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Avaya Customer Service Technologies Help Businesses Gain Strategic Advantage in Tough Economic Times


A broad range of businesses – from transportation to government to direct marketing – are choosing Avaya customer service solutions to gain a strategic advantage during challenging economic times.

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – A broad range of businesses – from transportation to government to direct marketing – are choosing Avaya customer service solutions to gain a strategic advantage during challenging economic times.


Three organizations using contact center technologies from Avaya – the leader in the contact center market - to deliver superior customer service include American Automobile Association (AAA) Mid-Atlantic, the government of the City of Indianapolis and direct marketing giant Harte Hanks (NYSE:HHS). These organizations are taking advantage of innovative contact center capabilities – such as home-based agents, reporting and analytics, and speech-automated self service – to ensure customer satisfaction continues to rise, even in an economic slowdown.
AAA Mid-Atlantic Rides Agent Efficiency to Customer Service Success
Even as gas prices and traveler frustrations rise, AAA Mid-Atlantic's customer service operation remains a smooth running machine. This is due to a 24/7 customer service solution from Avaya that AAA Mid-Atlantic relies on to deliver fast and reliable service in any traveling season, with an eye on cost-savings.


"We deal with all types of calls, from insurance and vacation planning to emergencies that require an immediate response," said AAA Mid-Atlantic CIO, Dominic Grosso. "Flat tires, dead batteries and accidents necessitate customer service that can handle a large volume of roadside assistance calls all year round. When drivers have a problem, it’s our goal to get them back on the road fast, and Avaya helps us do this."


More than 95 percent of AAA Mid-Atlantic member calls are answered by an agent in less than 30 seconds, a factor that has led to AAA Mid-Atlantic's 90 percent membership renewal rate, one of the organization's highest. This was achieved while using an Avaya contact center solution that reduced the number of facilities, resources and costs, without sacrificing quality of service.


"We have a huge fleet of tow trucks," adds Grosso. "So like everyone else, gas prices are impacting us and we need to be smart about how we spend money."


To introduce new efficiencies, Avaya helped AAA Mid-Atlantic consolidate five contact centers down to just two. They also introduced home-based agents who could work at home providing various functions - such as roadside assistance, insurance counsel and travel agent services - using sophisticated Avaya contact center technology.


Enabling agents to have a flexible workplace drives increased agent productivity and retention, and drives down expenses by reducing hiring and training costs, as well as reliance on brick and mortar facilities. This ultimately leads to a smarter, more efficient customer service operation.


City of Indianapolis: As Budgets Tighten, Customer Service Still Rises
The government of Indianapolis, Indiana oversees a broad range of agencies, including the Office of Finance & Management, citizen hotlines, Public Safety, and the Marion County Superior Courts. To meet the administration's goal of improving citizen experiences – even as city budgets tighten – Indianapolis selected an Avaya customer service solution with a sophisticated reporting and analytics application, Avaya IQ.


Avaya IQ is key to helping the City of Indianapolis gain a strategic advantage during an economic slowdown. It provides a full view of what is occurring across contact centers supporting various agencies, so the right changes and investments can be made to optimize customer service.


"We are always looking for ways to improve customer service," said Giesla Schepers, telecom manager, City of Indianapolis.  "With Avaya IQ, we can see which agencies are serving customers effectively, and where improvements are needed. This helps us better allocate resources for improving customer service."


Additionally, Avaya IQ is helping the city of Indianapolis fine-tune agent responsiveness and productivity. "Now, we can easily track down and rectify problematic agent behaviors," says Schepers. "Depending on what a supervisor sees – like an agent hanging up excessively, or putting customers on hold for too long – Avaya IQ can identify that behavior, and drill down to learn the details. Avaya IQ eliminates the guesswork, and provides the data to back it up."


The City of Indianapolis plans to introduce even higher levels of responsiveness in the future. According to Schepers, they envision using Avaya technology to help them provide follow-up calls to citizens, so if someone calls to complain about a pothole, for example, the person will be called back automatically once it is fixed. 


Direct Marketing Giant Harte Hanks Uses Self Service for Speed and Savings
Harte Hanks, the worldwide direct marketing company, provides FORTUNE 500® clients with global contact center solutions encompassing key functions such as lead generation, customer care, and technical support. Success to Harte Hanks means helping clients realize a substantial return on their marketing investments.


To ensure customer service remains fast and effective in tough economic times, Harte Hanks uses a range of Avaya contact center solutions, including self service, which lets customers navigate a company’s phone by themselves to get to the right information or live agent. Self service improves both customer satisfaction and cost savings through faster, more accurate interactions, and more efficient use of agents.


Speech self service – which lets customers speak commands to an automated system via phone – enables Harte Hanks to provide their clients with a unique servicing capability. One of their large shipping clients uses speech self service to help customers quickly provide information, and get to the live agent best equipped to handle their request. This enables customers to spend less time on the phone or talking to agents, increasing customer satisfaction while reducing the company's cost of labor. Ultimately, speedy self service allows agents to handle more customer requests in the same amount of time. 


"The great thing about Avaya's self service technologies is that you don't have to break the bank to be effective," said Kris Klein in Corporate Technology Services at Harte Hanks. "We can be smart with technology to help our clients keep customers happy, while keeping overall costs down."


Harte Hanks also makes the most of the Web to raise customer satisfaction in a cost-effective way. Since the last economic downturn, Klein states that the Web has grown to become an excellent self-service medium that customers are comfortable using. Instant feedback via downloaded PDFs or FAQs means reducing costs that would otherwise be incurred by lengthy agent conversations or postage for mailing materials. This drives bottom line savings, while contributing to a sophisticated database of Web-based customers that only gets more accurate the more customers use it.


"Extending self service via the Web, we helped a game console provider build a knowledge database over 5 years," said Klein. "Our customer service ratings with them are very high, and this is due to Avaya self service helping deliver fast, accurate information for people that demand instant gratification. Even in tough times, clients want to see customer satisfaction levels trend upward – and they hold us accountable."


About Avaya
Avaya delivers Intelligent Communications solutions that help companies transform their businesses to achieve marketplace advantage. More than 1 million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®, use Avaya solutions for IP Telephony, Unified Communications, Contact Centers and Communications-Enabled Business Processes. Avaya Global Services provides comprehensive service and support for companies, small to large. For more information visit the Avaya Web site:


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