Merrill’s Call Centers Honored

Merrill Lynch’s telephone support centers for smaller investors have been called the best in the financial services business by Call Center Magazine, a publication for call center managers. In the June 2001 issue, the magazine says Merrill Lynch’s telephone centers in Somerset, N.J., Denver and Jacksonville, Fla., have made impressive strides in improving customer service--specifically in the areas

Merrill Lynch’s telephone support centers for smaller investors have been called the best in the financial services business by Call Center Magazine, a publication for call center managers.

In the June 2001 issue, the magazine says Merrill Lynch’s telephone centers in Somerset, N.J., Denver and Jacksonville, Fla., have made impressive strides in improving customer service--specifically in the areas of speech-recognition technology and the toll-free phone numbers that it provides investors. For example, in January 2001, Merrill gave 401(k) clients the ability to request information and change their investment choices using an automated voice-recognition system, according to the article. Merrill also made it easier for clients to call in.

“Merrill Lynch now provides one toll-free number for customers instead of the over 100 toll-free numbers that the company formerly offered for different products and services,” the magazine reported.

Call Center Magazine also reported that Merrill added software that routes a caller to the call center broker best suited to his or her needs, based on the rep’s skill level (determined by supervisors) and the types of calls the client has previously made to the center. Supervisors can also listen to recorded calls from clients using their computers by retrieving .wav files of the recorded conversations, the magazine reported.

The magazine says it based the award on information it obtained during telephone interviews with call center managers last year.

Several brokers contacted by RR said they have received generally positive feedback from the clients transferred over to the Financial Advisory Center call centers, but that many still call with questions.

“As long as I’m here to help them through any problems they might have with the service, they’re fine,” says one FA.

Editor's note: For any comments regarding this article, or to suggest a story idea for RR Online or Registered Representative magazine, contact Editor in Chief Dan Jamieson at [email protected], Online Editor Rick Weinberg at [email protected], Online Managing Editor Cheryl Cooper at [email protected] or Senior Editor Michael Hayes at [email protected]

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