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Intelligent network allows several call centres to work as one


Cable & Wireless, the global telecommunications group, today (22 November 2001) announced a five-year, multi-million pound strategic agreement with Alliance & Leicester. This agreement is a significant step in the financial services company's strategy to better understand its customers and their requirements and enhance customer service levels.

Cable & Wireless will integrate Alliance & Leicester's diverse inbound and outbound call centre operations into one 'virtual contact centre' and manage several third party call centre suppliers, so that the organisation benefits from a seamless, fully managed contact centre solution and utilises its agents' skills in the most effective way. The rollout phase will involve six of Alliance & Leicester's call centres.

Cable & Wireless will use its industry-leading Intelligent Network (IN) to link up Alliance & Leicester's call centres into one network-based or 'virtual' contact centre. The key elements of the solution will include Network IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and Network CTI (Computer Telephony Integration). These technologies will ensure that calls are routed to the agents with the most appropriate skills, regardless of which call centre they are located in.

"Cable & Wireless' expertise and quality of network will enable Alliance & Leicester to take advantage of an integrated technology service that will directly improve our business effectiveness, as well as customer service," said Chris Rhodes, director, Manufacturing & Operations, Alliance & Leicester. "Our strategy is to create a 'single view' of our customers across all communications channels, so that however and whenever we communicate with customers, we can provide the best service level. Cable & Wireless will be a key partner in these developments."

"Optimising contact centre services is a key element in any CRM strategy and critical for long term customer retention. This agreement, building on an existing call centre relationship spanning over 10 years with Alliance & Leicester, demonstrates that Cable & Wireless is the partner of choice for organisations looking to use innovative technology to optimise customer service," said Gareth James, senior vice president, Enterprise UK & Ireland, Cable & Wireless. "We have worked with Alliance & Leicester to develop a tailored solution and look forward to working together towards a full IP-enabled contact centre solution."

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About Cable & Wireless

Cable & Wireless is a major global telecommunications business with revenue of over #9 billion (US$13 billion) in the year to 31 March 2000 and customers in 70 countries. Cable & Wireless' focus for future growth is on IP (Internet protocol) and data services and solutions for business customers. It is developing advanced IP networks and value-added services in the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in support of this strategy. With the capability of its global IP infrastructure and its strength in key markets, Cable & Wireless holds a unique position in terms of global coverage and services to business customers.

For more information about Cable & Wireless, go to http://www.cw.com


About Alliance & Leicester

Alliance & Leicester is one of the UK's major financial services groups. It offers a broad range of financial services to personal, commercial and small business customers. Alliance & Leicester has been a member of the FTSE 100 index of leading shares since converting from its original mutual building society status in 1997.

For more information about Alliance & Leicester, go to http://www.alliance-leicester.co.uk



David Thain
Cable & Wireless
020 7315 2977
david.thain@cw.com


Sarah Richardson
Brodeur Worldwide
01753 790 700
srichardson@uk.brodeur.com
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