest enquiries at any one time. The new solution helps us predict staff levels and improve our understanding of the costs of managing a large, fluid workforce. We can easily scale the system to meet our requirements which is important in supporting our business growth,” commercial development director at The Edwardian Group London Iype Abraham, noted in a statement.

Edited by Blaise McNamee