The paper "Western Australia Bank Call Center - Strategic Planning" is a perfect example of a management research proposal. Western Australia Bank or WA Bank best known today as Bank West serves more than 900,000 clients across its varied network of branches (Bank West Website) making it the market leader in the banking industry in Australia. Its client base further expanded after its acquisition by Commonwealth Bank in December 2008 (Bank West Website). The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC did not oppose the acquisition of Bank West to help it continue its expansion and pricing strategies that would significantly maintain the competition in the banking and finance industry (ACCC).
Prior to the acquisition, Bank West has been aggressively implementing its national expansion strategy in Australia. Competitive pricing, increase branch and affiliate networks, and enhancement in customer service tools particularly its call center where the priority areas that the bank was focusing as an effective aid in its national expansion strategy. It planned to open an additional 160 new branches all over Australia over a period of three to four years (Cox p1).
However, the financial crisis that started in 2008 limited the funds that its mother company can provide to support Bank West’ s national expansion strategy and risk its competitiveness in the market. Thus, the issue of continuity of its strategic plans as well its competitiveness became the driving force for its acquisition by the Commonwealth Bank. Currently, Bank West revolutionizes its customer service by adopting the motto of “ happy banking” (Bank West Website) wherein customer service is a hinge in providing convenience and value for the money of customers in transacting with the bank.
This motto of customer service earned the bank numerous awards as well as increase customer base (Bank West Website). Call Center Developments in information and communication technology or ICT led to the development of the call center industry. It brought to a new level the delivery process of customer service and marketing of products and services of businesses (Todd p. 2). Call centers are made up of two types namely (1) in house call centers operating within a company and (2) outsourced call centers that companies sub-contract (Todd p. 2). Bank West has its own 24-hour telephone banking services or call center as an integral part of the systems it implemented to serve the needs of its clients its national expansion strategy program.
Upgrade of its interactive voice recognition or IVR facility and development of a standard national call center model were two of the significant strategies adopted by the bank in order for its system to be at peace with its national expansion strategy (Cox p2-3). These improvements in its call center service model were meant to drive an increase in the client base of the bank.
One of the key improvements implemented in the IVR facility was the use of a less formal voice that clients can easily understand. Its telephone menu for call center agents and clients were redesigned to be less formal using non-technical banking terms (Cox p3) so as not to intimidate clients when they call the bank for queries or for any transactions. Lastly, it created a persona behind the voice of its IVR to let clients easily relate to the person behind the telephone.
These innovations in its call center model were introduced prior to the financial crisis in 2008. Putting these innovations for strategic competition would mean higher losses for the bank in the end. Thus, the decision to allow the Commonwealth Bank to acquire Bank West was strategically inevitable to help maintain its competitive edge.
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Australia Competition and Consumer Commission. ACCC not oppose to Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s proposed acquisition of Bank of Western Australia Ltd. 10 December 2008. Retrieved on 24 August 2009 from http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/852913
Australia Council of Trade Unions. On The Line- The Future of Australia’s Call Centre Industry. 20 June 2002. Retrieved on 24 August 2009 from http://www.actu.asn.au/public/callcentral/ontheline.html
Bank West Website. About Us: Our Profile. Retrieved on 23 August 2009 from http://www.bankwest.com.au/Media_Centre/Bankwest_Awards/index.aspx
Bank West Website. About Us: History. Retrieved on 23 August 2009 from http://www.bankwest.com.au/About_Us/History/index.aspx
CANSTAR Cannex. Bank Customer Satisfaction Awards. March 2009
Cox, Anne-Marie. Meet the voice behind BanWest’s Boom. Interactions Quarterly Perspectives, November/December 2007.
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Porter, Michael. What is a Strategy? Harvard Business Review. November/December 1996.
Todd, Patricia. WA Bank Call Centre, 2006