Case Study: Progressive Building Society

How we helped Progressive Building Society achieve greater efficiency and improve customer service

Problem

Progressive’s branches existed as individual islands of telephony; it was not possible to transfer a call from one branch to another. The inflexibility of the existing, antiquated system hindered staff from delivering optimal customer care over the phone.

One solution would have been for Progressive to centralise its frontline customer service into a few numbers tied to a contact centre, but this would have risked changing the building society’s ethos from friendly and local to a smaller version of the big lenders.

Progressive also had to comply with Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulations to record all customer calls relating to mortgage arrears. Failure to comply could have resulted in a substantial fine, but annual maintenance costs for implementing call recording at 12 separate branches plus Progressive’s HQ would have been prohibitively expensive, adding to already significant operating costs.

Solution

We used storm® to replace Progressive’s entire PBX estate, providing an IP telephony and contact centre platform in the cloud. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) determines the nature of customer enquiries, and Automated Call Distribution governs how calls are passed to agents. The solution gives Progressive all the benefits of centralised management, but allows it to keep all of its local numbers and preserve its local brand character.

As part of the suite of storm services, call recording was deployed across all 13 sites before the FSA deadline came into effect. Recordings have to be kept for three years and storage in the cloud eliminates the need to maintain secure on-site equipment.

Once its fundamental voice requirements were addressed, Progressive explored the possibilities of leveraging storm for enhanced web communications. The next item on the roadmap is a click to call feature allowing users on Progressive’s website to get straight through to an advisor with relevant expertise.

Problem

Progressive’s branches existed as individual islands of telephony; it was not possible to transfer a call from one branch to another. The inflexibility of the existing, antiquated system hindered staff from delivering optimal customer care over the phone.

One solution would have been for Progressive to centralise its frontline customer service into a few numbers tied to a contact centre, but this would have risked changing the building society’s ethos from friendly and local to a smaller version of the big lenders.

Progressive also had to comply with Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulations to record all customer calls relating to mortgage arrears. Failure to comply could have resulted in a substantial fine, but annual maintenance costs for implementing call recording at 12 separate branches plus Progressive’s HQ would have been prohibitively expensive, adding to already significant operating costs.

Solution

We used storm® to replace Progressive’s entire PBX estate, providing an IP telephony and contact centre platform in the cloud. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) determines the nature of customer enquiries, and Automated Call Distribution governs how calls are passed to agents. The solution gives Progressive all the benefits of centralised management, but allows it to keep all of its local numbers and preserve its local brand character.

As part of the suite of storm services, call recording was deployed across all 13 sites before the FSA deadline came into effect. Recordings have to be kept for three years and storage in the cloud eliminates the need to maintain secure on-site equipment.

Once its fundamental voice requirements were addressed, Progressive explored the possibilities of leveraging storm for enhanced web communications. The next item on the roadmap is a click to call feature allowing users on Progressive’s website to get straight through to an advisor with relevant expertise.

Before

After

Progressive’s 13 sites had separate phone lines and aging private branch exchanges, making it difficult for staff to communicate with customers and each other. storm® replaced Progressive’s existing PBXs, rapidly deploying sophisticated telephony functions over its whole estate and allowing free calls between all staff.
Callers could not be routed between sites and staff were hindered from collaborating as the old systems were becoming steadily more unreliable. Calls can be routed seamlessly between branches and staff can see when colleagues are available, enabling them to collaborate more easily.
Opening a centralised contact centre using an on-premise platform would have meant losing local numbers and local brand value, as well as requiring a large capital outlay. Calls are recorded at the touch of a button where necessary. All recordings are stored securely in the cloud and managers can access them from any location.
Progressive was fast approaching the deadline by which it had to comply with UK regulations requiring financial institutions to record certain calls or risk a substantial fine. The cloud model provides the cost efficiency of centralised management without compromising the sense of local customer service essential to the Progressive brand.

“Of all the options we considered, storm® was the only one with a single solution which addressed all of our communications requirements. storm has exceeded all our expectations, unifying what was a disparate telephony estate, while at the same time giving our branches complete control at a local level. Not only was the whole system rolled out rapidly in time to meet a regulatory deadline for call recording, but the solution has continued to deliver increasing benefits and our operational costs have been considerably lower than we forecast.”

Tommy O’Neill – Head of IT, Progressive Building Society

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