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DIRECTV Delivers Improved Customer Service to Record Numbers ofSubscribers with New Avaya IP Contact Centers

04-11-2005

Avaya announced that DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading and fastest-growing digital television service provider, has implemented Avaya MultiVantage Communications Applications in two new customer service centers.

Avaya Inc. (NYSE:AV), a leading global provider of business communications software, systems and services, today announced that DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading and fastest-growing digital television service provider, has implemented Avaya MultiVantage ® Communications Applications in two new customer service centers. DIRECTV added a record 4.2 million gross new subscribers in the U.S. in 2004, and its ability to provide improved customer service was helped by Avaya IP telephony and contact center solutions.

In a year of transition under a new corporate structure, DIRECTV embarked on a strategic initiative to substantially increase its subscriber base and bring a large part of its customer service operations in-house. The company selected Avaya to provide the professional services and communications solutions with the operational performance required to reach its goals.

"DIRECTV's greatest opportunity for personal interaction with our customers is through our contact centers," said Bob Pacek, executive vice president and CIO. "It's important to us that service is always efficient, available and informed. Avaya knows contact centers better than anyone in the industry, and we knew they'd enable us to provide the top quality experience our customers expect."

Avaya Global Services Business Consulting Practice helped DIRECTV map out a contact center architecture strategy based on comprehensive, core automatic call distribution (ACD). This means that calls from any subscriber located in the U.S. initially go to a centralized contact center "clearing house". From there, based on the subscriber information automatically accessed when the call comes in, ACD whisks the call to a customer service agent skilled to handle the request or familiar with the subscriber's account.

Since time and skill are important factors in providing efficient, effective customer service - and not the geographic location of the agent - DIRECTV uses IP telephony to override expenses for routing calls over the public network and instead, uses the local data network to do so. This helps the company achieve its goal of providing top-notch customer service with a fast return on investment and a low total cost of ownership.

"DIRECTV has made dramatic changes over the past year to revitalize our business in a changing industry," said Frank Palase, vice president of architecture. "Among these initiatives, the "extreme makeover" of our customer service operations with Avaya's support is already showing signs of success."

Operating several contact center sites using centralized call routing offers additional benefits. For business continuity, multi-site contact centers can re-balance call volume without missing a beat if one center's facility or network experiences a negative event. The Avaya Media Servers and Media Gateways in place at DIRECTV offer industry-leading reliability and security through redundancy - or mirroring of capabilities and information. Local survivability allows single sites to remain fully operational if the network goes down.

Authorized staff members can enter and access customer information and contact center activity records from any point on the DIRECTV compass, helping to ensure that data is always up-to-date. Managers can quickly adjust agent skill groups and call routing to meet the requirements and volume of incoming calls. In addition to real-time management capabilities, the Avaya software also provides historical reports that facilitate more strategic planning for customer services.

With Avaya IP telephones, DIRECTV contact center managers can easily re-map seating arrangements inside the contact centers to support different programs without re-administering each phone. Agents simply unplug the phone from their office jacks and plug back into the one in their new office.

About Avaya
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500 ®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications - and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services - Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com

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