About WaterAid UK
WaterAid is a federated organisation that provides sanitation services for people living in areas of extreme poverty. Around the world, 785 million people live without access to clean water, while a further 2 billion don’t have a decent toilet of their own. With country programmes in some of the world’s most remote places, WaterAid exists to address these issues.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, WaterAid had moved most of their technology over to cloud-based solutions and were reaping the benefits of minimal upfront costs, remote access, greater agility, and low-hassle maintenance.
When WaterAid moved its offices from Vauxhall to Canary Wharf, it meant the international NGO for water, sanitation, and hygiene, wanted to migrate its IT services to a datacentre - removing any legacy on-premise equipment.
As part of this improvement, WaterAid wanted to migrate from a traditional on-premise phone system to a cloud-based UC platform that would afford them greater flexibility. Microsoft Teams was an obvious candidate but would only be a viable option if calls could be recorded without capturing sensitive card payment data.
Its phone system was one of the final pieces of the puzzle - a Mitel platform they had been using for years that no longer delivered the flexibility they wanted.
Like most UK businesses, the need for a unified communications platform became urgent when the country entered lockdown in spring 2020. It was crucial that staff could collaborate as effectively from home as in the office. It was also imperative that the Supporter Care Line team, who handled a huge number of enquiries and donations, could answer calls promptly and professionally without having to reroute them.
One of the reasons that we selected Focus was because of an experience working on another project with them. We’ve always found them to be knowledgeable with great problem-solving skills.
Gary Hodgson, IT Project Manager
Gary Hodgson, IT Product Manager at WaterAid, is one of the team who turned to Focus Group for a solution.
“Microsoft Teams was an obvious choice for us. We had successfully been using it for several months as an in-house collaboration tool. But in order to make the decisive move away from our legacy phone system, it needed to meet certain criteria. One of these was PCI compliance.
We record calls for quality purposes, but we also take a large number of donations over the phone. To comply with PCI regulations, we needed a solution that could detect when a payment was being entered onscreen and automatically pause the recording until the transaction was complete. It was really a decisive factor in our choice of UC platform, but at the time there were few vendors who could deliver.
We turned to Focus Group because they’d already delivered on a previous project with us. Dan Ellis, Head of Sales, at Focus Group got in touch with Chloe Emm at Oak Innovation - a long-term partner of Focus Group who were bringing out a recording solution for Teams. They worked together to fast-track the pause/resume functionality in Clarify so we could have the solution we really wanted.
From then on in, the training and support from both Focus Group and Oak Innovation was excellence and comprehensive. Nigel at Focus Group was particularly great at helping us to scope out what we could do with the new system.”
“Having Teams with Clarify recording has helped us work together better as an organisation and deliver a secure and streamlined service to customers, despite the turbulent year we’ve just had. It stands us in good stead whatever the future holds, whether staff are in the office or working remotely.
One of the features our Support Care team like best is how easy it is to call people call back by copying and pasting referral lists. Using voicemails as emails, which are easier to share and store, also saves time. We’ve actually reduced the length of time people are waiting and the number of call backs because it’s so much easier to receive and transfer calls to other departments within Teams.”
“Clarify is much easier to use than the previous call monitoring system and we love the ability to listen into calls and view call volumes immediately and easily.”
“One of the reasons that we selected Focus Group was because of an experience working on another project with them. We’ve always found them to be knowledgeable with great problem-solving skills.”
Gary Hodgson, IT Project Manager