Boston - In 2003, Allianz Life transformed its Individual Insurance Group Call Center with key features including a single converged voice and data network, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phones, simple and understandable 800 number access for agents and policyholders, and intelligent call routing.Allianz's new call center has produced both financial and nonfinancial benefits, according to a report from Celent Communications Inc., titled "Upgrading Call Center Technology at Allianz Life." Productivity (measured by utilization of internal sales reps) has increased from 85% to 92%. Current year sales are up 78% year-over-year with essentially the same staff count. Management has a much better ability to track performance both real-time and retrospectively. Perhaps most importantly, the introduction of skill-based routing has facilitated the matching of calls to sales representatives.

According to Donald Light, senior analyst and author of the report, "A single converged voice and data network costs less and is more efficient. Even more importantly, it provides the call center's staff and its callers with new and better ways to do business with one another."

In addition to describing the details of the Allianz Life implementation, Light also recommends the following advice to other carriers considering call center technology initiatives:

  • Challenge the management team to take full advantage of the broad latitude to change processes that the new technology enables.
  • Narrow process choices during the initial implementation, in order to make training and transitions as easy as possible.
  • Begin the change management process early (at the time of writing requirements) in order to make the reps ready to accept the new system on the day of the rollout.
  • Verify the scalability of the infrastructure supporting activities that will significantly increase (e.g., the number of calls recorded).
  • Analyze how activities such as scripting will impact systems from different vendors.
  • Well before actual rollout, clarify responsibilities among business unit and IT staff for support, administration, upgrades, and follow-on projects.
  • Work with the minimum feasible number of vendors.
  • Deploy less business critical areas first.

Source: Celent Communications Inc.

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