Pension provider Prudential is deploying new call management technology in its contact centres as part of an initiative to improve customer service.
The project is part of a multimillion-pound, five-year outsourcing deal with BT, set up in 2004, and is due to be completed at the end of the year.
The technology is based on BT's Queuebuster product, which is designed for contact centres of 100 agents or more. It reduces call abandonment rates and improves customer satisfaction by giving customers the option to receive a return call, rather than wait on the line, BT said.
The system holds the caller's place in the queue then, once they reach the top, generates an outbound call and connects the customer to an operator.
At Prudential, the Queuebuster product is linked to a Forefront call centre system, which links to a customer database that connects to the company's back-end systems.
John Worth, chief information officer at Prudential, said, "We have a call abandonment rate of 2% but at peak call times this figure is higher." He said the Queuebuster system enables the customer to receive a call back as soon as an operator is free. "We can call back within minutes," he said.
The first Queuebuster device has been installed at Prudential's operation in Craigforth, Scotland, which primarily serves financial advisers. The second is in use at Prudential's Belfast contact centre, which manages enquiries from the company's policyholders.
Through the BT outsourcing contract, Worth said Prudential will be transferring its voice and data networks onto a converged network running voice over IP.
He said VoIP would boost the ability of Prudential to service customers calling in. "We want to ensure calls are routed to someone who can help with the enquiry."
The system being developed will link the caller's number to the type of products that customer has bought, routing the call to the relevant area of the business or to a free operator.