Echopass Bolsters Bank's Inbound Call Service

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Provident Bank shortened customer call durations and wait times while also routing inbound callers to the most appropriate agent after adopting Contact Center on Demand, a personalized contact center solution by Echopass.

Provident Bank serves patrons in central and northern New Jersey. Echopass is a leading service provider for complex on-demand contact center services, with headquarters in Pleasanton, CA, and an operations center in Salt Lake City.

Provident sought the solution in September 2004 because its existing platform could not support needed customer service improvements. As Marcia Blunt, vice president of touch point services for Provident, said of the company's old hardware-based system, "Basic security questions are required at the onset of the call. But the agents must navigate through several screens to validate the information provided by the customer."

Echopass bypassed that hassle with its "screen pop" function. Provident worked with Echopass to determine the most commonly asked customer questions -- such as, "What is my balance?" -- and incorporated the information into a custom-built home screen for customer service agents.

"Now, as soon as a call comes in, our agents have 95 percent of the customer's data at their fingertips," Blunt said.

Another upgrade was a routing technique to connect each customer to an agent who could meet his specific needs. Callers are routed to an agent based on factors ranging from language spoken to the level of expertise based on a customer's request. For example, if a customer calls regarding a business account, the call goes to an agent who handles such accounts. Blunt noted that top-tier customers are connected to agents with the most experience.

Blunt said that 80 percent of Provident's inbound customer calls are now answered within 20 seconds. Call duration has been reduced 40 percent, average wait time per customer has been halved, and first-call problem resolution is at an all-time high, she said.

"Agents are now able to greet callers by name," she said. "Also, because data is right in front of the agent as opposed to toggling through multiple screens and systems, service personnel are able to address customer issues almost immediately."

Provident plans to use Contact Center on Demand for e-mail services and customer relationship management software installation in the near future.

Since adopting the Echopass system, Blunt said, "my agents are happier with the information and efficiency of the system. We have improved sales results and satisfied customers with the added attention they receive. And in the banking industry, those are improvements that translate directly to the bottom line."

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