• April 1, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

The 2008 CRM Service Awards: Elite -- JPMorgan Chase Card Services

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so you think your contact centers are busy? Each of JPMorgan Chase Card Services' 4,000 agents worldwide field up to 120 calls a day, totaling close to 200 million contacts a year. With a booming customer base -- over 100 million -- and increased competition, it became critical for the company to look at customer interactions in new ways. Customers are life to a company such as Chase, and senior executives -- from the CEO on down -- regularly review customer call recordings to keep a finger on the pulse of that life. First-call resolution (FCR) is the medicine to keep the pressure down. Much of the difficulty with achieving FCR came from hiccups in company policy, according to Deborah Walden, executive vice president, customer care, Chase Card Services. One example -- balance transfers -- was particularly heinous. Agents could only process them when the customer was calling from home; the fee structure kept changing; and, worst of all, the company was offering heavy incentives for agents to increase transfer rates and average handling time for balance-transfer calls. Agents were juggling the calls for low-limit customers to increase their credit limit, to do the balance transfer, and hold the call during the transfer so as to not to lose the customer. Improving FCR rates required two things. The first was to change how agents were coached. The second was to use technology to unite information from various sources to analyze FCR rates not just by agent, but by call reason, average hold time, channel, and a number of other metrics. To address the first requirement, managers were mandated to spend 90 percent of their time coaching agents. For the second, Chase partnered with Enkata. Enkata's On-Demand Performance and Talent Management solution gave the card services department a tracking and reporting system that worked. "We focus on rework and repeat calls, specifically reducing them," says Dave Stamm, president and CEO of Enkata. "Enkata identifies repeat-call sequences and makes the information actionable." Walden notes there will always be situations in which customers do call back. Disputed charges, for instance, will often take multiple contacts. "Customers call us to notify us they no longer want to dispute a charge they had previously called us to dispute," Walden says. "They may receive a credit from the merchant or they now remember the transaction." Other cases, such as finding out about an offer during a service call and wanting to think about it first, also would require multiple touches. In addition to sorting calls to increase contact center efficiency, Enkata's software tracks coaching-session activity and performance improvement shown by the agents most in need. That information is visible to managers, but also to the agents themselves. "Because we took the great reports we had and drove [that] to the rep level, they each know their FCR rate -- not just overall, but by type of call," Walden says. "Each agent can see exactly where they have to improve." Of course, technology only enables high performance; it's the desire to succeed that makes it a reality. "Our employees want to do a great job," Walden says. "Enkata brought us a level of reporting that allows them to achieve that." Within 90 days of the deployment, 30 percent of the outlier agents (those whose performance was not up to the norm) "graduated" to an acceptable FCR rate. Six months after deploying Enkata, call volume had decreased by 8.3 percent, even though the number of active accounts had increased by 5.2 percent. JPMorgan Chase is also seeing efficiencies in areas such as reporting consolidation, coaching tracking, and call-reasoning efficiency. By switching to automated call reasoning, the company estimates saving an average of two seconds per contact to tag a call reason. Does two seconds sound insignificant? Well, it translates to $2.5 million in savings per year. That's worth the chase. Key Results: JPMorgan Chase Card Services
  • 30 percent of underperforming agents achieved acceptable first-call resolution within 90 days
  • Call volume decreased 8.3 percent despite a 5.2 percent increase in total active accounts
  • Average handle time decreased by two seconds per call, for a savings of $2.5 million
  • Agent turnover decreased and morale improved [Please Note: To see the 2008 Service Awards Issue's full table of contents, please click here.]
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