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Baycorp has technology to rebuild software better, faster

By Ray Lilley

Friday 14th April 2000

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Take a piece of US-developed software that does the job, more or less. Customise it to your requirements so it does the job extremely well, then have the US supplier take up the improved software as its standard product because it is better and faster than the original.

That is what Baycorp has done with its predictive dialler technology to turn it into one of the most efficient technology tools in its extensive call centre operations.

"People from Asia are now coming to look at the system," call centre operations manager Nigel Le Sueur said. "We're seen as reference sites for this telephony. That's international interest we're getting in the way we run the operation."

As an example, the predictive dialler system handles 25 customer service agents on a shift, uses 65 phone lines and allows each operator to handle 18 calls an hour with virtually no downtime.

"The operators get a hot [live] number every time they touch the button for a call," he explains. "There's no downtime.

"It's humming. If you have 25 people doing that you can crunch the numbers pretty quickly." In fact, 2000 calls in a four-hour shift.

The technology focus of Baycorp's call centre operations is underpinned by its statement of "people, technology and solutions," a combination that led to the listed company being named Asia's Best Value Creator by the Wall Street Journal last year, recognising three years of rising sales and return on investment.

That has partly been built on what Mr Le Sueur calculates is a 400% productivity gain using the predictive dialler technology alone.

It selects the number and makes the call, and when it is answered, the agent has a pop screen presented with the debtor's data.

"The system pre-selects [the call] and presents both the caller and the screen information all in the space of one or two seconds," he said.

"There is no call reluctance from our people. They don't have to decide whether to make a call - they've got a call in their ear."

One major Australian private company was so keen to have the technology, it contracted the service from Baycorp instead of running its own debt agency operation.

Baycorp's business is on the phone or online. The internet has reshaped its phone-in Baynet credit reporting and checking business, which has whittled its 25 phone agents down to nine.

Now, 90% of the calls are by internet dialup directly into the company's database, which processes 2.5 million transactions a day.

With 12,000 customers using its debt collection services, Baycorp has a specialised call centre with 85 agents, working from 7am to 9pm, seven days a week.

Its third call centre is its customer service line, with 15 staff.

The fourth is based in its factoring business, which has 25 staff working across seven days of the week collecting debt Baycorp has bought from other companies and collects on its own account.

The system also carries out telesales, especially on new products, "a business solution for cash-flow generation and for new product profiling," as well as updating client company databases with call-out campaigns.

In other words, Baycorp has expanded its range of phone services, from gathering and dispatching information (20,000 calls in and 10,000 out a week) to advising clients' customers of new products and services and making pre-collection calls to increase customer cashflow or to prompt overdue payments.

That system is now migrating to Australia, where a joint venture company is operating with Data Advantage, Australia's largest credit reporting agency. It's expected Baycorp will introduce innovation into that market as it has in New Zealand, where 95% of its interactions are electronic.

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