Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Chicago Bank Slashes Customer Waiting Periods

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Chicago Bank Slashes Customer Waiting Periods

Article excerpt

Part of LaSalle National Bank's campaign to improve telephone customer service levels has resulted in a dramatic reduction in waiting time, particularly in the wire transfer department. The Chicago-based bank, with $7.3 billion in assets, handles around 200 wire transfer requests per day, mostly from middle-market commercial customers.

Account officers at the bank passed along to the wire transfer department such complaints from their customers as having to wait 20 minutes for their call to be taken.

"Well, they weren't waiting 20 minutes, but when you're on hold, it sure feels like 20 minutes," says Cathy Enterline, LaSalle's wire transfer manager. Research into the problem did reveal an average wait time of about two minutes. LaSalle investigated the call waiting time at competitors' wire transfer departments and found that the average wait was 30 seconds.

Call management options

But monitoring average waiting times in the department was cumbersome, notes Enterline, because she depended on reports from the bank's telephone system, which wouldn't arrive until a day after the monitoring took place. A consultant was hired by the bank to help sort out customerservice improvement options in 1992. By the end of the year, the wire transfer department had decided on and installed a telemanagernent system, called Call Center Solutions, from Chadbourn Marcath, Inc., Chicago.

The system tracks call information supplied by an automatic call distribution system and provides real-time, concise reports on the status of customer service. It helps supervisors measure agent performance and displays information regarding calls yet to be serviced. Two television monitors display queue statistics to the entire department, so that agents know themselves the number of calls still waiting for assistance. …

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