Toronto-Dominion Bank Financial Group Thursday said it has signed a seven-year outsourcing agreement with Bell Canada to install and maintain an IP-based contact centre solution for 94 facilities across Canada.
Bell is the lead partner on the deal, but equipment, resources and project management will also come from Cisco Systems and IBM Canada. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the participants described it as one of the largest call centre agreements ever reached in Canada.
TD is starting fresh with new gear, replacing call centre technology it had previously outsourced to Allstream, said Jeff Henderson, vice-president and head of corporate technology solutions for TD. Allstream had been responsible for more than 90 per cent of TD’s call centre technology operations.
When that deal concluded, the bank “took the opportunity to see who else was capable in the market and consolidate with that other five to 10 per cent that was on smaller, disparate platforms internally,” said Henderson, adding that Bell and its partners were chosen as the result of an RFP.
Among Bell’s responsibilities are: interactive voice response (IVR), call routing, switching, workforce management and reporting. IBM will develop and be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of call recording and performance reporting. Cisco is providing networking equipment including IP Voice gateways, customer voice portal, Unified CallManager and IP phones.
“Like any significant technology project, it . . . has many facets. What we want to make really sure of is it is done without any budget overruns or any technical issues and things go smoothly so TD and its partners can concentrate on what it needs to do,” said Laurent Philonenko, vice-president and general manager of Cisco’s customer contact business. He added that Cisco has worked on similar projects for roughly 3,000 call centres around the world.
Henderson said that TD anticipates improvements in customer service as a result of the upgrade, particularly customer response time and better matching of customer to agent through call routing. TD employs 6,300 people in its call centres. All but 17 will continue to report to the bank.
Planning for the transition has been underway for some time, but it will be a year before all of the call centres are moved over to IP technology, said Henderson. They will be upgraded on a unit by unit basis, the order of which will be determined on a “risk-based perspective,” he said. “We’ll likely do some internal call centres and switch those over (first), then some of the more complex and bigger call centres later on in the conversion.”
“It’s everything from retail banking to wealth management to insurance. They have quite a diverse base of businesses,” said Renato Discenza, senior vice-president enterprise sales for Bell Canada.
“Each business unit will be able to chose a variety of features that best suits what they want to have for their customers. The core solution will be common and then they’ll be able to think of it as a la carte for enhancements and features.”
Bell has performed call centre upgrades for other financial institutions in Canada including Royal Bank of Canada and Manulife.