Single phone number frees bank's mobile staff

St George Bank is trailling a mobility solution which gives customers a single phone number that contacts a bank officer on landline or mobile phone.

Typically, staff spend half their time in the office and the rest visiting potential customers.

Now, when they pass on their phone number to the customer, it is a local telephone number, in lieu of a mobile and office number.

When customers make follow-up calls, staff can take the call on either their mobile phone or landline extension.

The solution, which is based on Avaya EC500 technology, has been trialled since October last year.

"By bridging their mobile phone and office extension line, essentially the call comes in and rings both at the one time," said Paul Bristow, chief manager of network services, at the bank.

If staff are out of the office, they take the call on the mobile. If they happen to be walking around the office, they can take it on their mobile phone, walk back to their landline, press a button which drops the mobile call, and they continue their conversation.

"A simple phone number makes the customer experience much better," Bristow said. "It can make it much more friendly giving a local number to a customer rather than a mobile number."

An added benefit for St George is the rapport the mobile staff member can build with customers.

Rather than the customer incurring a cost of a mobile call, the new solution means that is at the bank's cost. But the benefits are worth it, Bristow said.

"Mobility is not about cost reduction. It is about productivity. So there is always a cost for mobility. If anyone is thinking mobility is going to be less expensive, they should focus on productivity gains rather than costs."

Bristow said implementing the solution has been relatively straightforward. The bank needed an Avaya licence and to do some basic programming in the PABX.

The system doesn't tether staff to their mobile phones. If the staff member wants to clock off at the nighttime, they can press a button on their mobile phone to bridge incoming calls to voicemail on their office landline extension.

Alternatively, mobile staff can activate a voicemail function which calls their mobile to alert them to a message.

Bristow didn't say when the trial ends, nor which business unit it would be suited to - but it is envisaged that such a solution suits mobile lenders, financial advisors and the like within a financial industry.

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