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Japan Airlines

swcomms deploys a new data network and replacement voice solution to seamlessly relocate Japan Airlines to their EMEA headquarters in London.

Japan Airlines (JAL) is the largest airline operator in Japan flying to 220 destinations in 35 countries worldwide. Although the company is based in Tokyo, JAL’s European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) headquarters is based in London.

JAL was relocating its EMEA headquarters for a second time. They needed to ensure there would be no downtime during the transfer so decided to replace and update their voice and data infrastructure. swcomms had assisted the airline with their first relocation and we were selected, following a formal tender process, to assist with the most recent move. JAL needed a modern solution that could cope with the huge variety of languages used by their callers and route them to the most appropriate call handlers: if a customer rang the contact centre from France, for example, they would be routed to an agent that spoke native fluent French as well as Japanese. They also needed to identify their first, business and economy class customers.

Real-time monitoring of calls was required, as well as call recording for compliance, training and monitoring purposes. The contact centre would also be used for customers who wanted to check on the status of their Japan Airline Mileage Bank. Lastly, JAL wanted to protect themselves in the face of disaster or a security threat given their central location.

swcomms replaced JAL’s existing solution with a Mitel Connect for 120 users and Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) software for 50 agents. We installed and pre-tested the VoIP solution and trained their staff before JAL moved into their new European headquarters near Tower Bridge to ensure a worry-free transition with no downtime. A single point of contact answered any queries while also giving regular project updates. Ahead of the installation, we deployed a Cisco local area network (LAN), with a virtual LAN (vLAN) to provide the quality of service (QoS) needed for voice traffic, and PoE (power over ethernet) to reduce cabling requirements and to power the desktop handsets.

Robust and reliable modern VoIP telephone system & contact centre
The Mitel solution provided JAL with a robust and reliable modern VoIP telephone system, which offers a whole host of enhanced functionality. The Mitel allows callers to be idetntified depending on their flight class. This function also provides a queuing system that informs callers of their position in the queue and the expected call answer times so customers know their queries will be dealt with and how long they will need to wait. The contact centre software ensures calls are routed to the most relevant agent in terms of the customers’ language requirements. This multi-lingual system deals with incoming calls from 15 European countries in six languages: Japanese, English, Italian, German, French and Spanish. Customers never need to worry about making themselves understood to the Japan Airlines’ call handlers and in turn the call handlers know they will be dealing with customers who need their language skills, thus cutting out the need to forward callers to other agents and losing precious time that could be spent more productively.

Once calls are answered, agents can automatically view the details of the caller, such as booking history, VIP club member number, etc, care of bespoke screen popping functionality. This computer telephony integration (CTI) was developed by Mitel’s professional services to enable agents to view information stored on JAL’s central database in Tokyo. In addition, an interactive voice response (IVR) feature directs customers to the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank to find out how many airmiles they have in their accounts and enables them to spend them on flights and reward benefits. JAL can also choose to integrate email queries so they are given the same priority in the queuing system as a caller to create a fully operational multimedia contact centre. Until then, swcomms has implemented call back functionality to reduce the time callers spend waiting in a queue. Callers even can specify a time they wished to be called back to accommodate the busy diaries of executives. A wallboard gives full visibility of call activity so the call centre supervisors can assess agent efficiency on a real-time basis.

The ECC also provides full reporting tools so supervisors in both the London office and at headquarters in Tokyo can measure, monitor and make sure their excellent standards of customer care and KPIs are constantly being met and, where possible, exceeded. An interactive voice response (IVR) feature directs customers to the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank to find out how many airmiles they have in their accounts and enables them to spend them on flights and reward benefits.

PCI-compliant call recording
As a company that takes credit card payments over the phone, JAL has benefitted from a full Oaisys call recording solution to ensure they are PCI compliant. Recordings can also be used to resolve disputes with customers and for staff training too. Agents can listen to their own call responses or those of their fellow colleagues for ‘real-life’ examples In addition, we used specific software to allow for the differences in European call recording legislation. Some countries give callers the option to have their calls recorded while do not allow calls to be records unless requested.

Staff mobility has been accommodated with hot desking functionality whereby JAL’s users can dial into any handset using a PIN to access all the features of their extension. This is particularly useful for a business that is open 365 days a year and some desks will inevitably shared.

Disaster recovery and business continuity was provided by a fully-equipped secondary site based at Heathrow Airport. Linked to JAL’s new headquarters via a point to point dedicated leased line, this secondary site is primed to seamlessly take over JAL’s call handling operation in the event of a disaster or security threat. Staff will simply travel to Heathrow rather than central London.

Ongoing support continues to be provided through the expertise of swcomms’ highly skilled service desk staff, who take full responsibility for any problems that should arise. This provides JAL with the reassurance of a single point of contact for all maintenance issues, which can often be solved remotely, with many faults cleared within just one hour. The service desk can also call upon our team of 40 field engineers.

Warabe Tatekoji, technical manager, said: “The project has been an amazing journey in many ways and has taught me a lot about what goes into a complex project such as this one. swcomms has been very efficient from the start of the project and continues to provide a high quality service for Japan Airlines.”

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