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George Banco improves customer interaction


George Banco improves customer interaction

Specialist lender George Banco has implemented a customer interaction solution at the heart of its IT and telephone infrastructure. 

The cutting edge system delivers high-quality customer communications and performance management while the lender looks to pioneer a new, more responsible guarantor lending model in the personal loans market.

To find out more about George Banco’s future plans and how it aims to improve customer interaction, Loan Talk caught up with George Thomas, Director of George Banco.

Q: Can you briefly describe George Banco and its core business offering? 

A: Based on a family farm near Bath in Somerset and founded in 2013, George Banco is a specialised UK lender, focussed on personal loans secured by a borrower’s personal guarantor. We concentrate on providing UK consumers, who are excluded from mainstream finance, with personal unsecured loans of £500 to £7,500 repayable in fixed monthly instalments over terms of 12 to 60 months.

Q: What distinguishes your offering from others available in the marketplace today?

A:  We see ourselves as pioneers of a more responsible guarantor lending model in the UK personal loans market. Millions of UK consumers do not qualify for mainstream finance from the banks. By using a guarantor (a creditworthy friend or relative to support the loan and agree to repay if the borrower misses a payment), we can provide loans to those rejected by the banks, at rates far lower than payday lenders. 


Our launch coincided with a crackdown on the payday market from regulators and a push to get back to more responsible old-fashioned lending. We believe the guarantor model fits that beautifully.


It’s unacceptable that, despite the recent actions of the Financial Conduct Authority, we are still seeing consumers being offered inflexible repayment options and that many are suffering significant financial losses. That’s contrary to our whole approach to business. At George Banco, our focus is very much on providing flexible repayment options. The fair treatment of customers is central to our culture.


We take a responsible and proportionate approach to late payments, contacting the customer directly in the first instance. When our borrowers make their loan repayments on time, it can help improve their credit rating and make access to cheaper high street lending possible in the future. And we don’t charge upfront setup fees. We are the lender, and not a broker.


Q: What issues did you have with your original telephony system?

A: When we originally launched, we were using a primitive phone system, which used a PBX switch and basic handsets on the desks of customer service representatives. Unfortunately, this gave us no real visibility of, or control over the process. We did not know, for example, how many inbound or outbound calls we were getting, how long each agent was on the phone on a given call, or what marketing channel was proving most successful. Equally we had no real reporting capability in place.


Q: How did you resolve this situation? 

A: Following a recommendation from our IT partner, Unify, we chose to implement the Enghouse Interactive Communications Center (EICC) customer interaction solution from Enghouse Interactive and place it at the heart of our IT infrastructure.


Q: What attracted you to the Enghouse Interactive solution? 

A: EICC incorporates quality monitoring and integrated voice recording to monitor agents and ensure compliance with industry regulations. That’s key to us. But we were also impressed with the flexibility of the system, the ability to make changes to it quickly and with how it enabled us to enhance our control over the whole contact centre environment. The flexible pricing plan is also key - it’s an important advantage in a sector where margins are always tight.


Q: How did the implementation process go? 

A: Very smoothly. We ran it in two phases as part of a two month roll-out plan. The call management and customer agent system implemented first, followed by the quality monitoring and call recording system. It was a collaborative and consultative process throughout. Once the build was completed and all the separate elements of the system fully synchronised, Enghouse Interactive ran a training scheme in-house with George Banco customer service agents which was well received. 


Q: What are the main business benefits from using EICC?

A: The main benefit is that it helps manage the demands of a busy, fast-changing environment. Around 600 people file loan applications through George Banco. Our underwriters, collectors and other departments make around 1,500 calls a day and the business also has to deal with multiple inbound calls. Using EICC, agents know who is calling through the call ID, which links to the customer database. As a result, they instantly have in front of them a full interaction history, helping them understand which call channel the customer has come in from, which script to use and which teams the caller may need to be routed to. All of that is beneficial to customer experience and staff morale.

There are additional benefits in terms of enhanced managerial control. The system’s integrated dashboard enables agents to see how many calls are coming in at any given time, get alerts when waiting times are too high or when call durations are becoming too long, allowing us to intervene to cut costs, drive efficiencies and ensure we are focused on the right areas of the business.

 

We are also making extensive use of the Enghouse Interactive system’s extensive call recording and quality monitoring capability. Not only does this track agent performance and deliver training where required, but it also compliant with the latest relevant financial services legislation. The EICC solution enables us to retain recorded calls for the requisite period and also allows us to demonstrate to the regulators that we are dealing with customers in a responsible and compliant manner. 





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