Merchants Limited has signed a four-year customer management outsourcing contract with Edexcel, the examination board in UK. The contract is worth approximately 10.3 million. Edexcel is one of the UKs largest examination awarding bodies both for educational and vocational studies in the UK and internationally. Merchants will handle all of Edexcels customer management activity, which includes dealing with schools, colleges, examiners and students. Edexce l examination papers are set in over 4,200 schools, 450 colleges and some 80 higher education establishments throughout the UK.
The partnership will see Merchants delivering a multi-function contact centre solution, based in Milton Keynes, to handle general pre-and post-examination queries on behalf of the examination body. This is an extension of the work Merchants has undertaken for Edexcel since June 2002. The contact centre operation expects to deal with over 600,000 contacts in a year with an average month delivering 41,000 contacts across calls and emails.
In a move to increase the efficiency of capturing examination results, Merchants rolled out Edexcel s mark capture solution to over 1,500 UK examination markers during the summer 2003 examination period. The new mark capture approach meant that over one million marks were collected by a team of 47 agents, who were able to retrieve marks outside working hours and at weekends to fit around the needs of examiners.
The Merchants contact centre solution integrates with Edexcels own back-office IT systems via a dedicated link and all results captured by the Merchants agents are transferred automatically to Edexcel s database. Coupled with mark capture activity this has dramatically improved the time involved in mark collation and allows additional verification..