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Mortgage Banker Revamps Call Center

American Home Mortgage Holdings is upgrading its three call centers with a PBX and contact center package from Alcatel.

American Home Mortgage Holdings, an independent retail mortgage banker, is upgrading its three call centers with a private branch exchange (PBX) and contact center package from Alcatel, a Calabasas, California-based technology firm.

American Home Mortgage Holdings originates and sells mortgage loans through its Web site, a leader in online closed loan volume that has outperformed its online competitors in terms of profitability. Offline, the company has grown organically and by mortgage company acquisition and now has 131 community loan offices across the country.

The bricks-and-clicks strategy combines convenience of online loan application with the personal contact with traditional loan officers to deliver better customer service and greater productivity in the workplace.

A distributed virtual contact center will provide the lender with redundancy to ensure maximum uptime for customers.

"We can overflow calls from one center to another in the event of a volume spike, natural disaster or power failure," said Chris Cavaco, chief information officer at Melville, N.Y.-based American Home Mortgage Holdings. "With the virtual contact center, we can also spread call center agents across different United States time zones to more effectively increase our hours of service."

American Home currently uses the Alcatel Contact Center Interactive Voice Response (CCIVR) to provide callers with fast and easy access to information and services. The IVR system integrates with a Microsoft SQL customer database so callers can be routed to an agent they have talked to previously or an appropriate agent by entering their account information or telephone number. With skills-based routing, new callers can be routed to agents with the right skill requirements based on language skills and location.

"In a high-touch industry such as mortgage banking, it is important for customers to reach live agents regardless of the method of communication-telephone, e-mail, text chat or Web collaboration," said Tom Wilburn, general manager, Alcatel North America enterprise business. Alcatel and New York-based ComforceTelecom worked together to deploy the OmniPCX 4400 network for American Home.

Alcatel's contact center solution allows companies like American Home Mortgage to easily extend customer service to the Internet with its multimedia capabilities and expand customer support with a flexible contact center platform, he added.

By utilizing the automated e-mail distribution component, American Home offers consumers the convenience of contacting a live agent from its Web site. Consumers can request for the appropriate agent to follow up by e-mail or by telephone.

An intuitive management tool also allows supervisors to have a global view of the e-mail contacts along with other media to monitor service level and productivity.

In addition to financial firms, Alcatel has delivered its standards-based IP communications solutions to government agencies, healthcare facilities, educational institutions and small, medium and large businesses in over 130 countries.

The company also markets network switching infrastructures, security appliances and IP telephony applications.

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