Openreach is a wholesale telecoms business providing engineering services to more than 650 communications providers, which sell the phone, broadband, and Ethernet services to UK homes and businesses. Openreach wanted to improve the customer experience by ensuring that jobs (e.g., telephony installations and repairs) were completed successfully the first time, every time, and on time. This was easier said than done because Openreach’s engineers needed to diagnose and fix a wide range of connectivity issues.
To provide the best possible service, Openreach had to move beyond its traditional engineering mindset and put customers at the heart of its business.
Openreach Limited is a company wholly owned by BT plc, that maintains the telephone cables, ducts, cabinets, and exchanges that connect nearly all homes and businesses in the United Kingdom to the national broadband and telephone network. It was established in 2006 following an agreement between BT and the UK's telecoms regulator, Ofcom, to implement certain undertakings, pursuant to the Enterprise Act 2002, to ensure that rival telecom operators have equality of access to BT's local network.
Openreach manages BT's local access network which connects customers to their local telephone exchange, starting at the main distribution frame (MDF) in the exchange and ending at the network termination point (NTP) at the end user's premises. Openreach also manages the connections between the MDF and the BT Wholesale/local-loop unbundling (LLU) termination points located in the exchange, often referred to as jumper connections.
In March 2017, after various negotiations with, and demands from, Ofcom, BT plc agreed to divest Openreach's staff and non-network assets into a legally separate company, Openreach Limited. However, the network assets would still be owned by BT plc to ensure the longevity of leases and covenants, and Openreach Limited would still be wholly owned by BT plc's parent holding company, BT Group plc.
When tech meets human ingenuity
Openreach partnered with Accenture to consolidate data from multiple systems and gain a single view of each customer. We also spent 100 days working in Openreach’s customer contact centers and accompanying engineers. This revealed why some customers weren’t getting their jobs completed the first time.
Openreach transformed its process to revolve around customer outcomes. It’s now using analytics to send engineers with the right skills, tools, and parts to complete each task the first time.
Openreach is also harnessing data to proactively improve its network. And its new proactive customer care unit helps identify and resolve potential issues before they affect customers.
A valuable difference
The results have been superb. More customers are happy because more jobs are completed the first time and on time. And as the new proactive customer care unit catches and addresses many issues before they impact consumers, complaint volumes have fallen. Overall, getting more customers into service the first time has reduced costs.
Openreach is using its new skills and tools to drive improvements in other parts of its business. For starters, greater operational efficiency will help Openreach bring fiber-optic broadband to 25 million homes by 2026, to help ensure that everyone in the UK is connected.
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