Arcus Global helps NHSBSA use Amazon Connect to Manage its Contact Center Operations

“Arcus Global identified a market gap in innovation from technology companies focused on meeting public-sector needs. By using AWS cloud technologies, Arcus Global bridged that gap.” 

Tim Lancaster, AWS Practice Director at Arcus Global

The Challenge

The public has grown used to always-on customer service such as the level of service found in retail, banking, and entertainment interactions. The public now assumes it will experience the same degree of service in public-sector interactions as well. Consumers want customer service to function smoothly, calls to be directed appropriately, and common questions to be answered quickly. Public-sector organizations see the necessity of responding to changing consumer expectations. They have turned to the technology sector for innovative ways to meet consumer demands by upgrading contact center operations.

Arcus Global identified a market gap in innovation from technology companies focused on meeting public-sector needs. By using AWS cloud technologies, Arcus Global bridged that gap,” says Tim Lancaster, AWS practice director at Arcus Global. The company is an Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN) and holds a Government competency. Its services include software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, secure application-hosting environments, and AI-enabled contact center solutions.

In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is responsible for public-health services. The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is a Special Health Authority within NHS that provides services to NHS organizations and the public. One key responsibility for the NHSBSA is running contact centers that other NHS organizations and the public can call with questions about services. As a government agency, the NHSBSA is answerable for how well it serves the public and uses its operations budget. The NHSBSA turned to Arcus Global for innovative ways to provide faster service to callers, deliver accurate answers more consistently, relieve advisors from the more monotonous aspects of their job, and provide a higher level of service at a lower cost.

Why Amazon Web Services

Arcus Global previously worked with the NHSBSA Platform Services team on an app-hosting platform using AWS. The Platform Services team wanted to explore uses for cloud technologies beyond traditional cloud infrastructure. Aware of Arcus Global’s years of experience working with AWS, the NHSBSA sought its help exploring the use of Amazon Connect to improve contact center operations. Connect is a cloud-based contact center service for which customers pay per-minute usage fees. NHSBSA and Arcus Global arranged a trial that would manage calls about the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). EHIC allows anyone insured by a statutory social-security scheme in the European Economic Area (EEA) to receive free or reduced-cost medical treatment in member countries. Callers ask standard questions about the card for which there are known answers, making it the ideal candidate for automation.

“The trial period was very rapid. In three weeks, we went from having an initial conversation with Arcus Global to a prototype integrated into call center operations,” says Chris Suter, lead cloud architect for NHSBSA. Early meetings with the contact center manager and operators helped Arcus Global understand the team’s challenges. Armed with information about the most common questions, common words used to ask those questions, and the correct answers, the group created a proof of concept (POC). The POC was simple to execute because it required no major changes by NHSBSA. “The only requirement placed on NHSBSA was to divert calls to Arcus Global. Any call not answerable by automation—that is, calls that were more complicated than the most commonly asked questions—was returned to the contact center operators,” Lancaster says.

The first day in production worked almost too well. “We have a metrics board in the call center,” explains Suter. “In the first minutes of the trial, we saw no calls coming in. We thought it had all gone wrong. Then we realized the Connect service was handling most calls for us. We immediately realized the value of working with Arcus Global to improve the contact center service.”  

Benefits

Many metrics revealed the trial’s early success. The first days of the trial were so successful that less than one week into the project, NHSBSA expanded call center operations beyond business hours to answer calls 24/7. In four weeks, 10,194 calls were received. Of those, 42 percent (4,316 calls) were resolved via the Amazon Connect system and did not have to be passed back to an NHSBSA operator. There was a 26 percent reduction in contact center traffic.

Employee retention and satisfaction also improved. Understandably, many calls that come into a contact center are complaints. “By partnering with Arcus Global, we are now trialing the use of AI to gather information about the caller’s needs upfront. The operator sees that information on-screen and can offer a resolution right away. Operators enjoy being more helpful to callers and appreciate less repetition on the job,” says Suter.

Lancaster says, “The fast, agile trial period makes it simple for public-sector agencies to test. These agencies also appreciate the ability to continuously tune the service using live customer data, making improvements based on what customers actually ask.” That simple process makes it an easy proposition to expand the contact center service in other areas. For NHSBSA, the use of Connect has been expanded to contact center operations that support Prescription Prepayment Certificates (PPC), a program for saving money on prescriptions, and HR Shared Services, which helps other NHS organizations with recruiting, employee record management, learning services, and payroll functions.

Suter notes, “As a public-sector agency, we spend taxpayer money. We need to show value for that. In our partnership with Arcus Global and by using Amazon Connect, BSA satisfies that public need and provides savings to NHS that can be funneled back into better healthcare.”

Learn More

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About NHSBSA

In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is responsible for public-health services. The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is a Special Health Authority within NHS that provides services to NHS organizations and the public. 

Challenge

The NHSBSA turned to Arcus Global for innovative ways to provide faster service to callers, deliver accurate answers more consistently, relieve advisors from the more monotonous aspects of their job, and provide a higher level of service at a lower cost. 

Solution

NHSBSA and Arcus Global arranged an Amazon Connect trial that would manage calls about the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Benefit

The first days of the trial were so successful that less than one week into the project, NHSBSA expanded call center operations beyond business hours to answer calls 24/7. In four weeks, 10,194 calls were received. Of those, 42 percent (4,316 calls) were resolved via the Amazon Connect system and did not have to be passed back to an NHSBSA operator. There was a 26 percent reduction in contact center traffic. 

About Arcus Global

Arcus Global, a company based in Cambridge, UK, delivers cloud-based solutions to the UK public sector using Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company’s goal is to enable the public sector to deliver core services by using cloud technologies in innovative and cost-effective ways. The company was the first UK partner to achieve Amazon’s Public Sector competency.