A Quebec-based auto insurance firm has revved up its interactive voice response platform to improve service levels amid increased call volumes.

The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ)

on Wednesday said it has gone live with a set of contact centre applications that includes intelligent routing products from Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories and a series of self-help applications implemented and developed by integration firm BCE Elix.

SAAQ began the project just over two years ago in the hopes of reducing the time it takes to respond to calls and e-mail messages, according to Helene Cazeau, assistant to the director of customer information. The organization, which controls access to the Quebec highway system — and related fees — as well as offering insurance products, employs about 220 agents based in Montreal and other parts of Quebec.

Andre Gravel, BCE Elix’s chief product manager for the call centre optimization project at the SAAQ, said the biggest challenge was to make sure data gathered through the IVR system was provided through SAAQ’s database into a screen pop. This allows the agent to save a lot of time by not having to ask the same information that the customer has already provided, he said.

“”The integration that we had to do was to bring to the agent that will receive the call the information (he needs) on his screen before receiving the call,”” he said. “”We also (have to) start the correct application from the mainframe in order to populate the screen and give the correct answer to the customer.””

Through a translator, Cazeau said the project has already improved service by allowing SAAQ to answer 85 to 90 per cent of all calls received within about 180 seconds. With its previous IVR system, only about 60 per cent were answered in that time frame, she said.

“”It’s saving them close to 10 seconds a call,”” Gravel said.

So far, Cazeau said, one of the most popular self-serve applications allows users to book times to save a written exam for their driver’s permit. Callers are invited to choose from between three time slots and can book automatically through the IVR, she said.

SAAQ added another call centre in Murdochville over the course of the project, Gravel said, which increased the challenge of integrating multiple other sites, which still used their own private branch exchange (PBX) systems.

“”This site was very far in the Quebec region, so they need a lot of communication network (technology) to get there,”” he said.

All SAAQ’s applications reside within a mainframe environment, Gravel added, which meant the IVR system had to interface with a server platform to deliver Web services to agents on PCs.

“”The second step was to make sure all the data (recorded in the) IVR system will go directly to their data warehouse and their information management system,”” he said.

Cazeau said the project’s success depended on close collaboration between SAAQ and Elix, as well as inter-departmental cooperation between operations and IT.

SAAQ expects the new IVR platform will be able to handle 650,000 self-service calls per year, an increase of 50,000 calls.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca


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