Customer story

Call Handling

Imperial College optimises inbound and emergency call handling rates.

Calls handled via automation
Calls answered in 30s
Emergency alerts


Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the UK’s largest trusts. They provide acute and specialist healthcare in north-west London – across five busy sites – to around 1.5 million people every year. In the past fielding over 11,500 inbound calls a day, agents had little time to determine call purpose before routing calls. With a target KPI of answering 70% of all calls within 30 seconds, they needed a solution for optimising inbound and emergency calls by tackling incorrect transfers and relieve strain on operators  – helping reduce caller frustration, ward disruptions and rising call volumes.

Emergency handling

In the case of emergency calls – where time to answer is under 10 seconds – Imperial needed to rapidly identify these priority calls, amid high call volumes, to trigger emergency protocols.

Our whole premise now is to offer a better service, where calls that go to an Operator get the time they need to fully explain their request. And because calls are correctly routed at the start, ward time isn’t being wasted and calls don’t circle back to switchboard — which was frustrating for patients.

John Wintour-Pittom – Head of Operations for Trust Telecom, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust



To address Imperial’s challenge of patient frustration and pressure on agents, ContactPortal provided an effective automated solution. With in-built Interactive Voice Response (IVR), callers are rapidly re-routed to the requested person or department.

Speech recognition

The speech recognition bots draw on quality data to handle circa 80% of simpler inbound calls — to enhance caller experience and better support agents. When patients call in with more complex enquiries, agents have time to listen to and handle them quickly and effectively.

Real-time monitoring

Digitising their central service centre included rapid handling of 60 inbound emergency calls from staff members daily. With Liberty Converse all emergency calls are monitored as they come in, triggering clear and instant notification to agents.

Liberty Converse for emergencies

If an agent picks up the call within 6 seconds, whilst still on a call, Converse automatically informs the current caller and transfers them to the next available agent. In a busy environment, real-time monitoring of emergency calls means agents don’t skip a beat in directing emergency units to where they’re needed. The result: optimised emergency and inbound calls to deliver a better customer experience.

Speech recognition has allowed our operators to deliver a more quality focused service. Without it, there would be a lot of internal and external dissatisfaction. Patients and colleagues wouldn’t get the service they deserve.


  • 80% inbound calls handled via automation (from 43%)
  • Instant emergency alerts on single dashboard
  • Better quality caller experience
  • Improved data driving speech recognition
  • Between 95-97% calls answered
  • 90% calls answered within 30 seconds
Imperial College NHS Trust optimises inbound and emergency calls.
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