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ContactPartners has allowed the Halifax to
generate an extra £0.5 million in premium income from the sale of
regulated products through its direct channels division in under a
year, and provides a seamless link between its web site and contact
When Halifax began selling regulated products via direct
channels in February 2007 it was determined to take an integrated
approach. "We wanted to pursue a 'joined up' channel strategy that
would allow our customers to pass seamlessly between the internet
and our telephone based sales teams," explains Head of Regulated
Telephone Sales, Simon Wassell.
Clicktocall capability was already in use across several other
divisions of Halifax and its parent, HBOS, was introduced in autumn
2007 to provide click-through connectivity between the Internet and
the bank's regulated sales contact centre operation in Leeds. "It
has proved invaluable," says Simon. "Before its introduction we
were aware that sales opportunities were being lost because people
failed to complete their transactions online. The option to connect
directly to an agent via ContactPartners' clicktocall technology
sidesteps that failure and gives us the opportunity to save the
sale. In under a year, it has allowed us to secure around £0.5
million in premium income."
Saving the sale
Conversion rates have been impressively high. Introduced
first to support Halifax's Guaranteed Growth Bond and, more
recently, its equity based ISAs, ContactPartners has delivered
sales conversion rates of over 40%. "That's similar to the
results we achieve through our telephone channel," says Simon.
But with one important difference. "Our telephone
channel deals only with existing ISA holders. Since they are
only being invited to top up an existing investment, one would
expect the conversion rate to be higher than average. By
contrast, 75% of the enquiries that come via our internet channel
are from new customers. Given those circumstances, the
conversion rate is, indeed, impressive."
Managing time - catching the sale
ContactPartners' technology has proved particularly useful
during the peak ISA selling period between February and April.
As sales enquiries escalate dramatically, the number of calls
increases more than 10 fold. The clicktocall technology
allows customers to schedule a call at a time that's convenient to
them, rather than calling the centre and risking delays or queues.
"Of course we still have to make sure that agents are
available to make those calls," says Simon, "but even across the
busiest selling periods we have been able to do so, secure in the
knowledge that the call will be made at the appropriate time.
That translates, quite simply, into great customer
The ability to schedule calls is one of ContactPartners'
greatest strengths. The Halifax contact centre is open from
8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturday, but
careful use of the call scheduling facility means that Halifax's
sales window remains open even when its contact centre is closed.
"We've designed the call request form so that, if someone is
surfing our site outside of hours and requests a call back, they'll
be invited to schedule it for a time when we're open. The
sales opportunity is firmly secured and the customer's expectations
are managed from the outset," affirms Simon.
Halifax has clear plans to increase the use of its direct
channels for the sale of regulated products. Three new products
will be introduced to the Halifax's portfolio later this year and
plans are currently being developed to make them available on line,
supported with the clicktocall facility. "With these new products
we will be firmly engaged in new customer acquisition, where we
believe clicktocall can offer greatest value," says Simon with
Furthermore, Halifax is working with ContactPartner's management
to extend the use of clicktocall to the price comparison sites that
are fast becoming a key feature of the sales landscape for
ContactPartners' Director, Russ Hopcraft, explains "We're
investigating how, by placing the clicktocall icon alongside our
clients' offerings on price comparison sites, we can encourage
customers to make direct contact. Our contacts at Halifax,
recognising that this could give them a strong competitive edge,
are working closely with us on this project."
The service will deliver a clear win-win for Halifax and the
price comparison sites alike, Russell insists. "Halifax will
steal a march on its competitors, while the price comparison sites
will be able to use the management information ContactPartners
captures to accurately measure and demonstrate the value it
delivers to its stakeholders in terms of sales opportunities."
This innovative and business focused approach is typical of
ContactPartners' team, says Simon. "From the outset they've helped
us, not just to implement the technology efficiently, but to use it
to improve our commercial performance. Their focus on business
opportunity and measurable results is a rare quality in technology
vendors, and one we particularly value."