IBM and Assurant Unveil ‘RAMP’ for Intelligent CSR Call-Routing
March 23, 2010 Alex Woodie
If you’ve ever called a 1-800 number for a company and been frustrated because you have to repeat yourself over and over as you explain why you’re calling to each new customer service representative (CSR) who has the distinct privilege of speaking with you this fine day, then you’re probably wishing the company would install the new Real-Time Analytics Matching Platform (RAMP) appliance jointly unveiled by IBM and Assurant Solutions last week.
Created through the joint collaboration between IBM and Assurant, a developer of risk management solutions for the insurance industry, RAMP is a Unix-based application pre-loaded onto a System p server that uses advanced analytics to match a caller with the “optimal” CSR.
The offering works by analyzing data from previous calls with each particular caller, and determining how long that customer is likely to wait before hanging up and moving her business to the other leading brand. It also identifies CSRs who possess the skill sets and performance level (likely the ability to wrap up a call quickly) that would be the best fit for each particular call, and determines how long the caller must wait in the queue before that CSR becomes available. RAMP performs all these calculations within seconds, which hopefully shaves minutes off the wait times for critical calls, and keeps unhappy customers from getting, well, more unhappy.
There is proven science behind RAMP’s software, which is based on techniques invented and patented by Assurant. The Atlanta, Georgia, company boasts that its call routing technology has increased customer-retention revenue by an average of 37 percent and boosted overall sales revenue by 29 percent in the first five years of use among call-center customers. Those are tantalizing numbers for companies that are struggling to retain customers, who are more willing and able than ever to switch to competitors based on one bad customer service experience.
An IBM spokesman says RAMP today is offered on Unix (meaning AIX), DB2, and WebSphere, and said the company is considering porting it to other, unspecified operating systems. IBM is selling RAMP to companies in the insurance, financial services, and telecommunications industries through its Global Business Services’ business analytics and optimization (BAO) service line.