Giving Voice to Customer-Centricity Reaps Big ROI for Barclays
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Telemarketing Organizations looking for outbound and inbound telemarketing services can outsource their IVR and affordable telemarketing center. As designers of Interactive Voice Response IVR systems and Voice Broadcasting software, Database Systems Corp. (DSC) is uniquely positioned to manage your outsourcing programs saving your company both time and money. Because our products are created in-house, we can deliver comprehensive telemarketing services quickly -- providing you with a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Plus you will find our inbound and outbound telemarketing outsourcing services to be quite affordable.

The following is an article relating to the telemarketing industry including products and services in our business areas.



Giving Voice to Customer-Centricity Reaps Big ROI for Barclays

www.CRM2Day.com

Real-time marketing helps companies build customer relationships.


How quickly can a bank reasonably expect a return on a new investment in information technology? The answer is usually given in years, so senior managers are naturally very cautious about committing to major projects. But a recent project at Barclays Bank demonstrated how to go about achieving a very rapid return on investment and more intangible benefits including increased customer and employee satisfaction.

The most important financial decision that these customers are likely to make is to take out a mortgage to finance home ownership. In the UK the property market has boomed in recent years, and following the acquisition of the Woolwich Mortgage Bank, Barclays is the country's fourth largest mortgage provider, with a portfolio of 50 billion ( 79 billion, US$71.3 billion) of secured loans. The value of this business goes far beyond the loans themselves, however: Mortgage customers present enormous cross-selling opportunities.

It is the task of the Credit Risk Management Department to optimize the mortgage asset quality through its complex lending expertise, policy management and advanced business technology solutions. Pankaj Mistry, data warehouse manager of the Credit Risk Management Department explains: "We have a mature data warehouse and we are very information rich; in other words, we have very good knowledge about how our portfolio is performing. The information we control is of immense interest to other business units within Retail Sector."

In particular, the credit data warehouse holds pre-approved mortgage limit (PAML) figures on some 3.5 million customers, information that is of vital interest to Retail Sector sales staff. "Access to this information gives the salespeople a tremendous advantage because they don't need to worry about a mortgage being declined after an offer has been made. They know exactly what the customer's limit is," says Mistry.

The challenge for Barclays Retail Sector was how to get the PAML information into the salespeople's hands at the point of customer contact -- Retail Sector has thousands of sales staff based at hundreds of locations or out in the field. Any solution would have to be easily available, preferably not via a PC or terminal, as these are not available at all locations. Above all, a solution was needed quickly.

"The sales staff were screaming for tools to help them achieve their mortgage sales targets, and an important element in the equation is the ability to make a firm offer," says Mistry. "What we set out to prove is that results with a measurable impact can be delivered quickly. This development allows Credit Risk Management to focus sales activity on delivering assets of high quality, thus changing the risk/sales paradigm. Like any other company, Barclays is not going to commit large funds to projects with uncertain returns. Therefore, we decided to start small and prove the concept," he adds.

The solution was PAML-IVR (Pre-Approved Mortgage Limits-Interactive Voice Response), which gives dial-in access to information in the SAS Credit Data Warehouse via a fixed or mobile phone. "We were pushing out the boundaries of technology with this project," says Mistry, "as nothing similar has been tried before." The project involved partnership between Mistry's department at Barclays, SAS and Periphonics, the voice services arm of Nortel Networks.

"Because we were treading new ground, the objective was to prove the concept and not build up false expectations," says Mistry. In fact, the success of the pilot project would have exceeded anybody's expectations.

The prototype began in July 2000 and took 30 person-days' effort (10 from Barclays staff). It went live on 22 September, with 25 users over a 90-day trial period. Components of the solution included a telephone line and hub, the IVR server and software, telephone scripting, a security application, the data server and software, and the interface program.

The way the solution works is that the salesperson dials in through one of 30 dedicated lines to the Interactive Voice Response server. He/she hears a welcome greeting and the IVR server asks for a personal identification number (PIN) and a staff number. When these have been entered, the sales person is asked for the sort code of the sales outlet (for example, a bank branch), the number of applicants for the mortgage (one or two), and their customer identification numbers.

The IVR server feeds the request through to SAS data sets that are refreshed on a monthly basis with the latest information from the SAS Credit Data Warehouse. SAS communication software feeds back the pre-approved mortgage limit data, which in turn is converted into voice output, giving the salesperson instant information on the size of the loan that can be offered.

"Although some of the technology components were completely new, the solution proved itself to be very robust and could support 24/7 operation," says Mistry. "Within six weeks of going live, Barclays achieved 1 million ( 1.6 million) in extra new sales, entirely attributable to the PAML-IVR solution. ROI was achieved in eight weeks. The salespeople were delighted: They were making more sales and each sale was taking between 15 and 30 minutes less time to complete. Unsurprisingly, they insisted that the prototype be kept going beyond the trial period, and customers also expressed satisfaction with the faster service provided by PAML-IVR."

Impressed by these results, in November 2000 the retail executive gave the go-ahead for an extension of PAML-IVR leading to a national roll-out to 4,000 salespeople. By April 2001, Barclays had already attributed 70 million ( 111 million) in pure new sales to the PAML-IVR solution, and the conversion rate of applications to actual completions has increased from 40 to 45 percent. Expenditure on the national system was recouped in six months.

But that's just the immediate financial return. Mistry summarizes the more intangible benefits by referring back to the organization's mission: "The customer feels he has received a great service without paperwork, an immediate decision without the need to produce evidence. PAML-IVR helps make the customer feel that our service revolves around his needs as an individual. And that obviously helps to create shareholder value."



Mortgage Software Application

mortgage marketing application Database Systems Corp. has developed a mortgage software application for mortgage qualification and prospect lead tracking. This application is completely integrated with our phone systems which can perform both inbound and outbound mortgage marketing campaigns. Our mortgage processing application was developed using TELEMATION, our award winning contact management software application toolkit. This CRM software tool is ideally suited for processing mortgage loans and managing customer information. This CRM application is employed in a wide variety of organizations including contact centers, help desks, customer service centers, service bureaus, reservation centers and corporate call centers.

Our mortgage marketing software has extensive computer telephony features and is fully integrated with our marketing autodialer and phone system. TELEMATION operates on Linux, Unix or Windows servers. Mortgage applications can be quickly tailored to your mortgage business using the robost features found in our mortgage software toolkit. Mortgage companies such as Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation have relied upon TELEMATION to handle their mortgage processing requirements.

To view how other businesses and organizations are using this mortgage software application, please visit our Mortgage Application web page.

Contact DSC to learn more about our mortgage software applications and phone systems.