Developing a Unified Desktop Tool

By Barbara Porter Print this article Print

Nicor National provides home warranty solutions and energy management plans through its call center, which consists of 250 representatives. Barbara Porter, vice president, business development and customer service at the Naperville, Ill., company, describes how she and her team restructured customer service operations to engage employees, provide better service to customers and improve general business functions.


Developing a Unified Desktop Tool
To deal with these issues, we developed a unified desktop tool, Agent Desktop. The proof-of-concept phase for this tool verified that we were on the right track with our plans. What’s more, customer satisfaction surveys supported our decision to pursue a single front-end system.

From the surveys, we learned the following:

·          Customer satisfaction increased by 9.5 percent when the customer wasn’t put on hold.

·          It improved by 16 percent when the hold time for a call was shorter than expected.

·          It increased by 8.7 percent when the customer’s issue was resolved in one call.

·          Customer satisfaction rose by 20.4 percent when customers had to provide their information only once.

·          It increased by17.5 percent when the customer’s call was not transferred.

We knew the risks involved if we did not design and implement a new front-end system that would allow our representatives to create the drivers of customer engagement with each interaction. After exploring the feasibility of building a system in-house, we decided to use a third-party vendor to provide a customized CRM solution. We evaluated three potential partners and chose Sword Ciboodle, a global company that designs customer interaction software for call centers.

Among the reasons for choosing Sword Ciboodle were the company’s expertise in the contact center industry; its promise to demonstrate tangible business value in a short period of time; and its plan to work with us as extended members of our team. Together, we developed a multiyear project consisting of two phases: first consolidating our legacy systems and then consolidating our back-end systems, such as billing.

During the first phase, the project team—which consisted of Ciboodle consultants and members of the Nicor National call center, marketing, operations and IT/IS teams—worked on identifying and creating efficient processes that would lead to increased user productivity. We especially wanted to minimize our representatives’ dependence on our claims management and sales management systems, Oracle platform, and eSuperScript (ESS) system in order to increase user adaptation and acceptance of the new system.

This article was originally published on 2012-03-26
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