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Santander uses WITNESS simulation software from Lanner to change call routing and skill balances to optimise customer service excellence

Customer contact centres are critical to Santander’s strategy. Maintaining excellence at 6 primary sites with more than 2000 agents, and correctly routing calls is challenging! Santander explain how they changed call routing and skill balances to optimise customer service excellence. Using simulation, they modelled changes within a risk-free environment, allowing them to understand and explore complexities.

The bank’s public commitment to delivering superior customer service via a high quality call centre system, coupled with the strength and reputation of a brand built over thirty-five years, made the elimination of potential flaws to this service absolutely essential.

By choosing WITNESS and Lanner, Santander’s Resource Team and Strategic Telecomms department were able to fully assess the impact of any improvements and process changes before they took place in a ‘real world’ environment, supporting and putting confidence into the multi-million pound decision making process.

“Using WITNESS and with Lanner’s support we have been able to optimise our call routing. Simply, we can now handle more calls using the same resource through better call routing and spreading the load across our resource and geographical sites”.

“Customer retention is absolutely key to our success and as an organisation we’re dedicated to delivering an ‘easy to use and appealing experience’ as opposed to an uninspiring and unsatisfactory automated help line. To ensure this, we closely observe our internal processes and performance with regard to call routing across our key sites to make sure that any waiting that our customers experience to speak to an operator is kept to an absolute minimum. This is in conjunction with making sure our teams and telephony service work together to deliver maximum efficiency and handle as many calls as possible,” 

Andy Powell, Telephony Technology Manager at Santander

Andy Powell is no stranger to WITNESS simulation technology from Lanner, having seen it work in a similar landscape some years before. By predicting the outcome of process change, both technical and employee, WITNESS would allow Santander to compare and contrast the outcome of multiple call routing scenarios prior to potentially costly, time-consuming and disruptive implementation.

He continues: 

“We work to ensure that each customer is dealt with quickly and efficiently by the agents most knowledgeable on that particular subject, be it loans or current accounts, for example, so that the customer experience is seamless and hassle free. Routing the right calls to the right department as efficiently as possible via an advanced telephony system such as ours called for a sophisticated modelling tool that could ‘predict’ the outcome of various process improvement scenarios.

Lanner offered a unique solution that is flexible, accurate, visual and rapid, to ensure we could make the best decisions and changes first time reducing the risk of any unexpected outcomes in the live environment. Tactical changes can be modelled first and prospective ‘knee jerk’ reactions to problems can be dealt with in a calm, controlled and consistent manner.”

To enhance its call routing service, the Resource Team and Strategic Telecomms department could model increasing the agent ‘head-count’, employ the services of an outsource company, make changes to the telephony system itself or allocate a dedicated ring fence team from the existing staff base. WITNESS could handle the complex scenario of hundreds of employees possessing different skills, dealing with many different products and based all over the UK.

Using historical data from multiple sites, WITNESS was able to forecast the statistical outcome around each change proposal in the form of hard, accurate data. In addition, it also had the capability of modelling the data visually, allowing the board team to fully appreciate the impact of each change proposal.

Santander are continuing to use WITNESS to better manage both multi-site and internal calls.

“Using WITNESS and with Lanner’s support we have been able to optimise our call routing. Simply, we can now handle more calls using the same resource through better call routing and spreading the load across our resource and geographical sites. 

We can test ‘what if?’ scenarios before we incur telephony costs for any changes. Indeed, this has now become part of our agreed policies for major telephony change programmes.” 

Steve Burton, Senior Manager of Strategic Telecommunications.

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