UK investments company Prudential has implemented a £750,000 multi-channel customer contact system from Aspect Communications as the centre piece of its new 100-seat stakeholder pensions centre.
Prudential intends to use the Aspect Contact Server to provide an integrated and interactive service to customers over a variety of communications channels, including phone, Web and eventually interactive digital TV (iDTV).
The contract underpins Prudential’s investment in stakeholder pensions, a UK government scheme aimed at encouraging people who would not normally have a personal pension to make their own provisions.
Roger Kemp, Director & CIO, Prutech, the IT specialist division of Prudential, says the government-mandated one per cent limit on charges for stakeholder pensions presents big challenges. "In order to reduce costs, we have had to redesign our processes, automating as much as possible," he says "Aspect will enable us to use new technology such as the Internet and iDTV as a means of distribution, and also improve our service and cost-effectiveness."
Under the Prudential scheme, customers will initially be able to administer their pension using the Internet. Via Prudential’s Web site, they will be able to apply for a stakeholder pension, set and change their payment levels, or where their payments are invested, and monitor the value of their pension.
Over the coming year, Prudential plans to introduce a number of additional services, says Kemp, including a "call me" button that will link into the contact centre and set up dynamic, real-time Web chat sessions. Prudential staff will have synchronous access to the Web page the customer is viewing, for example if a customer is trying to fill in a form and then has a question.
Paul Tollan, managing director, Aspect UK comments: "The ability to link self service with human agents is essential. If people can't ask simple questions they won't complete the transaction, or they will go somewhere else."
Kemp says Prudential is looking at how it can extend its use of the Aspect Contact Server to other areas of the business.