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Cable & Wireless helps Marks & Spencer Money expand and enhance customer service operations for largest ever credit card launch in Europe


Cable & Wireless, the global telecommunications group, today (6 October 2003) announced a three-year deal with Marks & Spencer Money to upgrade and expand its customer contact centre operations to support today’s launch of the new &more credit and loyalty card.

The new contact centre operations, accommodating 750 agents, will ensure that customers benefit from a fast and efficient customer service, including self- service options. Cable & Wireless has designed and rolled out the virtual contact centre (VCC) solution at Marks & Spencer Moneys existing contact centre in Chester and new centres in Preston and Mumbai, India.

The virtual contact centre is so named as sites operate seamlessly as a single, flexible customer service operation, ensuring that customer calls are routed with minimal waiting times to specifically skilled agent groups. It can do this because it is a network-based rather than site-specific solution.

Marks & Spencers &more combined credit and loyalty card allows customers to earn reward points for spending on the card both inside and outside of Marks & Spencer stores with points redeemed as vouchers that can be used in any of the company’s UK stores. We have an exciting and rewarding credit card offer that is underpinned with excellent customer services, said Eddie Nott, Chief Operating Officer, Marks & Spencer Money. Cable & Wireless was able to work with us to design and roll out our new contact centre against aggressive deadlines and we now have a resilient customer service operation capable of supporting the high demand we expect for our new card.

Using Cable & Wireless platform, Marks & Spencer Money is able to deliver high standards of both live and self-service customer care very cost-effectively, said Robin Morgan, managing director, Retail & Industry, Cable & Wireless. Our network-based solution provides the flexibility to operate multiple contact centres as a single entity and, crucially, makes it easy for Marks & Spencer to add new locations or agents in line with demand for its &more service.

Marks & Spencers new virtual contact centre has the following capabilities all aimed at delivering fast and efficient customer service, whilst reducing overall operational costs:

-Network computer telephony integration (NCTI) this identifies customers by their account and PIN details and provides agents with customer account information before the call is answered. This enables agents to respond quickly and accurately to customer queries;

-Skills-based routing - NCTI also routes customer calls, whilst still in the network, to the most appropriately skilled agent groups. This ensures that customers reach the specific agents who are trained to handle their type of query and that agents can better cross-sell financial services products;

-Network interactive voice response (NIVR) this allows customers to carry out straightforward transactions such as checking their balance, by self service, without needing to speak to an agent. Marks & Spencer Money aims to enable one third of callers to use the self - service options, thereby substantially reducing the cost of supporting basic customer
transaction’s and saving agent time for more complex queries;

-Scalable and resilient platform as Cable & Wireless VCC is based on the company’s UK-wide NCTI platform, the virtual contact centre can easily be scaled up to support new services or promotions at short notice.

Cable & Wireless professional services team worked collaboratively with Marks & Spencer to design, build, test and implement the contact centre solution against aggressive deadlines. Cable & Wireless will proactively monitor the contact centre network, services and equipment on an ongoing basis, as well as giving Marks & Spencers IT managers access to network management reports via their own systems.

The new virtual contact centre is the latest step in Marks & Spencer plc’s strategy to create a virtual and scalable business communications infrastructure. Cable & Wireless has already connected Marks & Spencer stores and data centres with an Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network with Quality of Service (IP-VPN QoS) and is providing secure hosting for the retailer’s e-business applications and website in tandem with Marks & Spencers own data centre.

- Ends -

Notes to editors
Previous announcements on Cable & Wireless_ work for Marks & Spencer are as follows:

Cable & Wireless Supports Marks & Spencers e-Business Evolution with Integrated Communications Platform
http://www.cw.com/media_events/media_centre/releases/2003/01...

Cable & Wireless and Marks & Spencer win Most Innovative European Network Project at Networking Industry Awards
http://www.cw.com/media_events/media_centre/releases/2003/07...

Marks & Spencer First in UK to Benefit from Cable & Wireless Company-Wide IP-VPN Network
http://www.cw.com/media_events/media_centre/releases/2001/03...


About Cable & Wireless
Cable & Wireless is one of the world's leading international communications companies. It provides voice, data and IP (Internet Protocol) services to business and residential customers, as well as services to other telecoms carriers, mobile operators and providers of content, applications and internet services.

Cable & Wireless' principal operations are in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, the United States, Japan, the Caribbean, Panama, the Middle East and Macau.

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

About Marks & Spencer
For background information, please visit http://www.marksandspencer.com/mediacentre.

For more information, please contact:

Tara Salgado
Cable & Wireless
Tel: +44 (0)20 7315 4184
Email: tara.salgado@cw.com
Henny Valder / Vicki Cook
Brodeur Worldwide (for Cable & Wireless)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7298 7075/7113
Email: hvalder@uk.brodeur.com / vcook@uk.brodeur.com

Louis Hill
Marks & Spencer Money
Tel: +44 (0)1244 686 669
Email: louis.hill@marks-and-spencer.com


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