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Virgin Media Optimizes Field Workforce While Boosting Customer Satisfaction with TOA’s Software Solution

About Virgin MediaThe Company

As the UK’s largest residential broadband provider and the second-largest home phone and pay television provider, Virgin Media serves nearly 5 million customers with 1,600 field engineers. In May 2009, Virgin Media selected TOA Technologies’ ETAdirect to manage field engineers responsible for home repairs and installations.

The Challenge

Virgin Media takes extraordinary pride in its customer satisfaction and loyalty ratings. However, when NTL and Telewest became Virgin Media in 2007, the company’s reputation for customer service was not so good, says Maurice Daw, executive director, Access. And they did scheduling and routing manually, with a ratio of one dispatcher to 10 engineers.

“Before we implemented our mobile workforce solution we were very manual, we routed our engineers with bits of paper,” says Daw. “We didn’t really turn up on time very much, and we weren’t very efficient.”

The Search for a Solution

Four factors were critical in the company’s search for a mobile workforce management solution that would improve customer experience while optimizing its workforce. Virgin Media looked to:

  1. Improve its accuracy in scheduling engineer visits to customer homes, routing efficiency and other back-office tasks.
  2. Support a variety of workflows, such as installing and servicing equipment for customers as well as operating and maintaining the network from central facilities to customer homes.
  3. Narrow customer service windows and give consumers a choice of time slots most convenient for them.
  4. Empower field engineers to focus on the customer, not on managing their daily workflow. “Our field engineers are the face of Virgin Media,” says Daw.” They need to be efficient, friendly, and get to the customer quickly and fix the fault the first time.”

Why Virgin Media Chose TOA

Virgin Media chose TOA Technologies’ software ETAdirect because it supported Virgin’s goal to lead the market in customer satisfaction, was cloud-based and its SaaS (Software as a Service) solution is flexible and scalable for future business.

And TOA delivered 100 percent functionality of the project — on time.

“The predictive ability of TOA’s software is very important,” says Daw. “It improves our capacity to forecast and plan and reduce our costs.”

ETAdirect’s unique, predictive statistical engine personalizes each engineer’s schedule accordingly, posting precise, dependable arrival times throughout the day. TOA’s solution combines this predictive view of the field with the fastest scheduling engine on the market.

With Virgin Media learning more about the way each of its engineers operates, dispatchers can build schedules that match engineer skills and appointment requirements, more accurately reflecting the time individual engineers take to complete tasks.

Implementation in Record Time

In just six months, TOA completed a complicated installation that included merging multiple instances of the billing system into a single view and fully integrating ETAdirect with an existing mobility solution.

“We challenged TOA to integrate into our complex IT architecture and deploy across our large user base in record time, and they clearly delivered,” says Paul Buttery, Virgin Media’s chief customer and networks officer.

Results of the Virgin Media / TOA Partnership

Maurice Daw says Virgin Media introduced TOA’s ETAdirect with “tremendous” results.

“We’ve gotten much better productivity, our travel times have been reduced and we have more time to spend with our customers,” he says.

Virgin Media’s operation center can now:

  • Compile field workforce schedules in minutes every morning, rather than hours
  • Watch every route in real-time on a monitor at the corporate office, tracking every engineer on the road throughout the day to check his or her progress
  • Modify schedules in real-time to accommodate changing conditions by seeing the estimated arrival time for each field engineer as the day goes on

These capabilities have increased employee satisfaction and given the company’s leadership team powerful insights about their field engineers.

Paul Buttery says, “The TOA solution helps us to continue improving our customers’ experience and gives us the scope to improve the working day of our technicians by giving them tighter routes with less travel time.”

Thanks to TOA’s unmatched average uptime of 99.997 percent, Virgin Media has used ETAdirect without a single outage since implementation.

And now, Virgin Media is moving ahead to further narrow its wait window and improve its pre- and post-appointment customer communication, while continuing to improve customer satisfaction ratings and its Net Promoter Score (NPS).