Credit union overhauls customer service with new UC platform


Not-for-profit savings and loan cooperative South Yorkshire Credit Union (SYCU) has overhauled its customer service operations with the help of Unify’s OpenScape Business platform, according to a joint statement.

The move has allowed SYCU to centralise all telephony across its ten branches and enabled some new ways of working, both internally and with customers.

SYCU provides affordable loans and financial services, including budgeting assistance and debt advice, to 25,000 members across Yorkshire. An increasing number of calls per day persuaded SYCU that it needed a more flexible and efficient unified communications platform to replace its legacy ISDN-based systems.

Unify’s OpenScape Business is delivered to SYCU sites via a virtualised PBX, hosted in an Onyx Data Centre with MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) technology, which directs data across networks using short path labels instead of complex network addresses.

Together, these deliver voice and conference services, voicemail, messaging, mobility, a multimedia contact centre, and presence functionality. The system also gives SYCU the ability to modify call routing remotely and allocate resources – leading to improved teamwork and better customer service, says the cooperative.

Prior to the new installation, if a customer wanted their call forwarded to a specific member of staff or branch, the SYCU operator would often have no choice but to give them a direct dial number, as there was no easy way of forwarding calls to different locations. With an expanding customer base and increased customer service expectations, this was no longer acceptable.

Tom Shackleton, Finance Supervisor at South Yorkshire Credit Union said: “As South Yorkshire Credit Union grows, we’re constantly looking for the smartest ways to use our resources. With an auto-attendant and proper call routing in place, calls can now be transferred to anyone in our 50-strong organisation quickly and easily.

“Also, we have more knowledge than before with regard to who is contacting us at any given time. Prior to implementation, we had no way of predicting or forecasting trends in call volumes, so we weren’t necessarily staffing our contact centre in the best possible way.”
Feedback from SYCU employees has been positive, says the cooperative, with a five- minute orientation session being all that was required to get staff up to speed on the new system, it says.

About Author

Chris Middleton

Chris Middleton is a widely respected business and technology journalist, author, and magazine editor. In recent years he has been Editor of Computing (where he remains Consulting Editor); co-founder and Managing Editor of Professional Outsourcing – a magazine he developed from scratch and grew to be the leading magazine in its field; Editor of CBR in its most successful year; and co-founder and launch Editor of Today, he is co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, and founder, designer, and Editor in Chief of Strategist magazine (UK), the boardroom magazine that provides strategic insight for business leaders, and of its mobile-first digital edition at He is also co-founding Editor of Child Internet Safety magazine, and a contributing Editor of Over the years Chris has also written for, among many others, The Guardian, The Times, the BBC, and Computer Weekly. He is the author of several successful books on digital media, and a commissioning editor of more than 50 books.