Credit Union Enhances Customer Service
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express enables full-service contact center for members of Workers' Credit Union.
Workers' Credit Union (WCU), founded in 1914, is one of the country's oldest credit unions. Although it was established nearly 100 years ago to answer the need for banking services for the Finnish population of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, today WCU serves more than 63,000 members and welcomes individuals who live or work in Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire, as well as their family members. But what has not changed since its founding is the credit union's focus on its members and the community. With that focus, WCU management recognized that it needed to re-think its phone system technology in order to provide the level of service that its members deserved.
The credit union had outgrown the Mitel system that had been in place for eight years, and the failing system was starting to affect daily business operations. The system broke down often and had to be taken completely down and re-booted, the reporting software did not provide accurate information, and incoming calls from customers were often not handled correctly by the system. Members' calls were often passed from person to person several times, and the only option offered to callers was to press zero and leave a message.
"We have fairly complicated call center requirements because of all of the different types of issues that the system needs to handle," says Christopher Saari, a VP and call center manager for WCU. "Besides basic member calls asking about balances, history, payments, debit card issues, and different problem resolutions, we also rely on our call center to handle opening of accounts, financial counseling, lending decisions, and follow-up on items such as home equity loan applications. Ours is a full-service call center that touches all aspects of our business." Christopher envisioned a built-in "member help desk" that the Mitel system simply could not handle.
Knowing what he wanted in a call center phone system, but not fully current on the technology available, Saari reached out to Cisco® Gold Certified Partner NWN Corporation. NWN is currently the fastest-growing systems integrator in the United States, providing its clients with a complete range of networking services and solutions. It prides itself in delivering to its clients the premier products in the industry, tailored to their specific needs. NWN is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts and operates from seven locations on the East Coast and in Texas.
NWN assembled a team and started the WCU project with its managed services program.
"We like to get very ingrained with workers on the infrastructure side," says Jill Broyles, vice president at NWN. "We had in-depth meetings with WCU to carefully scope out the business requirements that needed to be met by the new call center technology. We learned where the problems were and how those affected other operations." Broyles and the NWN team felt that a Cisco Unified Communications solution would be the best fit for the credit union's needs, and at the same time the existing phone system for the main office staff could be upgraded as well.
The solution would include Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Contact Center Express, Cisco 3560G and 3750G switches, a Cisco 2821 ISR router, Cisco VG224 voice gateway, and Cisco Unified IP Phones. In addition, Cistera Quick Record would provide continuous call recording, and a SynApps IPCC Dashboard along with some custom development by NWN would accommodate a wallboard display for the call center.
Because it was crucial to deploy the new system as transparently as possible, NWN planned a deployment that included a test cutover and final cutover.
"The cutover to the new system was absolutely transparent to our members," says Saari. "What they noticed was that instead of their only option being to 'press zero,' suddenly they had a call tree with numerous options to guide their call to the right person. The deployment itself was very, very smooth."
Saari wanted to streamline the call center work areas and remove as many wires off the desks as possible, so NWN removed desktop phones and deployed soft phones instead.
"Our call center staff had a big adjustment to make with new equipment and how they handled a call," says Saari. "NWN made sure the proper training was in place for the call center staff, and for the IT staff who will be administering and maintaining the system."
With the new Cisco Unified Contact Center solution in place, WCU is giving its members the highest level of customer service.
"The system helps our members reach the right person to get their question answered or problem solved," says Christopher. "Calls are routed accurately, and our members are no longer passed around from person to person. That means that our employees are working more effectively and that our members are getting their questions and problems addressed more quickly and directly." Saari is using the accurate reporting provided by the Cisco Unified Contact Center solution to re-tool how the call center is run. He now has accurate information on the volume and types of calls that the credit union receives, allowing him to make informed decisions about how to allocate staff resources.
With the new Cisco call center solution in place at WCU, there is satisfaction both at the credit union and at NWN Corporation.
"We have a long-standing working relationship with Workers' Credit Union; we see this as a real partnership," says Broyles. "We like to work side-by-side with them, helping to solve problems as they arise. It is very important to us that we design and deploy a solution that fits their needs."
Saari appreciates that kind of commitment and is happy with the results.
"The Cisco solution is doing what I need it to do today, and it provides the foundation so we can continue delivering superior customer service in the future," he says.
For More Information
To find about more about Cisco Unified Communications, go to http://www.cisco.com/go.
- Cisco Unified Contact Center Express
- Cisco Unified Communications Manager
- Cisco Unity Connection
- Cisco 3560G and 3750G switches
- Cisco 2821 ISR router
- Cisco VG224 voice gateway
- Cisco Unified IP Phones 7945, 7965, 7962, 7914, 7942, 7937 and 7906
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