Optus call centre VoIP 'testbed'

Optus' new AU$8 million, 250-seat call centre in Flinders Street, Melbourne, marks the company's first use of VoIP technology in such settings.-This is our first testbed," said director of customer service Mark Davidson.

Optus' new AU$8 million, 250-seat call centre in Flinders Street, Melbourne, marks the company's first use of VoIP technology in such settings.

-This is our first testbed," said director of customer service Mark Davidson. The VoIP system is currently undergoing final testing, and will go live in two weeks when the majority of the staff move into the centre.

Chief operating officer Paul O'Sullivan said the new facility demonstrates Optus' commitment to superior customer service using the latest technology.

The centre will handle customer service for Optus' consumer and multimedia operations, including pay tv, fixed telephony, second-tier Internet support, customer retention and collections. It will also house the web enablement unit (which manages the 450 web sites and databases used by agents), the program office (which is responsible for business processes and workflow, including those needed to support the introduction of consumer DSL products which will be managed from Flinders Street), and a 40-person learning and development unit.

Eighty percent of Optus' phone customers will be served by the new centre.

The company already has over 750 call centre staff in the Melbourne area, including 450 at the regional centre in Collins Street, 300 in South Melbourne and a small number in suburban Preston. While 120 staff will move from South Melbourne (which will then focus on telephony), the new Flinders Street centre will result in 250 new jobs.

-We've had such success with our Victorian operations," said Davidson. Melbourne call centre agents stay longer with the company than their Sydney counterparts, and there are plenty of people with the right skill set, he explained.

-We as a government are very proud of the skill sets we [Victoria] have to offer," said Marsha Thomson, Minister for Information and Communication Technology. -One third of these jobs will be technical positions, requiring staff to undertake intensive training. So not only will we have more jobs, but we'll have more skilled Victorians."

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