Continental Receives Innovator of the Year Award

Witness Systems (NASDAQ: WITS), a leading global provider of performance optimization software and services, awarded here today the third annual “Innovator of the Year” Award to Andre Harris, director of reservations training and quality assurance for Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL). Announced at the Witness Systems Driving Innovation 2003 conference, this award is designed to recognize contact center managers and their respective companies for outstanding customer service accomplishments over the past year.
Harris was chosen as “Innovator of the Year” for her leadership in developing and implementing Continental`s “Call-Mix Survey” program for collecting and analyzing important data that can only be captured in the contact center and using it to help support the strategic direction of the organization. While monitoring calls through Witness Systems` eQuality Balance, team leaders were asked to complete online call-mix surveys to track the different types of calls coming into the reservation centers and review calls that were received by the help desk.
Within a few months, the survey results revealed a significant increase in customer reconfirmation calls—in some months the number almost doubled. Reconfirmation of flights are not a requirement for Continental`s passengers; therefore, the quality assurance task force presented their findings and enlisted other areas of the company, including marketing, corporate communications, and reservation operations, to launch a campaign to educate customers that this is not a necessary action. Within two months of identifying the problem and launching the program, the company reduced the number of calls almost five percent and has maintained a lower level of reconfirmation calls.
The survey data also revealed areas in which agents needed more training. For example, the surveys pinpointed the most frequently asked questions and helped Continental identify issues with the navigation of its reservation system. Using the eQuality technology with both voice and data capture enabled the airline to make technological improvements so agents can better navigate the system.
“By reducing the number of reconfirmation calls and the number of calls agents made to our support desk, we realized more than $1 million in annualized savings,” states Harris. “With 60 million calls coming into our reservations centers each year, it`s critical that we understand our interactions and how they`re being handled by our agents so we can look for the root cause of any challenges our agents have in servicing customers. We believe in promoting and fostering excellence to remain leaders in our industry.”
Since implementing these innovative processes and technology like eQuality into its reservation centers, Continental has become a leader in customer service and is widely recognized throughout the industry. Among the industry accolades Continental has received includes being named one of the top ten call centers in the industry by Call Center Magazine, listed as a top 100 training program for three consecutive years by Training Magazine and ranked as one of the best companies to work for by Fortune Magazine for 5 years in a row.
“Continental is a perfect example of how companies can use workforce optimization software to capture customer intelligence and apply the information to improve performance in the contact center and throughout the overall business,” states Nancy Treaster, senior vice president, global marketing for Witness Systems. “With eQuality, Continental has generated significant return on investment through cost savings, improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. Their organization and employees like Andre are true innovators in the customer service industry.”
Sponsored by Witness Systems, the seventh annual Driving Innovation conference runs from October 8-11, 2003 at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel in Orlando, Fla., and celebrates the latest innovations, techniques and best practices for capturing customer intelligence, optimizing workforce performance, and improving customer satisfaction.
About Continental
Continental Airlines is the world`s seventh-largest airline and has more than 2,300 daily departures. With 134 domestic and 92 international destinations, Continental has the broadest global route network of any U.S. airline, including extensive service throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and carries approximately 41 million passengers per year on the newest jet fleet among major U.S. airlines. With 42,000 employees, Continental is one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America. In 2003, Fortune ranked Continental highest among major U.S. carriers in the quality of its service and products, and No. 2 on its list of Most Admired Global Airlines. For more company information, visit
About Witness Systems
Witness Systems (NASDAQ: WITS) provides the contact center industry`s first integrated performance optimization software suite to help global enterprises capture customer intelligence and optimize workforce performance. Comprised of business-driven and/or full-time customer interaction recording, performance analysis and e-learning management applications, the browser-based eQuality(R) solution is designed to enhance the quality of customer contacts across multiple communications media, including the telephone, e-mail and Web. The closed-loop suite enables companies to record, evaluate, analyze and learn from customer contacts and the touch points they use to develop staff, generate revenue, reduce costs, and achieve greater customer retention and loyalty - all by sharing captured customer and business intelligence throughout the entire organization. An integrated business consulting, implementation and training methodology provides services to support an effective, rapid deployment of eQuality that enables organizations to maximize their return on investment. For additional information about Witness Systems and its eQuality software suite, visit
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