ADCB strengthens client relations with Al Murshid

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has opened the doors to its Al Murshid contact centre, built to strengthen customer relationships.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  January 29, 2004

|~|Dickens_m.jpg|~||~|Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has opened the doors to its Al Murshid contact centre. Built to strengthen customer relationships and provide clients with a 24x7 service, the centre utilises a range of technologies from Avaya, Cisco and HP. Currently home to 20 agents, the contact centre’s primary functions revolve around enquiry handling and processing. However, as it gains critical mass, the centre will become a business unit capable of boosting the bank’s bottom line by cross and up selling a range of financial products to clients. “ADCB is several months into a complete restructuring that will see us virtually reinvent the bank. Customers are going to see re-branding, a restructuring of the non-customer related activities and branches being turned into sales and service centres,” says Steven Dickens, ADCB’s chief operations officer. “The whole initiative is about customer service and making ADCB more appealing to customers. Providing a contact centre is a first step towards making us more in tune with [our customer’s] needs. The message is that we do care about our customers and consider them to be important,” he explains. Housed in a dedicated facility, the contact centre runs on Avaya Interaction Centre (AIC) software. It comprises a range of management modules for voice, e-mail and web, along with various programmes for intelligently routing, reporting and analysing calls and data. The software sits on a cluster of three Compaq DL 580 and three Compaq DL 380 servers, while an Avaya Definity PABX is integrated with the contact centre application and ADCB’s IVR solution to accelerate communication with branches and enhance the user experience. The Al Murshid centre has also been equipped with four pairs of Gigabit speed CAT 6 local area network (LAN) cables. Other network components include Cisco 2950 T 24 ports; switch fast Ethernet with a Cisco 2610 X M router and a leased line connection of 2M/bits/s. The latter links the Avaya contact centre application to the bank’s computer room, which houses ADCB’s key customer and transaction processing systems. “The contact centre has been all kitted out from new. We have revamped the whole telephone banking system into the bargain and reinstalled the IVR. All of the equipment the agents are using is brand new, as is the software,” says Dickens. As ADCB is in the process of switching its core banking system from Capbanc to i-flex solutions’ Flexcube offering, the contact centre currently accesses customer data through an inhouse application called Oasis, which is integrated with the AIC through a series of application programme interfaces (APIs). This allows agents to view account and card details for customers on screen, as well as routing data updates to the application systems. “We didn’t want to wait until the core banking system had been replaced to start initiatives like the contact centre because it is still able to provide a valuable service to the customers,” says Dickens. “However, when we have deployed Flexcube, we will have an even more complete view of the customer and their full relationship with the bank, which will help improve our services and offerings yet further,” he adds. As the bank deploys an increased amount of technology to help deliver on its customer-centric vision, the contact centre will play an increasingly important role. For instance, it will help ADCB cleanse data as it is transferred to the Flexcube core banking system. Additionally, the contact centre will help ADCB promote and sell the range of financial services and products it intends to introduce to the local market following its reinvention. “Although the contact centre is currently fielding enquiries and basic account related transactions, such as the blocking of cards, activation of new cards and PINs, in the fullness of time it will become more proactive and begin promoting and cross selling products,” Dickens says. Although the infrastructure work surrounding the Al Murshid centre is complete, ADCB has much work to do to build a computing environment capable of running Flexcube and ensuring the bank uses it to its full potential. As such, Cedar Consulting and the inhouse IT team are planning, evaluating and implementing a range of technologies. On the network side, the bank has decided to retain its existing Etisalat frame relay network and Cisco routers. However, it will increase the capacity of both to cater for the additional requirements of Flexcube, provide greater e-mail connectivity and permit more advanced information distribution techniques, such as soft copy reporting and access to data warehouse applications. “Depending on surveyed requirements, we envisage having certain legs of the network running at 1Mbits/s with the standard being 512Kbits/s. However, this configuration might be varied, depending on decisions yet to be taken about the feasibility and desirability of moving to central clustered servers,” explains Dickens. “The disaster recovery arrangements that will be used with iflex include a fibre optic link with satellite back up from the production centre to the hot disaster recovery/business continuity site for realtime data replication,” he continues. In terms of hardware, ADCB is finalising its requirements and was completing product walk throughs at the time of going to press. However, regardless of which products are selected, Dickens is committed to running the bank’s overhauled computing environment centrally, to facilitate easier management and closer alignment with ADCB’s workflows. “There will be a lot of Unix servers, a storage area network and so on. It will be a fairly heavy duty architecture but it will give us an opportunity to consolidate what we have got spread across the branches and invest in the size of the network rather than the hardware itself,” he says. “Furthermore, by centralising operations and putting them into a factory where they can be preformed more accurately by expert staff, we will be able to achieve tremendous economies of scale. This reduces error levels and improves customer service, which is what this is all about,” Dickens adds.||**||

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