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Improved Call Centre Efficiencies Delivered

Imagine this. You need to telephone your insurance company and instead of getting the usual "press 1 for ... press 2 for ..." you hear "please enter your pin number ... thank you I'll transfer you to an agent that can help you ... Hello Mr ..." Sound too good to be true? Well one insurance company has done just that and it works.

Lets take a look at the business drivers. There is a fine line between having sufficient agents available to answer calls (overhead) and keeping customers queued waiting for their calls to be answered. Too many agents and the cost escalates; too few agents and callers become frustrated and walk away resulting in lost business. So the balance has to be struck where agents are kept occupied but callers aren't forced to wait too long.

This solution uses two pieces of technology to help address the business problem.

An agent's performance is often measured by how many calls they answer in a period of time and the duration of each call. If the call duration can be shortened then the agent can answer more calls or conversely you now need less agents. The way this was achieved was by asking the customer to identify themselves by inputting three pieces of information. This was done prior to the call being routed to an agent. The information enabled the policy details to be retrieved and the caller validated. Previously, this is something the agent would have undertaken on answering the call and this is where the first business driver is satisfied. The agent's call duration has been shortened by pre-identifying and validating the caller. We'll come back to this topic later.

The second driver was to maximise the use of agents that are available by reducing their idle time or by routing the call to the first available agent. All standard stuff on a single site but what if agents are on more than one site? No one wants agents being idle in one site whilst another site is queuing calls.

This is where the second piece of technology comes into play. Once the caller has been identified, the status of all the agents across all the sites is checked. If an agent is available the call is "taken back & transferred" to the site that has the available agent. As the call is delivered a pop-up window is presented to the agent detailing the policyholder's name - the agent is then able to greet the caller by name. Should a caller have failed the validation the agent is informed which piece of supplied information was incorrect and they can revalidate the caller.

From a customer view point the personalisation is a welcome change and now they know we mean it when we say "their call really is important to us".

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