When longtime Landmark Bank customers phone their local branch to speak to their favorite banker, they get connected in seconds— just by saying the banker’s name.
The new automated voice response solution is just one example of Landmark Bank’s strategy to marry a tradition of high-touch customer service with customer-centric technology. Strengthening customer service via advanced business communications solutions is a powerful pairing for Brenda Emerson, CIO and 27-year Landmark Bank employee.
We have the scale, size and expertise to still have a great community feel, yet bring technology to our markets. We think that those two things together give us a competitive advantage.
Chief Information Officer (CIO), Landmark Bank
One Vision, One Vendor
Landmark Bank has served the Midwest for over a century, and now operates over 50 locations, mostly in communities across Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. Just recently, the bank’s parent, The Landrum Company, was ranked among the top 10 privately held mid-size banking companies by the American Bankers Association. In the past few years, Emerson has been on a mission to upgrade the bank’s IT infrastructure to stay lean but also bring new services to smaller markets, supporting the bank’s growth. To enable its vision, Landmark Bank invested in Avaya for its unified communications and data networking.
“The data infrastructure is the foundation of all our technology plans,” Emerson said. “The Avaya network is solid and has always provided what we need to support our growth.” The Avaya network provides ease-of-use and simplicity of operation, and reliably and cost-effectively supports new applications. Avaya Aura® Contact Center is one such application, used for both internal employee and customer-facing applications. Most recently, the bank brought in Avaya Scopia® for multiple purposes involving videoconferencing.
“We have data, voice, contact center solutions and video,” says Emerson. “Avaya is a strong communications partner for us, and we find the one-vendor model easier to support.”
Better, Smarter Customer Service
Initially, Landmark deployed Avaya Aura Contact Center for its internal IT help desk and for an employee advice line called “Banker Support.” The previous system fell short in terms of skills-based routing, integration features and reporting. As part of the Avaya Aura Contact Center deployment, Landmark Bank also upgraded to Avaya Aura Platform 6.2. The capabilities of the Aura platform fit Emerson’s vision. She recalls just one of the benefits Landmark is enjoying,“Password resets can be done by a lower skillset person versus a higher-paid person. That is fabulous.”
After proving Aura internally, Landmark rolled it out to support customers, using Avaya Experience Portal for front-end voice response, which supports both the centralized customer service line as well as local branches. For the branches, Emerson plans to use caller ID to personalize the experience even more with prompts such as, “Brenda, your preferred banker is Joe Baxter. Do you want to speak to him?” This move is consistent with the strategy of giving customers a “local touch” using a cost-effective support model.
“We still want that local feel. We want you to call the branch that you’re familiar with. We want you to talk to the bankers in your branch. Now, we are still able to do that – without having to staff the phone,” Emerson said.
We moved to Aura for lots of reasons. It was time to grow in the contact center software and reporting, but we also want integration with email and web chat. It’s allowing me to provide better service to the customer and smarter service for the organization.
CIO, Landmark Bank
Video Takes Off
Videoconferencing has spread like wild flowers in a Missouri meadow as executives and bankers discover new uses and applications for it.
“It’s just exploded,” Emerson said. “We use videoconferencing every single day, multiple times a day.”
Before the Avaya Scopia video solution, Landmark Bank board members traveled six times a year from as far away as Alaska and New Jersey to meetings at the main office, or joined by audio conference via phone. The previous video system, which Emerson describes as “TVs on carts,” wasn’t popular. The CEO asked Emerson to find and deploy a new video conferencing system – and fast.
Landmark brought in an Avaya Scopia® high-definition (HD) continuous-presence ports and enhanced-definition connections. The bank also rolled out fifteen Scopia XT5000 room systems, each of which features two simultaneous 1080p/60fps video channels and 10X zoom optical cameras. The system delivers HD video quality with multi-stream telepresence, and includes up to 24 video layout possibilities for viewing conferences of more than two dozen participants. Along with the move to Scopia video, Landmark improved the lighting and sound in their conference rooms.
Now, those far-flung board members have a high-definition meeting experience and no longer have to travel six times a year for meetings. The CEO uses the Scopia technology nearly every day for meetings. Regional presidents tap the system to connect with geographically dispersed bank managers.
Video conferencing has also proved popular for training, as the bank works continuously to keep staff updated on new regulations. Landmark runs and records training for staff members who can’t be present.
The real test is using video to bring services to customers at small branches. High-end video rooms in some branches allow for one-on-one meetings with bank specialists.
“We have a really awesome wealth management department, but they can’t be in every location,” Emerson said. “When clients want to talk to an expert, we use the conference systems to bring customers into our locations but still give them that personal feel by presenting them with an expert on video that they can really interact with.”
Through the Avaya partnership, Landmark Bank is tackling its goals:
- Efficiency and growth targets
- Support for expanded product offerings for customers
- The personal service that customers expect from a community bank
Landmark Bank maintains a leaner business model as it grows, with a skills-based contact center and smart voice response solution. That means staff aren’t handling mundane tasks like password resets, but focusing on higher-value interactions.
We can now really staff appropriately. For me, that doesn’t just mean the right number of people on the phone but also the right level of people on the phone.
CIO, Landmark Bank
Landmark has reduced costs by thousands of dollars annually by minimizing travel for meetings and training. At the same time, the bank expanded the reach of high-value, revenue-generating specialists in areas like wealth management – a strategic focus for the company – by connecting customers and experts with video.
As an encore, Emerson foresees rolling out wireless to branches and tying video with social media and mobile so that, one day, customers will be able to conduct transactions with live tellers via video through their smartphone, tablet or PC. It’s that vision that’s helping Landmark keep its “personal service” promise to customers – with technology, not in spite of it.
Our tag line is, ‘Here for You.’ That concept of the community feel and the technology of a bigger bank that we achieve with Avaya are what give us ‘Here for You’ banking.
CIO, Landmark Bank