Different Companies, Same Story

Mercur Assistance AG Holding and York International may not seem like companies with very much in common. Mercur Assistance is in the business of providing advice and assistance within the health, mobility, and property arenas, and York is a supplier of HVAC systems. No similarities there--but behind the scenes, both companies were facing almost identical dilemmas: They needed a system to mobilize employees and improve customer response quality in the face of unexpected circumstances. With most of its 300-plus employees based within its call center operation, Mercur Assistance runs a 24-hour help-line that caters to more than 250 large organizations. The company recently found itself in need of its own help-line, however, as the volume of daily calls to its medical call center increased. This rapid call upsurge was impairing agent productivity, because call center agents were often unable to completely fulfill initial customer inquiries, adding wasted time with follow-up calls. Agents were spending nearly half their time searching for the appropriate information. The culprit was the lack of a single repository of customer information. Agents had a plethora of information available to them--some 100 different sources. Since each source was stored in a separate repository, however, they had to be searched in succession, rather than concurrently. The inquiry functions, furthermore, varied according to the source, so agents were forced to manually examine any results they found. Clearly, something needed to be done. Mercur's choice was a solution from Autonomy accessed through an internal portal. The technology automatically aggregates, categorizes, personalizes, and delivers real-time, up-to-date information through a single point of entry. York also needed to improve access to information. But in York's case it was its field workers and sales team who required better access. York's challenge, however, wasn't multiple data sources, it was one source that employees were having problems accessing at all. York had been using an enterprise CRM solution that wasn't functioning efficiently because of brief periods of lost network connectivity during a data synch. When the synch was interrupted, the sessions would be cancelled, depriving field workers of time and productivity. Although York built its own autosynch program to refresh information periodically, the question remained as to how it could restore connectivity through coverage gaps. York would have to upgrade the CRM tools, as well as invest at least twice the amount on professional services as it had spent during the initial implementation--not to mention the burden of months of planning, coding, installation, and testing. Instead York turned to NetMotion's Mobility Software, with its ability to keep partial synchs active and to continue functioning once a network became active. Since implementation, the threat of lost connectivity has been obliterated, and York was able extend its CRM application without spending a huge sum on upgrades and professional services. Mercur Assistance also reaped remarkable benefits--like reducing time spent searching for information by 75 percent. Agents now have access to over 150 validated information sources, and can provide higher quality information to the customer upon first call. Time-wasting searches through multiple repositories are no longer an issue, and have resulted in the subsequent elimination of follow-up calls. Duplication of efforts has also been reduced, as agents can access all previous work finished, and average call-handling time has been cut by 35 percent.
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