Assurant applies matchmaking to call centres

Speciality insurance provider Assurant Solutions has applied a technique from online dating sites to optimise its customer service. Working with IBM, it is using advanced analytics to match callers with the right customer service representative in real-time.

Most call centres apply skills-based routing for inbound calls, based on an agent’s product focus and availability. This does not consider whether that agent is the optimal candidate to deal with a customer’s request. Real-Time Analytics Matching Platform uses a patented technique to change this routing.

Data on the individual customer and each agent’s skills set, expertise and performance is fed into RAMP. It then applies a matching engine, developed by consultants with IBM Global Business Services, to provide an individual-level decision about how to assign calls.

“Assurant Solutions has been using an analytics-based routing approach to increase call center profitability and enhance the customer experience in its call centers for more than  seven years, increasing retention revenue by 37 per cent and sales revenue by 29 per cent within the first year of implementation,” says Mike Politz, an Assurant Solutions vice president. “This collaboration with IBM has taken this application to the next level with RAMP and proven that the power of combining customer insight with business processes can lead to smarter decisions and improved performance.”

RAMP is activated at the moment of contact, using data generated by previous call centre interactions to identify the acceptable wait time for each customer. Agent performance and qualifications are then factored in and predictive algorithms used, based on current call duration and historic call handle times, to forecast when the optimal agent will be available. The caller is assigned and routed in real-time, with adjustments made to assignments if an agent’s call ends before or acter the predicted time.

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