New York and Atlanta - Assurant Inc., a provider of specialty insurance and insurance-related products and services, has received two patents for call processing systems developed within its Assurant Solutions business.These systems optimize sales and retention efforts in contact centers through a series of dynamic customer and agent analytics. Assurant Solutions is offering the systems to its clients and making them available to other entities.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Patent No. 7,050,566 on May 23, 2006 and Patent No. 7,062,031 on June 13, 2006 to Assurant. The call processing systems will be marketed under the names Targeted Retention, Targeted Sales or Targeted Solutions.

Targeted Solutions is not a software but a series of analytics and call management processes that have been shown to increase retention, sales revenue and customer lifetime profitability, according to Assurant. By matching the right agent with the right customer, Targeted Solutions captures revenue that would have been left unrealized and retains customers who would otherwise have canceled a service or product.

The systems are supported by the Assurant Solutions Targeted Solutions Decision Science Team, which will refine and further develop a call processing system. The team maintains a central convergence engine that serves as the hub for all data feeds. The engine operates independently of the call centers that it supports and provides output for optimal call center setup.

Detailing the merits of the system, Manuel Becerra, group senior vice president for the Assurant Solutions diversified financial services unit, says, "Customers within a portfolio vary in economic value to the portfolio owner. This system enables us to identify an individual customer's profitability, predict the economic outcome of performing an intended action (like a retention attempt or selling a product or service) and direct the customer to the agent whose performance is appropriate to the opportunity represented by that customer. The result is that we derive significantly more value from the opportunities presented to our agents than a traditional business model."

In addition to analyzing customers, Target Solutions continuously evaluates the effectiveness of individual agents, rating them on 26 dimensions of compatibility. According to Becerra, "Matching agents with customers most likely to retain a service or purchase a product enhances the selling experience for agents. Targeted Solutions helps new agents build confidence and reduces their learning curve for achieving optimum performance. Longer term, the system helps to improves job satisfaction and reduces turnover."

Becerra says Targeted Solutions shifts the paradigm of call centers by focusing on revenue metrics versus a sole focus on the percentage of customers sold or retained in a given day. "By shifting focus, we are able to truly measure the success of call center's efforts. We know that all agents do not perform at the same level, and that individual performance can change day to day due to outside factors. Targeted Solutions enables us to continually adjust the effectiveness of the selling or retention process, assuring that all opportunity is captured by the agent most likely to produce the desired result, and in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Targeted Solutions' modeling processes constantly relearn and adjust based on call center environment changes."

Targeted Solutions has been in development for several years and is now in full production. Initial program deployments have shown significant increases in results for both sales and retention efforts. Compensation is aligned with client success, based on performance enhancements over baseline.

Source: Assurant Solutions and Assurant

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