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Flagship Group Quickly Solves Contact Center Challenge Using Amazon Connect

2022

Flagship Group owns more than 32,000 homes that house approximately 75,000 tenants across the East of England and employs more than 1,400 people. It is made up of housing, repairs, and heating subsidiaries, along with its own homelessness charity. Flagship wants to make a difference for its tenants and their communities. To help, its subsidiary Flagship Homes builds homes for sale, reinvesting any profit it makes where it’s needed most—Flagship calls it “profit for purpose.” 

To achieve its goals, Flagship focuses on investing in existing assets, developing technologies, and using imaginative methods for service delivery. Because of its growth, the company needed a new home for its IT operations, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the solution. “We were looking to cast off a legacy system of more than 150 servers that was costing time and money to maintain,” says Matt Brazier, IT and systems director at Flagship Group. “We chose to move our data into the cloud and use AWS to improve the reliability and availability of key systems and to save costs.” With a clear goal in mind, Brazier, working with AWS Partner Digital Space, was ready to begin migrating services to AWS. 

However, outside forces came into play when, on the Sunday before the planned move, Flagship Group experienced a cyberattack. The company responded quickly, voluntarily taking most of its IT systems offline as a precautionary measure. This left Flagship limited to emergency operations only.

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It really speaks to the quality of AWS that we had the contact center up and running at 100 percent in just 3 days.’’

Jon Langman
Head of Contact Centre, Flagship Group

An Unexpected Opportunity to Migrate

While Flagship was revising its IT action plan, Digital Space recognized an opportunity to get key services back online quickly and recommended a migration of Flagship’s contact centers to Amazon Connect. This was a migration that Flagship had scheduled to start a year later. “As an IT director, you like to have things planned out,” says Brazier. “But you have to address the reality too. Digital Space explained how this accelerated implementation could work, and the benefits, so we went with it.”

In addition to rapidly restoring service, the company also benefited from improved support for remote working. Flagship had switched its agents to remote working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its legacy system didn’t handle the change well. Getting Flagship’s legacy system operating again—including checking that servers were clean and secure—would have consumed time and resources and might have left tenants unsupported. So Flagship made the migration and had Amazon Connect up and running in just 3 days. “We thought it would be a real challenge to get everyone set up on Amazon Connect, but it worked really well,” says Jon Langman, head of contact centre at Flagship. “Training was simple. The system is really intuitive. A pleasant surprise. Our staff just picked it up and ran with it. Most of them understood and could use the majority of the system by the time of their scheduled training session.” 

The contact center provides essential support for a range of key tenant and private customer inquiries, including repairs and maintenance requests for Flagship Service. It also supports Gasway, Flagship Group’s heating specialist. Together, the three services generate about 25,000 calls per month for 65 agents. Live chat is growing as well, accounting for about 800 contacts per month. And with the robust security on AWS, the center can operate with confidence and remain available 24/7.

Wins for Flagship Group and Tenants Using Amazon Connect

An accelerated migration during a pandemic sounds like a worst-case scenario, but Flagship has succeeded in its transformation. Managers and agents alike find Amazon Connect to be helpful and easy to use. Managers in particular have been able to use Contact Lens for Amazon Connect to assess customer sentiment using the integrated machine learning (ML) and to continuously improve service for future interactions. It has been a great coaching tool.

Flagship is considering expanding capabilities and integrating other systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM), with Amazon Connect. This would provide staff with a more complete picture of a tenant’s needs using ML and artificial intelligence (AI). “We’re still working through the stats because there is so much information,” says Langman. “Each area of the business was treating tenant information differently. Right now, we’re using the basic dashboard. After we get more automation in place, it will give us more.” 

In addition to providing a capable system and a more pleasant experience for users, migrating the contact center to Amazon Connect creates an opportunity to transform the tenant experience with AI and automation while keeping costs flat compared to the previous system. “This wasn’t how we’d planned to migrate, but it really speaks both to the quality of AWS and Digital Space that we had the contact center up and running at 100 percent in just 3 days,” says Langman. “There’s no doubt in my mind our next steps will be successful as well.”


About Flagship Group

Flagship Group owns more than 32,000 homes that house approximately 75,000 tenants across the East of England. The company employs more than 1,400 people and comprises housing, maintenance, and heating subsidiaries, along with its own homelessness charity. The company’s profit-for-a-purpose approach sees it build homes for sale, reinvesting any profit made where it’s needed most. It works together in partnership with other businesses, housing associations and local authorities to contribute to the communities in which it operates.

Benefits of AWS

  • Amazon Connect was live in 3 days for 65 agents taking 25,000 calls per week
  • Improved responsiveness to tenant calls with integrated voice and chat option
  • Integrated machine learning for coaching and identifying areas to improve the customer experience
 
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AWS Services Used

Amazon Connect

Provide superior customer service at a lower cost with an easy-to-use omnichannel cloud contact center.  With Amazon Connect, you can set up a contact center in minutes that can scale to support millions of customers.

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Amazon Comprehend

Derive and understand valuable insights from text within documents. Amazon Comprehend is a natural-language processing (NLP) service that uses machine learning to uncover valuable insights and connections in text.

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