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USAA enhances call center through its ACD.

At United Services Automobile Association's (USAA's) call center in San Antonio, Tex., business is riding on customer satisfaction and call center efficiency since 85% of USAA's insurance business is conducted via telephone.

Consider this scenario: The telephone rings and the caller on the other end has questions regarding his automobile insurance policy as well as questions about filing a claim, two operations that traditionally are handled by separate departments. However, inside of 14 seconds the caller reaches a single service representative who can answer questions, or he hears an announcement telling him the amount of time he'll have to hold. The caller has just experienced one of the many conveniences of USAA's new advanced call center, a prototype of USAA's future business operations.

In addition to providing quality insurance products, USAA is constantly striving to provide exceptional customer service to its members.

The results of a study to improve customer service revealed that it would be more beneficial to combine sales, service and claims processing. These jobs traditionally were handled by representatives in different departments within USAA. USAA decided to test the concept in a special unit organized to operationally test new technologies and new business processes. The unit is handling 63,000 customer calls per month--almost 4% of USAA's property and casualty insurance calls--through its new call center.

In February 1993, USAA implemented the pilot project, choosing Intecom's CallWise automatic call distribution (ACD) offering to provide the advanced call center capabilities.

With USAA's new service concept, some departments have been integrated into one service center, providing customers with prompt call processing and service. Each representative now is equipped for special programs and service of insurance policies as well as for handling insurance claims.

For example, callers no longer must be transferred to the claims department, waiting for a second representative to answer, because the representative in the sales and service department could not answer his questions.

The call guides allow USAA to determine the steps a call follows when it enters the call center, such as how long it will wait in queue, when a message will be played, when music will be played, when the call will be overflowed to another ACD group or when to exit.

Intelligent queuing notifies callers of their approximate time in queue. With intelligent queuing, fewer calls are abandoned because callers are aware of how long they will wait to speak with a representative and are given control through the option to wait, leave a message or call back.

The call center, under its new service concept, is operated by a call center manager who monitors the call flow. Team leaders supervise the daily activities of call center representatives, coaching and ensuring quality service.

For the call center to flow efficiently, several tools are available for call center managers, including real-time displays, "move agent" functions and supervisor-to-agent messaging.

With improved graphical displays--real-time graphics on a full-color PC screen--the call center manager is able to monitor call center activity and make adjustments for optimal use of resources. Also, CallWise Reporter provides the call center manager with customized reports to evaluate performance and monitor trends.

The "move agent" function allows the call center manager to easily move representatives via the supervisor PC. When call center activity increases, call center managers can move service representatives from group to group to help handle incoming calls.

Physically, the representatives are in the same location but technically they are moved to another ACD group. If needed, those representatives are able to serve their original ACD group as well as the new one.

"Supervisor messaging" allows the call center managers to direct messages to the display set of one service representative or a group of representatives while the representative is on the phone. This function saves supervisors time by automatically transmitting messages without physically delivering them.

Since USAA implemented this pilot project, its call center now operates more efficiently and requires less administration. For example, delay time before a call is answered has been reduced.

The goal of this prototype of business operations at USAA is to enhance customer service through improved call center activities and restructuring.

Consequently, USAA customers' calls are being served in a timely and efficient manner.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:automatic call distribution; United Services Automobile Association
Author:Brooks, Tom
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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