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Dollond & Aitchison gains customer insight with next-generation network

John-Paul Kamath

Opticians Dollond & Aitchison is using a next-generation network to deliver centrally held customer data to 401 UK branches, allowing customers to receive a personalised service at any store.

Telecoms provider ntl:Telewest Business has installed an Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IPVPN) using Multiprotocol Labelling System technology, with Digital Subscriber Line services to each branch. The IPVPN connects all branches back to the company's headquarters in Aston, Birmingham and mirrors data to a disaster recovery centre in nearby Yardley.

The network allows new customer services, including the centralising of all customer records so that glasses, contact lenses and other products can be readied for customers at any branch. Customers can also view products online in branches and place orders.

"We aim to use technology as the enabling platform for driving increased loyalty amongst our customers," said Paul Willows, information services director for Dollond & Aitchison. "We have invested in faster and more resilient data and internet services that empower our branches with more sophisticated communications."

"When our personnel in-store look up customer records, they now get a single version of the truth, meaning they can deal with each customer as an individual, and the customer knows we have done our utmost to deliver the type of personalised service they cherish," Willows said.

The ntl:Telewest Business network is also being used to support a new centralised electronic point-of-sale system that improves sales reporting by quickly providing a single record of each day's trading across the country.

"Many UK retailers are seeking an edge on the high street to better compete with both their neighbours and the emergence of online retail," said David Bell, business sales manager for ntl:Telewest Business in Birmingham.


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