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Call center profits by ANI delivery.


A Florida company with an eye on better serving its customers is doing just that, and saving money, with an ISDN computer-to-switch application.

Contact lens maker Vistakon uses automatic number identification to save agents' time at the calling center at its Jacksonville, Fla., headquarters.

It also routes frequent callers to agents who serve them regularly.

Jeff Van Doren, director of advanced systems and technologies, talked about Vistakon's use of ANI at the National Rolm Users Group meeting. The company this fall installed a Rolm 9751 CBX with an ANI routing package as a platform for the applications.

Vistakon makes the Acuvue disposable contact lens and commands about 80% of the market. The company gets thousands of calls daily from eye doctors and others involved in eye care.

At&t megacom 800 T1 lines deliver primary rate (23B+D) to Vistakon. The ANI application, through integration between the CBX and the IBM AS/400 order processing computer, delivers customer information instantly to agents as they answer incoming calls.

Gone is the need for agents to ask for account numbers, then verify them by reading back names and addresses to the caller. The result is faster, more personal service, with fewer account ID errors.

Vistakon also captures incoming call information for abandoned calls. Most callers spend little time in queue for available agents, but if some callers give up during unanticipated peak calling periods, the computer logs their number and reminds agents to call them back.

Customers are assigned to specific analysts for account status questions. Vistakon uses ANI to route those calls, saving time for customer and agent, who can get used to working with each other.

"We're extremely pleased with the results," says Van Doren. "Everything is working the way it is supposed to. We saw this as a way to increase customer service and maintain and increase our accuracy. We save money, but our real driver is improved customer service potential.

"The identification and verification take much less time. We get a high volume of fairly small orders, so the identification and verification are significant."

In other ISDN developments:

* Nippon Telegraph and Telephone is experimenting with broadband ISDN at a research center in Japan. It consists of an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) Switching system, ATM link system, AT, terminals, devices to convert existing interfaces, and a network simulator. The ATM switching System can handle 256 lines, each operating at 156 Mb/s.

* International basic rate ISDN was showcased with a New York-to-France connection during the Communications Managers Association show. Part of the demo were carriers France Telecom, AT&T, and Teleport Communications Group. ICL's desk-top conferencing application allowed real-time simultaneous review and editing of documents, data, and images.

* New England Telephone filed tariffs with Massachusetts regulators for ISDN Basic Exchange Service, a centrex-based basic rate offering.

*US West starts in 1991 a six-month Boise, Idaho, trial in which it delivers the names and numbers of callers. Per-call blocking is free, but in blocked calls the name of the caller is still delivered.

* ISDN takes center stage at next month's Communication Networks show in Washington, D.C., after an interests survey of 1990 show attendees. The Jan. 28-31 show devotes a hall to ISDN products and services, plus seven seminars and an all-day tutorial.
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Title Annotation:automatic number identification
Author:Tanzillo, Kevin
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:column
Date:Dec 1, 1990
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