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Diary 2 - The phone system is in – and the agents like it

David Elton

The Guardian

10 March 2009

In the second entry in his project diary, PA Consulting Group's David Elton reveals how installing Cisco technology has already made an impact on Black Tomato's business - and he reckons there's a lot more to come


At the beginning of 2009, The Guardian newspaper teamed up with PA and Cisco in a three-month experiment to introduce IT-enabled change to a small young business - the award-winning UK-based travel company Black Tomato. Below is the second update from this experiment, with a second Blog from PA's David Elton, who is representing PA in this initiative.

The second blog

Tom [a Black Tomato co-founder] bounds over to say "hi" and hopes my meeting with Ben and Claire, who are leading the project at Black Tomato, goes well.

The phone system is in and the agents like it - the equipment has a cool look and feel, sound quality is great and voicemail is easy to use. It is also making an impact in the office. Less shouting and hollering, with the improved ability to move calls round the team.

So what's next? Ben and Claire want to do some simple things. Like conferencing, alternative day- and night-time responses, links to promos, hunt groups. It's all possible. It's just that they don't know it yet.

The 'gooey' (or is that GUI?) should help them work things out for themselves, but at this early stage they're not aware of the system's full potential. A spot of training will do the trick – and that's already in the diary. I'm sure when I next visit they'll be expert users.

There's also Webex, which has just been installed. There are high hopes here that this will replace rather cold customer email exchanges with a much richer experience.

We talk about next steps. My advice? Step on the gas a bit. There is lots of potential in the Cisco technology and lots of aspiration in Black Tomato. We need to put the two together over the next couple of weeks. This project should be much more than a technology refresh, but it won't happen on its own.


More on this:

The Guardian - Diary 3 - Black Tomato is optimistic, 17 April 2009

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