Magazine article American Banker

Wachovia Using Live Chat to Facilitate Web Applications

Magazine article American Banker

Wachovia Using Live Chat to Facilitate Web Applications

Article excerpt

Wachovia Corp. is using Internet chat and "co-browsing" technology from Kana Software Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., to help its online customers complete mortgage applications.

The Charlotte banking company, which announced its use of the technology Monday and has set its sights on becoming a top 10 mortgage lender, said the platform lets it offer a higher degree of hands-on assistance and collect more data on the difficulties online users have during the application process.

Customers filling out applications on Wachovia's Web site can use the chat tool to contact a mortgage loan counselor, who is usually available within seconds.

Additionally, customers can use a link to let the counselor watch them fill out the form. H.A. Schade, the vice president of product management at Kana, said counselors can highlight areas of importance on the form and fill out parts if the customer gives them permission.

Wachovia started a three-month pilot test of the program in September with four counselors. The number of counselors rose to six several months ago.

Joan Sommerer, a vice president and strategic solutions manager at Wachovia, said the site had hosted about 3,000 chats as of the end of April. The frequency of the chats has increased as the option has been displayed more prominently on the site, she said.

Currently chats are used only for home purchase and refinance forms, but Wachovia is working to start using it for home equity loans this month, when it will also increase the number of counselors to 10. …

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