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Webster Bank Enhances the Online Customer Experience With Tealeaf

Tealeaf’s customer experience management solution enables Webster Bank to monitor the causes of online problems, accelerate the implementation of solutions and improvements, and boost conversion rates.

Although heavily invested in solutions for analyzing and troubleshooting its online presence, Webster Bank lacked functionality in two key areas. "First, we didn’t have a way to determine why users would abandon online sessions," explains Greg Jacobi, SVP of ebanking at the Waterbury, Conn.-based institution. "And second, when customers would report a site glitch, we didn’t have a method for replaying the exact circumstances that led to the error, often resulting in an inability to recreate and resolve the situation."

[Banking and Baseball: It's All About Analytics]

In early 2010 Webster ($19 billion in total assets) set out to solve both challenges, evaluating about a dozen vendors. Of those, Webster selected San Francisco-based Tealeaf. "Plenty of solutions could provide aggregate data, but individual session replay capability was critical," Jacobi relates. "We wanted to accurately see, in real time, and capture what’s happening during any given session, step by step."

[Ed. Note: Tealeaf recently announced its acquisition by IBM (Armonk, N.Y.).]

By late 2010 Webster had inked a deal for Tealeaf’s session monitoring and replay tool, http://www.tealeaf.com/products/customer-behavior-analysis-suite/cximpact.php cxImpact, as well as cxReveal, a dashboard for business users — including customer service, sales and marketing staff — enabling easy access to live and historical sessions.

When implementation began in early April 2011, deployment proved speedy, according to Jacobi. First, Webster loaded Tealeaf onto two HP servers, one Linux-based for data capture and the other a Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) Windows-based machine for analysis. Next, Tealeaf representatives assisted with setting up rules and replays, Jacobi reports.

Then came testing. "Tealeaf is designed to interact with our [Microsoft] SQL database, but sit outside of the critical path," Jacobi notes. "We wanted to be comfortable that this was true."

By late April 2011 the solution went live successfully. "Instead of presenting customers who report errors with a long list of questions, with Tealeaf our techs can spot the causes of an issue from captured data," Jacobi reports. "In addition, we no longer guess where users abandon sessions, which enables us to design improvements leading to higher completion percentages." Perhaps best of all, Webster is more effective at getting to the root cause of online issues. "The rate at which we’re fixing issues, without added staff, is paying for Tealeaf," asserts Jacobi.

Along the way Webster also discovered a couple of limitations, one of which remains. "For online systems hosted by external providers, we don’t have any insights," Jacobi comments. "We’ve been working with those partners on implementing the technology within their systems, but we’re also hopeful Tealeaf will develop a solution."

Tealeaf recently answered the other limitation — extending functionality to mobile apps — by introducing cxMobile, which Webster currently is evaluating.

Regardless, Jacobi says, Tealeaf has helped the bank improve customer experiences beyond original expectations. "For example, we’re using Tealeaf to bring people into otherwise cold processes — such as online account opening," he explains. "We’ve built out the solution to monitor the account opening experience and integrated it into our call center.

"Now, if a CSR detects a customer is having an issue online, they can reach out via chat or phone," he adds. "This alone has increased our conversion rates by 15 to 20 percent."

Another unanticipated benefit is troubleshooting discrepancies in traffic patterns. "When we see a drop in traffic we can quickly determine whether it’s an internal system, one of our ISP partners or some other cause," Jacobi says.

According to Jacobi, over the coming year Webster intends to optimize its Tealeaf deployment further. "We have an appetite to leverage the technology more," he affirms. "This includes advanced predicative analytics that allow us to automatically detect and resolve issues."

Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio

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