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“Our customers are thrilled to have choices, and our agents love not hearing complaints about the hold time.”

Pablo Irizarry, Customer Service Manager

Company

In operation for more than 115 years, Banco Popular of Puerto Rico is Popular, Inc.’s main subsidiary and the largest commercial bank in Puerto Rico. It off­ers individual and business clients a wide variety of financial products and services. It also off­ers the most extensive and complete distribution network in Puerto Rico, with 196 branches, over 480 ATMs, more than 28,400 point of sale terminals, Internet banking, and a contact center.

34 years of hold time saved in one year

2.7 minute drop in Average Speed of Answer

Challenge

Banco Popular didn’t become Puerto Rico’s largest bank without focusing on the experience of its customers. Open 24 hours a day/7 days a week, the Banco Popular contact center is dedicated to providing the best customer service for its commercial, customer service, Internet banking, Premia credit card, and sales lines of business.

“We really had a problem because we were understa­ted and our queue times were just too long,” said Pablo Irizarry, Banco Popular’s customer service manager. “Our average speed of answer (ASA) was sometimes 5 to 10 minutes, causing high abandons and frustrated customers. We simply weren’t meeting our goals.”

According to Irizarry, Banco Popular tries to maintain a service level of answering 70% of calls within 20 seconds and an abandon level under 5%. In late 2006, Banco Popular wasn’t meeting its goals.

Solution

“As a premier bank, we have a passion for customer service,” Irizarry said. “When we don’t meet our customer service goals, we’re frustrating our customers, which is never good. I started to do some web research to see what our options were.”

After a little time on the Internet, Irizarry discovered the software solution from VHT. VHT develops innovative technology that helps contact centers manage hold time for their customers through educating and empowering the center’s customers. VHT worked with Banco Popular to design a custom solution that includes the ASAP Callback and Scheduled Callback:

ASAP Callback is the core of the VHT solution that announces the wait time, saves a caller’s place in line, and calls them back when it’s their turn, in the time promised. Scheduled Callback supplies added functionality to the VHT solution through the ability for callers to schedule appointments for up to seven days in the future.

“Implementation of VHT was pretty smooth and pretty fast given the complexity of the system,” Irizarry said. “We’re looking at expanding the capacity of the system right now.”

Real results

“VHT really gives us an advantage as we’re the only financial institution in Puerto Rico to have it,” Irizarry said. “Our customers are thrilled to have choices, and our agents love not hearing complaints about the hold time.”

Implemented in early 2007, VHT began treating callers immediately. Initially, about 35% of callers chose the VHT Callback instead of waiting on hold – saving the equivalent of 6.5 years of hold time.

“In 2008, we expanded VHT’s footprint in our contact center,” Irizarry said. “As we expanded VHT and as our customers became more comfortable with the new technology, we saw more callers choose the callback.”

In 2008, VHT treated more than 2 million Banco Popular callers, which is 44% of the callers who were offered a callback, and saved Banco Popular customers the equivalent of 34 years of hold time. Additionally, the center saw a drop in ASA from 5.3 minutes to 2.6 minutes during peak call volume.

“VHT diff­erentiates Banco Popular from the competition,” Irizarry said, “and I can’t emphasize enough the impact it’s had on our customer service.”

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