Behavior is like a fingerprint.

Virgin Media Optimizes Field Workforce While Boosting
Customer Satisfaction with ETAdirect

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 1,500 field engineers. In May 2009, Virgin Media selected TOA Technologies’ ETAdirect to manage field engineers responsible for home repairs and installations.

What business problem did Virgin Media want to solve?

For years, Virgin Media has emphasized a customer-centric approach, taking pride in its customer satisfaction and loyalty ratings. In fact, it became one of the first companies to adopt the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures the likelihood of customers’ recommending the organization to friends. NPS serves both as a loyalty metric and as a discipline for using customer feedback to fuel profitable growth.

As part of its ongoing focus on the consumer, Virgin Media sought to improve field force management, particularly the accuracy of scheduling engineer visits and the efficiency of routing and other back-office tasks. The company required a solution that would 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 customers’ homes.

Consistent with its customer-centric approach, however, Virgin Media required a system that would not only optimize installers’ workdays, but also enhance customers’ experience. Specifically, the company aimed to:

  • Narrow customer service windows – the block of time during which consumers had to wait for a field engineer to arrive at their homes.
  • Deliver “what the customers wanted, when they wanted it” – in other words, give consumers a choice of time slots most convenient for them.
  • Empower field engineers to focus on the customer, not on managing daily workflow.

Why did Virgin Media choose TOA Technologies’ ETAdirect?

ETAdirect supported Virgin Media’s goal to lead the market in customer satisfaction. Plus, TOA’s SaaS solution was flexible and scalable for future business needs. TOA Technologies demonstrated its ability to deliver the project on time and with the full scope.

ETAdirect learns performance patterns, overlaying skill set, job history and customer proximity to accurately predict the amount of time each engineer will take to complete an appointment. Its unique, predictive statistical engine personalizes each field engineer’s schedule accordingly, positing 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.

What are the results?

In just six months, TOA completed a very 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 have clearly delivered,” says Paul Buttery, Virgin Media’s chief customer and networks officer.

Soon after the solution went live, Virgin Media realized results in key service, productivity and expense metrics. Besides substantially reducing office resources, ETAdirect has delivered:

  • 15 percent decrease in travel time per job
  • 15 percent increase in appointments completed per day
  • 96-98 percent on-time performance
  • 18 percent increase in NPS six months after project go-live

Maurice Daw, Virgin Media’s executive director – access, says, “We have 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.”

In addition to enhanced productivity and improved customer satisfaction, Virgin Media has also learned more about the way each engineer operates. ETAdirect allows dispatch to build schedules that match engineer skills and appointment requirements, more accurately reflecting the time individual engineers take to complete tasks. These capabilities have increased employee satisfaction and given the company’s leadership team powerful insights about their field engineers. 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.”

Dispatchers can now compile field workforce schedules in minutes every morning, rather than hours. They can 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. By seeing the estimated arrival time for each field engineer as the day goes on, the operations center can modify schedules in real-time to accommodate changing conditions.

Thanks to TOA’s unmatched average uptime of 99.996 percent, Virgin Media has used ETAdirect for nearly four years without a single outage. Looking ahead, Virgin Media will move 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.