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IBM plays matchmaker: New system to optimise call centre service

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19th Mar 2010
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IBM has unveiled a system that was jointly developed with speciality insurance company Assurant Solutions to help match customers with the most appropriate call centre agent to handle their query.

Although Assurant has been using the Real-Time Analytics Matching Platform (Ramp) in-house for some time, the offering has now been tweaked so that it can be configured to work in other financial services, telecommunications and cable TV sectors.

Michael Shroeck, vice president of business analytics and optimization services at IBM Global Business Services, said: "Ramp enables our clients to enhance customer satisfaction, reduce attrition, increase revenue and improve contact centre productivity, resulting in better overall company performance."

Ramp is based on analytics techniques that were invented by Assurant seven years ago and subsequently patented. The company claimed that this original technology enabled it to increase revenues from customer retention by 37% and turnover from sales by 29% in the first year of implementation.

IBM Global Business Services then added a so-called 'matching-engine' to the software so that it could match data about individual customers with each contact centre agent’s specific skills, expertise and past performance to optimise call routing.

When a customer calls in, the software uses information generated by previous interactions to establish what an acceptable waiting time for an individual customer might constitute. It then uses information held on call centre agents to establish who would be best suited to handle that customer’s enquiry.

This data is also balanced against predictions about when they might become available, based on the length of their existing call and historical call handling times. The call is then routed in real-time to the most appropriate candidate. Each call is tracked and the necessary adjustments made in case it ends before or after the predicted time.

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