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Calling with Assurance

By deploying TVT's contact center solution, BerkshireInsurance.com enhanced customer care services and upped tele-caller productivity by about 20%. By Heena Jhingan

BerkshireInsurance.com India, a non-direct subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., set up its operations in India in 2011. The company currently distributes non-life insurance, specifically automobile insurance, and intends to expand its product offering over time to include other non-life as well as life products.
In the initial years of its India presence, the company had outsourced its calling operations to Hero BPO. Considering, customer care is pivotal for an insurance company, BerkshireInsurance.com realized that they needed to construct their own system, which they could control and evolve as they the business develops.
The company already had PRI and toll-free lines from Tata and BSNL. What they needed next was to streamline the customer relationship management system, and for this they started hunting for a solution provider, who could help them deploy CRM and telephony modules. They zeroed in on Towards Vision Technologies (TVT) to integrate C-Zentrix Trouble Ticketing CRM and C-Zentrix Contact Center Solution. At present the solution supports about 50 tele-callers of BerkshireInsurance.com, and has helped BerkshireInsurance.com streamline its CRM, cut time of quote creation, resulting in upping the employee productivity.
Contrary to a general fad of roping in a large vendor, the BerkshireInsurance.com team chose to work with TVT, a relatively new and lesser known name in the industry. They were aware of the high risk of failure that accompanies such a decision, but the team had clear parameters in mind.
“We were planning for a solution that would be able to support the business for at least a span of three years, the priority was to get a vendor that could take the least deployment time; cost, of course, was another significant factor. Having evaluated some of the big global vendors as well as other players like TVT, we found TVT was the best fit,” explains Arun Balakrishnan, CEO, BerkshireInsurance.com India.

The deployment
When BerkshireInsurance.com approached TVT, it only had a web portal in place which was used by their team to track leads and generate quotes. The company assigned TVT the task of structuring a complete contact center platform fully integrated with their website.
The fact that C-Zentrix Contact Center Solution was a platform - with features like MIS reporting tool, quote generation, interactive voice response system and call queuing mechanism, that any standard contact center solution should have, the real task involved customizing the solution to match Bekshire's business aspirations.
BerkshireInsurance.com being a part of a global conglomerate, demanded solution delivery with set quality benchmarks and stringent time lines. TVT had to put in extra efforts to integrate their solution with the insurance company's various applications in a seamless manner.
Balakrishnan informs that the implementation was completed in July 2011 and since then, the company has been able to handle customers in a more efficient manner. The productivity of the callers has gone up by about 20%. “The efforts are now on to integrate our in-house CRM with TVT's C-Zentrix solution for providing even more enhanced experience to the tele-callers,” he says.

The roadblocks
Working with a new player has its own advantages and perils. And as it turned out, it was more of a benefit than a challenge to have chosen to work with TVT, as per Balakrishnan.
He believes that the best thing about the TVT solution, was that it is easy to use and understand for the company's associates and required only 15 days of training for the users, unlike most other competing solutions that required longer training periods.
Another good thing was that both BerkshireInsurance.com and TVT were learning from each other, and TVT was open to experimenting with innovations to customize its solution to BerkshireInsurance.com's requirements.
Auto barge-in, was one of the most important requirements (as per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) guidelines for insurance companies) that BerkshireInsurance.com had been pressing on. According to the IRDA guidelines, insurance companies must keep a tab on the quality of calls that are made to the customers, and ensure that the agents are not providing misleading information. For this, the companies are expected to have a provision where the senior executives can also be on the call with the agent and interject (or barge in) as and when needed. The authority has mandated that at least 5% of the calls that an insurance agency makes in a day, should be conducted under supervision.
TVT developed an Auto Barge-in tool with the ability to fix the threshold for percentage of calls to be monitored and barged in daily, which helped them comply with the IRDA regulations. The advanced trouble ticketing CRM  integrating with the quote generation on the BerkshireInsurance.com's web portal, became a major way of automating their complete customer handling and follow-up for their products.
The solution was further customized to push e-mails with approvals, which means the e-mails would not just be bombarded to the customers, they will follow a trailer of users. Some tweaking was required at the front- end as well.
Initially, there were rough patches when both BerkshireInsurance.com and TVT would think how to go about tackling a problem, and there were random incidents of call drops and server downtime. However, things smoothened out within days of implementation.
Balakrishnan says that at the moment, the company does not intend to expand to other cities or locations. But if it ever does, he says, it will not be averse to working with TVT.

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