How AAA Regional Office Routes Members to Effective Customer Service

AAA Western and Central New York covers 22 counties, has 650 employees (including 23 IT staff), 850,000 members, and averages 6.5 million member calls a year. Currently, the organization is integrating a member service infrastructure that connects the contact center and branch offices, in order to support member interaction across communication channels, such as phone, instant messaging, and e-mail.

The idea evolved during the organization’s goal-setting sessions in 2008 and 2009, designed to envision a roadmap that would guide it through 2015. The organization saw a huge gap in technology, business processes, and organization demands from what it currently had to meet those requirements. It realized that it needed a more effective way to interact with its growing list of member needs.

For example, it wanted to maintain its top-of-the-line call center reputation. It also wanted to upgrade its quality management solution to integrate screen capture and enhance its workforce management product to automate queuing for agents with multiple skills. It also wanted to meet the needs of its members 100% of the time, while preserving a cost-effective business model.

The result was "Multi-Channel 2015 Vision." One element involves incorporating multiple-skilled agents into modern auto repair facilities. These facilities will be staffed not only to handle everyday auto needs, but also to assist callers with an array of services, such as travel, insurance, and roadside assistance inquiries.

When incidents occur that may cause spikes in call traffic, such as weather conditions, flight cancellations, or peak travel times, the calls will be rerouted between branch locations and call centers. "One thing we realized is that, regardless of the channel a member used to approach us, we wanted to be able to get that member to the best associate, whether in one of our brick and mortar locations, or in one of our call centers," says Bob Leach, CIO. "However, we realized that we had a major gap between our vision and what our technology could support. Getting the members to the right agents drove a real need to not only know who is available, but also figure out how to route that member to the right person in the right location."

To achieve this goal, the organization sought the help of a new workforce optimization tool. One requirement was that the tool be able to integrate with the organization’s Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise system. In June 2010, the organization selected Calabrio’s workforce optimization products. The architecture creates freedom from location constraints. Service resources can be leveraged from any location, regardless of the subject matter. Planning began in July, and the technology initially became available in October.

As a result, whether booking travel, getting an oil change, or signing up for homeowner’s insurance, members will be serviced by either a contact center agent or a branch employee.

For example, if a member calls the main contact center asking about auto insurance coverage and how to change it, but the call center agent can’t provide the right assistance, that agent can patch the member into, or transfer the member to, a local branch representative who can better serve the member. Local branch representatives can also patch the member into, or transfer the member to, a call center agent.

This is done through:

  • analytical-driven routing, which involves applying analytics to match the best associate to the member’s need

  • interaction routing, which involves serving a member utilizing resources from an alternate channel, such as a local branch agent

  • workforce optimization, which matches a member service request with available staff across channels. For example, if all the call center agents are busy, and there is a local branch agent available in another location who is free to help, the system will automatically route the phone call to that agent.

"We have implemented Calabrio technology in our two call centers to do forecasting, scheduling and compliance, to make sure we are providing a high-quality telephone interaction," says Leach.

Currently, 150 call center agents and supervisors, and another 50 employees in other parts of the business serving non-traditional call center positions, are using the technology. The organization did purchase enough licenses, though, so it can leverage knowledgeable people in its branches to support its members at appropriate times.

"We have tested this out in a few situations," he says. "For example, if have a large snowstorm, we may have a lot of calls to the call centers for road service requests, in addition to the regular non-emergency calls. At the same time, the brick-and-mortar facility in the snowstorm area will have few members visiting, because of the snow."

With the technology, the organization will be able to divert the non-emergency calls from the call centers to the brick and mortar office, allowing the call centers to handle more emergency road service request calls.

Since implementing Calabrio Quality Management and Calabrio Workforce Management, AAA Western and Central New York has seen a number of benefits.

It has allowed the organization to merge two physical call center locations into one virtual call center with one set of supervision sharing resources, allowing for consistent processing, training and call quality monitoring/scoring.

It provides simplified infrastructure costs. "Under our old solution, we had to have a separate hardline to each handset for call capturing back to a server," explains Leach. "With Calabrio, it is all software-based. This means that I can turn all of Calabrio’s features on to any of my 750 handsets anywhere within minutes." During winter storms, the expanded staff can have the same Calabrio-based tools.

"We also gained integration with our CRM," he continues. "We connect each call recording and screen capture to each member’s records."

Finally, it is saving an average of 45 seconds per call (an 18% reduction).

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