Park Group plc – Press release

Park Group offers Christmas Savings Club agents 24-hour access to account information and self-service payment facility using Encoded.

UK’s leading multi-retailer voucher and prepaid gift card business deploys automated technology to enhance overall client experience and reduce costs.

Park Group plc, the UK’s leading multi-retailer voucher and prepaid gift card business, has deployed interactive voice response (IVR) and automated payment technology from Encoded to offer agents for the company’s successful Christmas Savings Club a 24-hour self-service payment facility. Since implementing Encoded, Park Group has reduced the number of calls into the call centre requiring agent assistance, lowering the high costs associated with manually processing debit and credit card transactions.

Park Group’s busy call centre is open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. The operation focuses primarily on managing the company’s prosperous Christmas Savings Club and the recently launched flexecash® which is a platform for managing the business’s pre-paid gift card option; an alternative to paper vouchers. The number of staff and call volumes fluctuate from 29 contact centre agents handling 1,000 calls per day in the quiet season to 41 full-time equivalents handling approximately 5,000 calls per day in the run up to Christmas.

Handling wildly fluctuating call volumes in a seasonal business and managing the growing number of payments by credit card and debit card drove Park Group to invest in new IVR and automated payment technology that could enable clients to process their payments quickly and efficiently and give contact centre agents more time to devote to more complex customer care issues.

After evaluating three different suppliers, Park Group selected Encoded primarily for its flexibility and ease of use. June Potts, Head of Customer Contact at Park Group, commented, “Along with the simplicity and highly configurable nature of Encoded’s solution, we were impressed by their professional, can-do attitude backed up by excellent support. We were confident they had the drive and commitment to work with us, offering a truly scalable solution that could grow with our business. In particular, we trusted Encoded to support new ventures such as flexecash® which has already been adopted by a number of high street retailers.”

Christmas Savings agents use Encoded to make payments and check account balances via self-service which has led to faster and better service without taking away the appeal of old-fashioned personal attention and customer care. If an agent prefers to speak to someone over the telephone, they still can.

Since deploying Encoded, Park Group has noticed a series of benefits. The introduction of automated payment functionality has driven down the number of calls into the call centre and lowered the high costs associated with manually processing card payments. Furthermore, Park Group has millions of flexecash® cards in circulation yet the sophisticated self-service technology offered by Encoded means only three members of staff are required to administer them. Clients simply activate their card, obtain a balance and set up text services themselves.

June Potts added, “Encoded is a dream to work with. They are efficient, reliable and totally professional with a highly flexible technology to match. Always open to new ideas, they truly listen to what we want and go the extra mile to help us achieve it. That’s what makes them different and sets them apart from the competition.”

Encoded will also support the increased call traffic that Park Group anticipates from the company’s expansion into the Republic of Ireland and the ongoing launch of new services across that region.

Rob Crutchington, Director of Encoded concluded, “Innovative companies like Park Group know that excellent service coupled with clever technology is critical to the success of their business. Our technology is flexible enough to accommodate today’s fast-moving commercial environment and delivers big business benefits in terms of cost and productivity. We look forward to supporting Park Group in its journey to continued prosperity in the UK and beyond.”

About Park Group plc

Park Group plc is one of the country’s largest multi-retailer voucher and prepaid gift card businesses, focused on the corporate gift and Christmas savings markets. It operates through an extensive network of agents and increasingly, the Internet.

The Park Christmas Savings Club has become the leading Christmas savings organisation in the UK and Ireland, helping thousands of families budget for the festive season. Customers pay small regular amounts throughout the year and receive their choice of vouchers, prepaid cards, gifts and hampers from some of the most popular and well-known high street brands in return.

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About Encoded

Encoded is a leading provider of interactive voice response solutions and call centre performance improvements products. All the company’s services are designed to fulfil three key objectives:

  • Reduce costs by automating business processes
  • Increase sales by offering new fulfilment channels
  • Improve customer service by maximising resource efficiency

Encoded was established in 2001 to offer affordable, pay-as-you-go solutions to the growing telecommunications requirements of small and large businesses. Today, the company’s “River” software regularly supports 30 million customers and 10 million calls globally and automates £60 million of secure payments without operator intervention.