BT has opened a new Customer Experience Lab and is working with a business school to develop new concepts that will help it to “reinvent” the traditional contact centre.

The operator has pooled together 31 existing employees to staff the Scotland-based lab, which is working with Dundee’s Abertay Business School to trial new ways of working and services for its 1.1 million business customers across the UK.

BT said it wanted to “rip up the rule book” when it came to serving enterprises.

The students have designed a number of solutions – including a “product bench” with working versions of BT’s products that advisors can use during conversations with customers – that have been incorporated into the lab’s design.

Other ideas that BT has taken up include the use of gaming – such as fixing product faults against the clock – during staff training.

The lab opened last month and has handled more than 3,000 calls.

Customers who call are guaranteed to speak to a single advisor, as BT looks to avoid transferring them from one department to another.

Trafford Wilson, Managing Director for Customer Service, Business and Public Sector, said: “Through innovation and trialling new processes, we’re addressing things that our customers tell us we can improve.

“We expect that some things we trial in the CX Lab may not work – but things that do will be rolled out across the rest of our organisation.

“We want to create a culture where people are encouraged to be creative and work together to help provide innovative new solutions for our customers.”

BT announced plans to hire 1,500 customer service staff last year as it looks to bring such roles back to the UK.

Meanwhile, BT subsidiary EE announced a recruitment drive to hire 800 contact centre advisers for sites in the UK, including 100 apprentices.

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