Created as a non-profit extension of Britain’s world-renowned University of Cambridge, Cambridge Assessment provides education-related services to over 8 million learners in more than 170 countries every year.
The organization conducts extensive research into education and learning disciplines, with a primary focus on ensuring that assessments, involving the creation and marking of examinations, support high-quality learning and accurately reflect each individual’s knowledge and understanding.
Supporting Thousands of Exam Centers and Examiners
A key component of Cambridge Assessment’s operational model is providing centralized support for its global network of 2,800 exam centers. The organization’s help desk delivers round-the-clock assistance to over 30,000 examiners spread across the world.
Core elements of Cambridge Assessment’s value proposition include the discipline of its examiners and the highly controlled environment in which examinations are conducted. Ensuring stringently synchronized start and finish times for exams across international boundaries under closely matched conditions guarantees fairness and objectivity in measuring each candidate’s knowledge.
The secure delivery of test materials and the global coordination of millions of individual examinations requires a substantial support infrastructure, with an ability to instantly respond to myriad questions, issues, and unexpected emergencies that perpetually arise.
8x8 Gets Top Marks
To facilitate the consistent availability of 24/7 support across its global infrastructure, Cambridge Assessment English—the department tasked with the research and delivery of English-language-related materials, and the organization’s largest individual business segment—selected the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center. Terry Collins, assistant manager to the help desk at Cambridge Assessment, recalled, “We did a lot of research and 8x8 was the obvious choice.”
The help desk team has seen a huge positive shift in the way it works thanks to the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center.
The 8x8 cloud-based contact center solution unifies communications across the company’s entire global infrastructure, making it easy to provide exam centers and examiners dependable support and a consistent experience irrespective of location or time zone.
Implementation was extremely straightforward, taking only a few minutes to cutover to the new 8x8 Virtual Contact Center and executed without any operational interruptions. The impact was instant and exciting: “From ‘day one’ 8x8 has enabled us to offer a seamless, high-quality service to our customers,” stated Collins.
Delivering Peak Performance
Shortly after the system went live, the ability of 8x8 Virtual Contact Center to maximize the effectiveness of Cambridge Assessment’s help desk staff was definitively proven during a high-profile sporting event taking place in the city center. “Cambridge was picked as the starting point of the world-famous Tour de France bicycle race,” Collins recounted. “The influx of tens of thousands of spectators brought the whole city to a standstill and the majority of my staff couldn’t physically get into the office. Being able to easily access the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center capabilities from anywhere that had an internet connection enabled team members to continue working without any interruption to our services.”
Prior to deploying 8x8, in order to support weekend and holiday coverage, the help desk team would set up an ad-hoc series of forwarded mobile phones. This resulted in a disproportionately large number of calls being routed to the unfortunate member of staff located at the beginning of the chain. This approach is now totally unnecessary: With 8x8 Virtual Contact Center’s ability to quickly create a dynamic queue, on-call agents log in remotely and designate the most convenient phone number for them for that session, and toggle their status to ‘on’ when they are available. Managers and supervisors are able to monitor call volumes and optimize call routing in real time to ensure that issues are always expediently handled.
Ben Saxon, application support manager at Cambridge Assessment, confirmed “The help desk team has seen a huge positive shift in the way it works thanks to the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center. It’s not only easier to manage calls from home but we can now spread the workload more simply and fairly between all staff members.”
Switching our customer service to the cloud-based 8x8 platform has transformed the way our business operates. —Terry Collins, assistant manager on the help desk, Cambridge Assessment
In addition to handling calls from examiners and examination center staff, the help desk is offered as a channel for students wanting to register for tests by speaking to an agent. 8x8 provides the flexibility to quickly adapt welcome messages, as well as make changes to call menus and phone scripts to ensure customers always get the highest levels of service.
8x8 has further contributed to the efficiency of the help desk team with the provision of a rich suite of metrics and call capture capabilities. Saxon explained, “With the call recording features, we’re able to use actual conversations to train staff and to monitor the quality of the customer experience that we’re delivering. Having the right tools at our fingertips gives us the ability to consistently offer the best service to our clients from any location, whenever they need it.”
Transforming How People Work Together
The 8x8 solution is providing the Cambridge Assessment help desk team with the ability to communicate and collaborate in a way that was never previously possible. Data obtained from Virtual Contact Center facilitates the continual tuning and enhancement of the customer experience being delivered to personnel in exam centers around the world.
Collins concluded, “Switching our customer service to the cloud-based 8x8 platform has transformed the way our business operates.”