Neilson Holidays sales centre helps create seamless customer experience

Neilson Holidays wanted to move from a one dimensional, reactive Sales Centre to a proactive, omni-channel approach that would offer a seamless customer experience.

Company overview

Neilson is the UK’s leading activity holiday provider. The company has over 30 years’ experience delivering award-winning skiing, sailing and beach club holidays. Previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Thomas Cook, Neilson was sold to Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners in 2013. Since then the company has continued to grow and prosper, adding new resorts in Croatia and Sardinia. A large part of the company’s success is built on its ability to place the customer at the heart of everything it does.

The challenge

A legacy of its time with Thomas Cook, Neilson inherited a complex, antiquated and inflexible Siemens PBX telephone system that simply did not meet the company’s needs. At one time, the Neilson Sales Centre had acted as a failover for Thomas Cook’s main call centre, and so had a lot of redundant capacity. Since then, company priorities and requirements have changed.

Neilson wanted to move from a one dimensional, reactive Sales Centre to a proactive, omni-channel approach that would offer a seamless customer experience. Unfortunately, the existing systems failed to meet the demands of the business in terms of enhanced customer experience, repeat business and fostering loyalty. Neilson needed a contact centre system that incorporated social, mobile, web, voice and advanced analytics.

The Sales Centre manager specifically wanted greater visibility of the environment, improved quality management and access to features such as real-time monitoring and call recording. As well as the Sales Centre, Neilson also wanted to bring the onsite resort staff closer to the organisation, improve communications, training and support.

The solution

Having been thoroughly briefed by the client, Modern Networks sat down with our partners Cisco to design a customer experience solution that would meet all Neilson’s needs today, and offer a range of exciting possibilities for the future. Modern Networks recommended a solution featuring Cisco Business Edition 6000 and Cisco Unified Contact Centre Express. The new system includes social media integration, remote mobile expert (enabling contact agents to step customers through the booking process remotely), and integrated email, voice, video and web chat. The system also enables superior monitoring and measurement for compliance and reporting purposes.

To minimise disruption, Modern Networks designed a phased rollout of our solution, working around seasonal booking peaks, between the end of 2016 and early 2017. Modern Networks won the project over competitors because of the seamless uniformity, flexibility and superior features of our solution. Neilson also thought our technical team demonstrated a much better appreciation of their needs.

IP telephony

In many ways, traditional telecommunications technology, such as ISDN, struggle to meet the demands of today’s business users. In fact, ISDN will go end-of-life in 2025. Offering greater flexibility, reliability and value, Modern Networks migrated Neilson from ISDN to SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), enabling the company to take full advantage of Internet-based telephony. For a dynamic and seasonal business like Neilson, SIP enables the company to scale operations up and down as required. This can be done in minutes rather than weeks. A centralised SIP solution drives down call costs, line rental and removes the physical overheads.

Sales centre

A central element of Modern Networks solution is the Cisco Unified Contact Centre Express. This enables Neilson to deliver a consistent, contextual customer experience across time and multiple channels. The system is secure, easy to use and supports up to 400 agents. It also supports powerful agent-based services and fully integrated self-service applications such as automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, computer telephony integration (CTI) social, email and web chat.

Visibility & control

To provide the visibility and management control of the Sales Centre, Modern Networks incorporated a number of applications to create a simple, powerful, unified solution. To managed day-to-day operations, Cisco Finesse offered a “single pane of glass” web interface, giving instant access to multiple assets and sources of information. Comstice Wallboards enabled us to display a variety of real-time and daily Sales Centre data, such as Percentage Calls Answered (PCA), on wallboards, desktops and mobile devices. The wallboard displays are completely customisable, showing third party application data and RSS feeds, for example. Capable of recording all forms of communication, not just voice, Verint Verba enables Neilson to collect, analyse and report on performance data.

Resort staff

The strength of the Neilson brand relies on the business creating seamless, end-to-end customer experiences that start with a visit to the company website or a call to the Sales Centre and extend to the resort. To overcome some of the vagaries of local telephone networks and mobile providers, Modern Networks recommended Cisco Jabber unified communications for all resort staff. Cisco Jabber brings voice, text and video communications together with various collaboration tools. This enables resort and Head Office staff to work more closely together. They can create project groups, chat rooms, share files, make appointments and leave messages. Because resort staff are frequently out of the office, Cisco Jabber allows them to manage their busy schedules and maintain focus while moving between desktop and mobile devices.


The move away from traditional high street travel agents to online providers has been swift. In such a highly competitive market, travel and leisure businesses cannot afford to miss a step when it comes to customer engagement and service delivery. For Neilson, Modern Networks delivered a unified communications platform that enables the company to fulfil its brand promise of end-to-end exemplary customer service. Neilson has also enjoyed dramatic call savings of 90%. Going forward, the company plans to use additional functionality such as intelligent, contextual live chat and smart call routing to enhance the customer experience.



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