N.E.W. Customer Service Companies, Inc. (N.E.W),
founded in 1983, is a privately held, independent third party administrator of extended service plans, buyer
protection services and product support programs. Based in Dulles, Virginia their operations consist of five contact centers across the United States.
N.E.W., a leading innovator in the contact center industry, strives to continually raise the standards for customer care with many 'firsts' to its credit. N.E.W. was the first service plan administrator to be certified by J. D. Powers and Associates for delivering "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience." They were the first service contract administrator to fully insure the buyer protection obligations of consumer service contracts, the first retail administrator to offer 24x7 customer service and the only service contract provider to hold a patent on packaged extended service contracts. N.E.W programs generate over $1.2 billion a year in incremental revenue for their clients.
In a continuing effort to optimize operational efficiency as well as improve service levels and further enhance the customer experience, N.E.W. focused on significantly
reducing Average Handle Time (AHT) for a specified
group of Technical and Customer Service Representatives (TCSR) in four nationwide call centers.
These 850 TCSR's supported an industry-leading
communications and entertainment company. N.E.W.
determined that they could realize savings that would
amount to thousands of dollars per year for every second AHT was reduced. When Cicero, an application
integration technology, was introduced, a cost-benefit
analysis determined that an acceptable return on
investment would require a twenty four (24) second
reduction in AHT.
Since N.E.W. typically provides 24x7 outsourced call center services for many large customers in the retail, manufacturing, financial and utility sectors, business
applications running on multiple platforms are not readily accessible. This means that any sort of application integration that required modification to the business applications would be nearly impossible.
N.E.W. needed a non-invasive, flexible and scalable integration approach that would deliver quick results.
N.E.W. and Cicero Team Up
Within three days the team was able to:
Perform a comprehensive analysis of the technical platforms and functional use of business applications and processes in their call centers
Develop a Findings Report detailing where efficiencies and related savings could be achieved, and
Develop a Conceptual Design illustrating the integration approach.
Once the findings were reviewed and discussed, N.E.W requested that the solution be deployed and in production within seven weeks. With Cicero, Inc.'s guarantee of projected savings, a cross-functional project team was formed and work began on the
design, testing and implementation of the integrated solution.
Integration in Seven Weeks
During the seven week timeframe the Cicero team:
Trained N.E.W. personnel to use the Cicero noninvasive integration environment, Cicero Studio
Designed and developed an Cicero-based integrated
workstation Assisted with the development of internal
Supported a rigorous system test and pilot phase
Assisted with the deployment of the final integrated
The project was delivered on time and on budget with a
core team of five N.E.W. and Cicero integration specialists. The solution was then implemented and
validated according to the project goals.
Cicero Delivers Value
The goal was to develop and deliver an integrated workstation that would:
Reduce AHT by twenty four seconds or more
Minimize disruption to the call center agents
Require minimal training
Increase agent satisfaction
Meet an aggressive project schedule and insure a successful ROI
The Bottom Line
The Cicero team exceeded N.E.W.'s expectations by:
Reducing AHT by at least 30 seconds per call and in some cases, as much as 40 seconds per call
Developing an integrated workstation that greatly reduced data entry and simplified application
Delivering an integrated workstation that required less than two hours of agent training
Creating an integrated workstation that was positively received by the call center agents
Completing the project on time and on budget.
N.E.W. expects the overall savings to be in the high six figures with an ROI in six months or less.
N.E.W. is currently evaluating their other outsourced call center groups to determine where Cicero can
provide similar benefits.