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Progressive Insurance plans to open its newest call center, equipped with Cisco's Intelligent Contact Management (ICM) solution, in Phoenix in January 2004, ICM will enable sales and service calls to be routed to the appropriate call center based on state licensing requirements and information.

Equipped with Cisco's (San Jose, CA) Intelligent Contact Management (ICM) solution, which enables sales and service calls to be routed to the appropriate call center based on state licensing requirements and information, Progressive Insurance (Mayfield Village, OH) plans to open its newest call center in Phoenix in January 2004. Progressive has operated a direct sales call center in Tempe, AZ since 1998. Employees and technology from the Tempe facility will be moved to the new Phoenix facility and combined with servicing capability.

The new direct sales and service call center, relates Frank Holowach, Progressive's business IT director, was established in response to growth in the carrier's business.

Because both sales and servicing functions use PCs that are connected into the telephony system, changes that will have to be made for the purpose of integration are expected to be minor. "Progressive is able to support both functions with a standard configuration of the PC," reports Holowach. "Other than that, we will just have to move some servers to the new location."

Aside from use of the ICM solution, which enables call center reps to interact with customers via phone, Web and e-mail, the center will utilize sales and service desktop applications that were developed in-house. Additionally, explains Holowach, the new center will be equipped with NICE Systems' (Ra'anana, Israel) NiceLog call logging solution. Also, the new call center will be linked to the same IP data network to which Progressive's other call centers are linked. They are located in Austin, Tampa, Sacramento and Colorado Springs.

In addition to its direct sales and service call center, Progressive is planning to unveil a newly renovated claims handling center in Tempe on June 24. The center, which has been in operation since 2000 "is a claims location where consumers bring damaged vehicles and are given rental cars," explains Holowach. "Progressive assumes repair responsibility and farms the cars out to body shops for repairs." At the Tempe center, the carrier will use estimating software and Internet technology to tie together various auto body shops. Customers can also use the Internet to monitor the status of their claims.

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