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Armonk, NY - 18 Mar 2010: IBM (NYSE:IBM) announced a new service today which uses advanced analytics to match a caller with the optimal customer service representative (CSR) in real-time. IBM has collaborated with specialty insurance provider Assurant Solutions, part of Assurant, Inc. (NYSE: AIZ), to develop the Real-Time Analytics Matching Platform (RAMP). The use of RAMP has enabled Assurant Solutions call centers to increase customer retention, increase sales yields and decrease agent attrition.
With the price of customer acquisition at an all-time high, retaining customers and increasing the profitability of those relationships is critical. Most contact centers use a skills-based system when routing customer calls, which only takes into consideration the agent’s product focus and availability. For decades this model has proven frustrating to both customers and contact center agents as the assigned representative may not be the optimal candidate to address the customer’s request.
Using techniques invented and patented by Assurant, RAMP combines data about the individual customer with each contact center agent’s specific skills, expertise and past performance to optimize the routing of calls. IBM Global Business Services consultants designed a “matching-engine” which leverages this combination of customer insight, agent profiles and real-time analytics to provide “individual-level” decisioning and assignment of calls not available in most contact centers applications.
“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% and sales revenue by 29% within the first year of implementation*,” said 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 the moment a customer contacts the call center. Within seconds the platform uses data generated from previous call center interactions to identify acceptable wait times for individual customers. RAMP then factors in agent performance and qualifications to decide which agent would serve that customer best. At the same time, RAMP determines when the optimal agent will become available using prediction algorithms based on the length of the current call and historical call handle times. The analytics-based decision engine then assigns the caller to the optimal agent and routes the call in real-time to that agent. The engine tracks each call assignment and makes necessary adjustments if an agent's call ends before or after its predicted time.
RAMP is available today through IBM Global Business Services’ Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) service line. The platform leverages IBM’s deep expertise in analytics and customer insight technologies and joins a growing portfolio of BAO assets focused on helping clients better make better decisions.
The system provides for flexible configuration options and is optimized to run on IBM Software and Hardware platforms. Assurant is deploying RAMP on an IBM POWER6™-based system leveraging IBM DB2 and IBM WebSphere software technology to manage their information. In addition to Insurance, IBM is also making RAMP available for other customer contact-centric industries, including: Financial Services, Telecommunications and Cable Television.
“We’re seeing an increasing opportunity to use available customer information and analytics to find new levels of customer insight to improve performance,” said Michael Schroeck, Vice President, Business Analytics and Optimization Services, IBM Global Business Services. “RAMP represents the next generation of analytical solutions, combining customer information and insight to transform and optimize important business functions. RAMP enables our clients to enhance customer satisfaction, reduce attrition, increase revenue, and improve contact center productivity resulting in better overall company performance.”
Assurant Solutions businesses develop, underwrite, market and administer specialty insurance, extended service contracts and other risk management solutions through collaborative relationships with leading financial institutions, retailers, manufacturers, automobile dealers, funeral homes, utilities and other entities. With operations in 24 cities, including executive offices in Atlanta, Ga., Assurant Solutions serves clients and their customers in 12 countries throughout North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Asia. www.assurantsolutions.com
The Assurant Solutions companies are part of Assurant, a premier provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North American and selected international markets. Assurant, a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500, trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AIZ. Assurant has over $25 billion in assets and $8 billion in annual revenue. www.assurant.com
For more information on RAMP and other IBM Business Analytics and Optimization offerings visit: www.ibm.com/gbs/bao
Registered journalists and bloggers can view and download b-roll and the "RAMP: How it Works" animation by going to http://www.thenewsmarket.com/ibm.
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RAMP is based on the following patents: Patent No. 7,050,566 -May23, 2006; Patent No. 7,062,031 -June 13, 2006; Patent No.7,593,521 –September 22, 2009.
* Performance measurements derived from Client Statistical Performance Reports comparing fees acquired or saved within a calling month with baseline month. 37% increase based upon client's save rate for calendar year 2005 with baseline of calendar year 2004. 29% increase based upon client's sold fee rate for calendar year 2006 with baseline of October 2004 to September 2005.
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