Chubb Insurance eyes IP telephony enhancements

Chubb Insurance Company of Canada plans to add cellular capability to its IP telephony deployment and introduce remote handling and recording of calls.

The company was on hand this week at a presentation from Avaya Canada outlining its product roadmap for 2008. An Avaya customer for eight years, the company has managed to shave off eight seconds per call since deploying the system, according to Jason Potter, assistant vice-president, technology services manager, for Chubb.

Chubb originally deployed an intelligent IP telephony-based solution from the company to allow its call centre customer representatives to better serve Chubb customers.

An aging system was a large part of the impetus to upgrade, Potter said.

“We wanted the same applications in our Toronto location as our Montreal office,” he said. “The agents were having different experiences.” Also, Chubb’s call centre reports were “very manual, and we needed to improve them.” Customers were often being asked for their identification numbers more than once on the same call, Potter added.

The new setup has also resulted in more intelligent routing of calls, allowing inquiries to get to the right representative in a shorter amount of time.

Remote handling of calls and the recording of calls will allow Chubb to better monitor the performance of attendants as well as for legal purposes, Potter said.

As for Avaya, the firm intends to launch a new unified communications client in 2008 and continue to tie its technologies to the business decision-making process.

Offered in three different packages with different prices, Avaya’s UC offerings are suites of communications applications including telephony, messaging, conferencing and mobility, which are bundled to allow organizations to deliver applications to various devices based on end-user needs. Deskbound, roaming, teleworker and roadwarrior tools are combined in each version with varying degrees of depth. The Advanced Edition offers integrated audio and Web conferencing.

The products aim to capitalize on corporate users’ tendency to use multiple communication mechanisms — e-mail, voice, instant messaging, for example — and fuse their capabilities into one platform and thus ease the management of so many different types of messages.

“It has to be reliable and secure, and useable on a mission-critical basis,” said Allan Mendelsohn, senior manager, Unified Communications Product Marketing for Avaya Canada.

Also touted at the briefing was Avaya’s concept that attempts to tie its communications technologies with business goals and the decision-making process. Dubbed Communications Enabled Business Processes, the concept is described as a holistic combination of software consulting and support services that integrate the company’s communication products into a customer’s business processes, making it possible to sense in real-time and then “orchestrate” and track enterprise-wide actions, and thus create a more responsive organization.

“This is the evolution of unified communications and contact centre solutions,” said Avaya Canada president Mario Belanger during his opening address.

Analyst Roberta Fox from Fox Group Consulting pointed out that a key to Avaya’s future success will be engaging its reseller community to help customers implement what can often be complex technologies – which also require significant people challenges within corporations.

“They are investing in educating their channels so that the partners are the ones dealing with the end customers,” said Fox. “So rather than trying to do it all as the manufacturer, they are either restructuring the channels, going after new channels or pushing it over to them. You can’t make those kinds of products and then understand all the different types of businesses and all the different scenarios.”