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Fleet To Revamp Teller Operations

FleetBoston kicks off a $14 million initiative to add nearly 500 new tellers throughout its branch network and provide teller station capacity upgrades to shorten customer wait times.

FleetBoston has kicked off a $14 million initiative to add nearly 500 new tellers throughout its branch network and provide teller station capacity upgrades to shorten customer wait times.

The program also includes $2.5 million in funding for an employee incentive component that rewards staff members for providing exemplary customer service.

The move is aimed at providing FleetBoston customers greater speed and accuracy in their transactions, according to Brad Warner, vice chairman and head of consumer financial services at $200 billion FleetBoston. The 500 new tellers are expected to be in place by mid-year.

Last year, FleetBoston added 140 new tellers to its busier bank branches across the franchise. Nearly 8,000 tellers now serve FleetBoston's 1,500 branches in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, and Florida.

Of the $14 million initiative, $2.5 million is earmarked to fund a customer service incentive program for branch staff. The program, which will run through 2002, will directly tie incentives to improvements in customer service. It rewards branch staff for greeting customers with care and attention, resolving customer problems with speed and precision, and delivering account and product information that is accurate and reliable.

The other $11.5 million will provide for teller compensation, training, and technology upgrades at teller stations. Among the technology upgrades recently completed is the installation of new pinpad devices at every teller station. A swipe of the customer's Total Access card provides instant customer identification and an immediate display of the customer's accounts on the teller's workstation.

The $14 million teller support initiative is part of a larger effort to improve service at each of the customer channels-online, telephone, and ATMs. "These investments are responding to their expectation that we continuously upgrade each of our channels so that we are easy to do business with," said Robert Hedges, head of banking products in FleetBoston's consumer banking and distribution group.

Last year, FleetBoston handled over 100 million calls through its state-of-the-art call centers, and supported 200 million ATM transactions. Its consumer online banking, Fleet HomeLink, has over 2 million customers who pay 1.4 million bills online each month and access the system at an average rate of 130,000 daily log-ins.

The teller support initiative is part of a $75 million corporate-wide commitment to improving the customer experience. The enhancements include: automatic teller machines (ATMs) for the visually impaired; ATM receipts with more transaction details; HomeLink online banking that offers six months' transaction history; online branch/ATM locator; wireless banking and bill payment; enhanced touch-tone banking menus and options; and streamlined monthly statements with customized marketing messages and two-sided printing to reduce pages.

In addition, new desktop technology will be installed at service representative and call center customer management desks to give frontline staff access to online product and pricing guides, as well as credit card and mortgage applications.

"By maintaining our focus on enhancing customer service, we believe we can continue to grow our business and further enhance our leadership position in retail banking," said Warner.

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