The Sun International Group operates a diverse portfolio of hospitality and gaming assets, including world-class five star hotels, premier resorts and modern casinos in prime locations.
As an extension of its diverse gaming and casino offering, the group also operates SunBet Sports Betting, a premier online betting platform that offers various online betting options, including sports betting, fixed odds lucky numbers draws and live dealer games, combined with competitive odds and other innovative features.
The Sun International contact centre is a focal point for the operation. The contact centre operation handles reservations for the group through the Sun Touch Customer Contact Centre and a dedicated Sun City Resort reservations department, as well as Vacation Club and Sun International’s loyalty programme, Sun MVG, and customer support for SunBet.
The contact centre serves as a primary point of customer contact and engagement across these divisions and is central to delivering the authentic personalised service for which the brand has become synonymous.
“As customer engagement preferences have evolved over time, our contact centre capabilities have needed to adapt to keep meeting these changing demands and requirements,” explains Graham Wood, Chief Operations Officer: Hospitality at Sun International Holdings.
The Sun International Group initially utilised a competitor platform but chose to implement an Interactive Intelligence solution to meet its evolving contact centre requirements. Then, following the acquisition of Interactive Intelligence by Genesys, the Sun International Group used the opportunity to upgrade to a system that fit into the company’s internal business processes.
The group included Pivotal Data, a Genesys Gold partner, as its preferred solution implementor. Based on the functionality offered at the time, Sun International opted to implement an on-premise Genesys PureConnect solution when the company consolidated the contact centre operation back to the Sun International head office.
The migration began in July and the 14-user solution successfully went live in mid-October. This transition included a three-week freeze period and required a major focus on internal change management.
However, as customer engagement preferences continued to evolve, the company required better integration with web and social media channels, particularly to cater to the online betting market.
“We had previously considered the Genesys Cloud solution but the functionality and solution capabilities at the time did not meet our specific requirements,” explains Wood.
However, the Pivotal Data team continually kept Sun International informed about developments within the Genesys Cloud solution and when Pivotal Data determined that the time was right to migrate, the team demoed the solution in 2020.
“Based on the presentation and deeper solution functionality compared to Genesys PureConnect, we agreed that the continued evolution of the Genesys Cloud platform meant it now offered the functionality we required. As such, we made the strategic decision to migrate to the cloud,” continues Wood.
Sun International continued with its established partnership with Pivotal Data and entrusted the mission-critical cloud migration project to its dependable contact centre solution provider.
Pivotal Data commenced the transition from the on-premise Genesys PureConnect solution to the Genesys Cloud platform by first migrating the SunBet contact centre.
“The ability for Genesys Cloud to accommodate multiple engagement channels ensured the group could keep providing customers with a world-class online betting experience,” explains Karl Reed, Pivotal Data’s Chief Solutions Offer.
The group’s reservations division Sun Touch, followed soon after. The implementation happened in December during the group’s busiest peak period.
“We usually follow a phased approach when implementing new channels. However, we needed the solution to go live with all channels immediately operational while still adhering to all internal processes. We implicitly trusted Pivotal Data to deliver on the mandate and, as such, chose to forgo our usual approach,” elaborates Wood.
The transition went smoothly, with all 110 agents gaining instant access to omnichannel capabilities without any loss in business continuity.
The successful implementation gave the reservations and bookings contact centre agents instant access to omnichannel engagement capabilities, including voice, email, web messaging, social media and WhatsApp for business.
The migration also gave contact centre teams access to vital workforce management, complex emailing capabilities with AppFoundry, an outbound dialler, enhanced dashboards and gamification functionality that improved operational performance.
“Perhaps most importantly, migrating our contact centre to the cloud was a strategically important decision as it ensured our sustainability through a very challenging period for the hospitality industry as South Africa entered one of the most stringent lockdown regimes anywhere in the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” explains Wood.
When the South African government implemented stringent level 5 and level 4 lockdown restrictions, which effectively shut down the local hospitality industry, Sun International required a contact centre solution that would maintain business continuity, particularly for the online betting division, with work-from-home (WFH) capabilities for all staff, including agents from the bookings and reservations divisions.
“While PureConnect also provided access to WFM functionality, the client chose not to activate it as it required too much information per agent,” continues Reed.
The Genesys Cloud solution’s functionality ensured Sun International could monitor remote agent productivity and performance while creating a platform to effectively collaborate and communicate during the government-mandated lockdown.
Sun International also used the workforce management and analytics tools to determine how many agents in the Sun Touch contact centre operation needed to return to the office when regulations allowed. Using the granular reporting capabilities, the management team was able to select the best performers based on agent quality scores.
The SunBet team continued to mostly work from home and has continued to do so since lockdown restrictions eased.
Beyond the ability to effectively navigate lockdown restrictions, implementing Genesys Cloud has given Sun International greater visibility into its contact centre operation and performance with access to granular data and call recordings.
“The cloud solution’s customisable dashboard and reporting functionality has improved our agent management capabilities, which has boosted our overall performance,” says Wood.
Since implementing both Genesys contact centre solutions with Pivotal Data, Sun International’s conversion rate has improved significantly from 13% to 40-45%, which the customer has maintained since migrating to Genesys Cloud.
Creating more advanced web chat capabilities has also helped Sun International reduce call volumes into the contact centre, with the booking division now able to drive more traffic online.
Importantly, Sun International is now favourably positioned to continue its contact centre modernisation strategy, with easy access to new features and functionality, additional engagement channels, including relevant social media platforms, and web chat to support its digital booking platform.
The contact centre operation now also has access to other advanced capabilities such as automation to support rising call volumes.
Sun International plans to leverage Genesys Cloud to run more outbound campaigns that leverage integrated customer data and customer permissions to make contact to boost bookings and increase revenue with personalised and relevant offers.
“Importantly, we now have the flexibility to scale our contact centre as our business needs and our customer engagement preferences continue to change over time,” concludes Wood.