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…enables low-cost, high-quality customer service to comply with government targets…

Stockley Park, UK, 8 August 2001. Aspect Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: ASPT), the leading provider of business communications solutions that help companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce operating costs, gather market intelligence and increase revenue, announced today that Prudential, one of the UK's leading pension providers, has selected Aspect Contact Server for its new Stakeholder Pension service. This will enable Prudential to provide a cost-effective, integrated and interactive service to customers over a variety of communications channels, including phone, web and eventually interactive digital TV (iDTV). The three-quarters of a million pound investment follows the government’s mandate that charges on the new stakeholder pensions must be limited to a maximum of 1%.

The investment underpins Prudential’s strategy to gain first-mover advantage from new technologies and to establish itself as one of the UK’s leading stakeholder pension providers. The new Stakeholder Pension scheme supports a government initiative aimed at encouraging people who would not normally have a personal pension to make their own provisions. The new scheme was launched on 6th April 2001.

The new service centre is based on a 100-seat multichannel contact centre utilising the Aspect Contact Server. This will be used to unify and manage customer communications and automate best business practices across all channels, including phone, email, web services, and iDTV. Prudential plans to grow the contact centre substantially over the next 12 months.

Roger Kemp, Director & CIO, Prutech, the IT specialist division of Prudential, comments: “We recognised the enormous opportunity offered by the government’s proposals for stakeholder pensions, which are set to change the face of financial services as we know it. However, Stakeholder also brings big challenges - the most significant being the limiting of charges to a maximum of 1%. In order to reduce costs, we have had to redesign our processes, automating as much as possible. We are very focussed on providing our customers with information to help in their decision making and supported by a superb level of customer service.

“Aspect will enable us to use new technology such as the Internet and iDTV as a means of distribution, and also improve our service and cost-effectiveness. With Aspect’s help, we will be able to meet our demanding targets.”

Aspect was selected by Prudential after an evaluation, which also looked at a number of competitive products. Prudential was looking for a solution that offered a co-ordinated service from a central point of management, while extending customer choice. The key requirement was to provide a consistent and quality service at acceptable cost. Aspect was selected primarily because of its in-built flexibility and adaptability, which will allow rapid change or extension of services to new communications channels. This ability to support additional channels in the future was a crucial factor in Prudential’s choice. Prudential was also impressed by the robustness and functionality of the product.

With Prudential’s Stakeholder Pension scheme, customers will initially be able to administer their pension using the Internet. Via Prudential’s web site, they will be able to access details about their pension securely, apply for a stakeholder pension, set and change their payment levels, or where their payments are invested, and monitor the value of their pension. However, over the course of the year Prudential plans to introduce a number of additional services.

The site will feature a “call me” button that will link into the contact centre for value-added phone-based service, and will also have the ability to set up dynamic, real-time web chat sessions. Prudential staff will have synchronous access to the web page the customer is viewing, for example if a customer is trying to fill in a form and then has a question.

Paul Tollan, Managing Director, Aspect UK comments: “We are currently helping a number of large, blue-chip customers such as Prudential to take advantage of new digital channels like the Internet. However, the promise of cost savings only comes when customers reuse the service again and again. To build that loyalty, you've got to have an excellent service.

“The ability to link self service with human agents is essential. If people can't ask simple questions they won't complete the transaction, or they will go somewhere else. So the web can't really be treated in isolation from your other points of customer service. It is essential that consistent, integrated, interactive service is provided across the different customer touch points, with the ability to prioritise customers and transactions across the various channels. We look forward to helping Prudential realise these benefits with its new Stakeholder Pension service,” says Tollan.

Prudential is also looking at how it can extend its use of the Aspect Contact Server to other areas of the business.

“We must not ignore the importance of new technology, the Internet and e-commerce, to all of our businesses. All of this helps to improve the service we offer to customers and increases our cost-effectiveness.” Roger Kemp concluded.

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About Aspect Communications

Aspect Communications Corporation is the leading provider of business communications solutions that help companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce operating costs, gather market intelligence and increase revenue. Aspect is the trusted mission-critical partner of 76 percent of the Fortune 50, daily managing more than 3 million customer sales and service professionals worldwide. Aspect is the only company that provides the mission-critical software platform, development environment and applications that seamlessly integrate voice-over-IP, traditional telephony, email, voicemail, Web, fax and wireless business communications, while guaranteeing investment protection in a company’s front office, back office, Internet and telephony infrastructures. Aspect’s leadership in business communications solutions is based on more than 16 years of experience and over 7,600 implementations deployed worldwide. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices around the world as well as an extensive global network of systems integrators, independent software vendors and distribution partners. Aspect’s UK offices are in Stockley Park, Uxbridge, Middlesex and be reached on 0800 ASPECT (ie 0800 277328)

About Prudential

Prudential is one of the UK’s leading life insurers and is well placed to be a significant player in the stakeholder pensions market. Prudential currently has around £165 billion funds under management. For more information about Prudential, visit its web site at https://www.pru.co.uk/

For more information about Prudential’s stakeholder pension service, see http://www.pru.co.uk/stakeholder

For more information about the government stakeholder pension scheme see http://www.stakeholder.opra.gov.uk/general/index.shtml


For further information, please contact:

Michael Gray/ Adrienne Routledge
Gray Associates
Tel: 020 8 744 9168
Email: Adrienne@grayassociates.co.uk; michael@grayassociates.co.uk

Stephanie Hazan
Aspect Communications
Tel: 020 8 589 1000
Email: Stephanie.hazan@aspect.com

Leigh Johnstone
Prudential
Phone: 020 7334 6023
Email: leigh.johnstone@prudential.co.uk


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