SOURCE: Aspect Software

February 21, 2008 08:00 ET

Affinity Group Increases Call Handling, Revenue, and Member Satisfaction With Aspect Software Solutions

Contact Center Leverages Aspect® Unified IP™ and PerformanceEdge™ Workforce Management to Enhance Service and Increase Agent Productivity

CHELMSFORD, MA--(Marketwire - February 21, 2008) - Aspect Software, Inc., the world's largest company solely focused on the contact center, and its PerformanceEdge Group, a dedicated performance optimization resource, today announced that Affinity Group, Inc., the nation's largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, media and events, has improved call handling and the member experience it delivers through the use of Aspect Software solutions. The company is using Aspect Unified IP and the PerformanceEdge workforce management capability in its contact center.

Based in Ventura, Calif., Affinity is focused on delivering the optimal recreation experience by targeting and segmenting its members into specialty niches. The company offers a broad portfolio of consumer brands, products and services for its members, including Affinity Media, Affinity Clubs, Affinity Events and Affinity Ventures.

Affinity has been utilizing the full capabilities of Aspect Unified IP, as well as the forecasting and scheduling features of Aspect® eWorkforce Management™, to handle inbound and outbound member service and sales interactions in its 80-seat Denver, Colo. contact center. Agents use Aspect Unified IP to manage incoming calls regarding membership renewals, new member acquisition, change of address information, roadside assistance, and for help in travel planning. Affinity leverages the outbound dialer and voice portal functionality of Aspect Unified IP for member awareness campaigns, sales calls, and to collect credit card information for automatic renewals.

In addition, Affinity's contact center supervisors use Aspect eWorkforce Management to schedule skilled agents during peak call times, all of which has led to improved call handling, lower call abandonment, higher service levels, increased revenue and enhanced member satisfaction. The contact center also has the Perform and Empower enhancement packages to give agents greater control over their schedules to improve morale and provide supervisors with greater insight into overall agent performance.

"Before we began to leverage the rich capabilities of Aspect Unified IP, we had extremely high handle times. Agents were receiving calls they were not trained to handle, plus we couldn't get to all of the calls that were coming in and consequently we had very high abandon rates," said Scott Willey, vice president Affinity Clubs, Customer Relationship Center. "Now, we've changed the way we train our agents, giving them more tools and greater skill sets, and with the skills-based routing available from Aspect Unified IP, we can get the calls to the next available agent with the right skills, resulting in drastically reduced hold times and therefore less abandonment."

Added Willey, "In fact, I would attribute our higher revenue to the advanced call blending capabilities of Aspect Unified IP. The blending functionality enables our knowledgeable contact center agents to resolve the call in less time. As a result, we have cut our call handle time significantly, and we've also reduced member call-backs quite a bit because their inquiries are now being routed to agents that have the skills to meet their needs."

Aspect Unified IP enables Affinity to have incoming calls from members routed to agents based on skill and availability. Agents also receive a whisper from their headset with basic caller information before the agent screen is populated with the full customer history, enabling the agents to mentally prepare for the call seconds before it is received. Affinity records 100 percent of all calls for quality monitoring purposes, and uses the speech self-service functionality for post-call customer surveys to receive feedback on satisfaction directly from the member. By taking advantage of the full functionality that Aspect Unified IP offers and the scheduling capabilities of Aspect eWorkforce Management, the company has seen significant tangible results, including:

--  80/20 service level goal (80 percent of calls answered in 20 seconds)
    increased by 19.25 percent over 2006
--  Abandoned calls are down from 2005 by more than 68 percent
--  Handle time is down an average of 30 seconds per call compared with
    2006
--  Total Revenue is up 6.6 percent over 2006
    

"I've actually worked with Aspect products for a long time, and I believe the products are very solid," Willey said. "Aspect Unified IP is a single source of all-encompassing capabilities, and it is robust enough that I don't have to add on capabilities constantly. From a technology perspective, one of the best things about Aspect Software is having one vendor for all our contact center needs."

"As a leader in recreation and outdoor leisure, Affinity understands the importance of enhancing the customer experience, and has clearly put its members first with its contact center operations," said Serge Hyppolite, director of product management at Aspect Software. "Successful companies like Affinity are seeing the value in partnering with one vendor who can provide the complete breadth of contact center applications in a single platform, helping them form solid customer-company relationships. We expect Affinity to build on this momentum into 2008 and beyond, and continue to see higher revenue, productivity, and customer satisfaction."

About Affinity

Affinity, www.affinitygroup.com, is the nation's largest provider of outdoor clubs, media and events that service the safety, security, comfort and convenience needs of the North American recreational vehicle (RV) and outdoor enthusiast market. By providing information, insights, and resources, the company champions the fun, freedom, and adventure of recreation in motion. The company works to enhance its customers' recreational experiences and build the communities that share and promote their fun and adventurous lifestyles.

Affinity is organized into four different business units -- Affinity Media, Affinity Clubs, Affinity Events and Affinity Ventures. Their corporate headquarters are located in Ventura, Calif. Subsidiary operations and divisions can be found at multiple locations throughout the United States.

About PerformanceEdge

PerformanceEdge combines workforce management, recording and quality management, performance management, campaign management, and coaching and eLearning to enable organizations to holistically respond to changing business conditions. The PerformanceEdge applications dynamically interoperate to help contact center managers consider everything and act immediately, ultimately making it easier for inbound, outbound and blended contact centers to control costs, enhance service levels and align performance with strategic goals. For more information, visit www.performanceedgesuite.com.

About Aspect Software

Aspect Software, Inc. founded the contact center industry and is now the world's largest company solely focused on Internet Protocol (IP) and traditional voice-based products and services for customer service, collections, and sales and telemarketing business processes. Each day, Aspect Software powers more than 125 million customer-company interactions at thousands of in-house and outsourced contact centers around the globe. Its pioneering Unified IP™ Contact Center product line reduces complexity by uniting automated call distribution (ACD), predictive dialing, voice portal, email management, web chat and collaboration, and recording and quality management to provide consolidated administration, routing, reporting and workflow. PerformanceEdge™, the industry's first fully synchronized contact center optimization suite, combines workforce management, recording and quality management, performance management, campaign management, and coaching and eLearning applications. And, the company's trusted Signature product line delivers reliable best of breed ACD, predictive dialing, CTI and Voice Portal capabilities. Headquartered in Chelmsford, Mass., Aspect Software has operations across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit www.aspect.com.

Aspect, Unified IP, PerformanceEdge, eWorkforce Management, and Aspect Software are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Aspect Software, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries. The names of other companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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