This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
Founded in 1877, St John Ambulance is a charity led by a team of highly trained volunteers that helps people during medical incidents and emergencies at events across the UK. The organisation also supports the UK’s National Health Service by responding to some 999 calls, as well as transporting patients safely. Every year, volunteers also teach life-saving skills to around 500,000 people through first aid training in schools, workplaces and the wider community.
Each week, the customer service department at St John Ambulance receives around 5,000 incoming e-mails from customers – including requests for information, bookings for first aid and workplace safety courses, and orders for the replenishment of first aid supplies. Traditionally, these e-mails were manually routed to the appropriate teams or individuals within the 60-strong customer service team, but this was time consuming.
“Basically, we were ‘eyeballing’ every single incoming e-mail and manually forwarding it to the right person,” says Simon Wyatt, St John Ambulance project manager. “There had to be a better way.”
As an organisation, St John Ambulance had tended to standardise on the Microsoft technology stack, so it asked Microsoft for recommendations regarding prospective partners who could help in identifying and implementing an appropriate solution.
“We’d already reached the conclusion that it was likely that we were talking about a solution in the shape of customer relationship management (CRM) system and that a likely outcome might be Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” Wyatt explains. “The challenge lay in constructing and configuring a system that would maximise the benefits that we could extract from the investment.”
Seven prospective partners responded to St John Ambulance’s initial request, but after careful evaluation, the organisation chose a Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM solution implemented and configured by eBECS, a DXC Technology company.
“We liked the thoroughness and accuracy of eBECS’ responses, we were impressed by the calibre and responsiveness of the eBECS individuals who we met, and we were reassured and impressed by their ability to describe to us how Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM would work with the rest of our IT infrastructure,” comments Wyatt. “On the attributes that we were looking at, eBECS scored consistently highly.”
The project began with a discovery and planning workshop, where the eBECS team worked with St John Ambulance stakeholders to flesh out a detailed specification and then construct an implementation timetable.
“As an implementation approach, we found this two-stage process to be incredibly useful,” says Wyatt. “Not only did it serve as a confidence-building exercise, but it also resulted in the delivery of a detailed specification that nailed down the scope and cost of the project. We could see, demonstrated for us, a rough solution that would give us an idea of the ‘look and feel’ of the end solution, and at the same time, we knew exactly what it would cost to put it in place.”
eBECS designed the simple and robust solution to deliver solid functionality from out-of-the-box Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM capabilities. This minimised risk and costs, while still delivering a highly accessible system that would have a significant impact on the organisation.
Since the system went live in June 2018, users have reaped the benefits.
“Obviously, we’re saving a lot of time by not having to sort and allocate all our incoming e-mails,” says Wyatt. “But there’s also more control because all our customer contacts are in one place, rather than in different inboxes, and it’s possible to quickly see the status of a case at a glance. Consequently, there’s better case ownership and it’s possible to readily identify who has ‘touched’ a case and what they have done. There’s a lot more accountability.”
Reporting has also been transformed, with real-time reports and dashboards providing instant insight into service levels, case loads and response times.
“The benefits couldn’t be clearer – much higher efficiencies, better control and a transformed customer experience,” concludes Wyatt.
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