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The 30 per cent rule

Jack Loo | Feb. 28, 2011
For HDFC, 30 is the magic percentage for the technology division’s projects.

SINGAPORE, 28 FEBRUARY 2011—For HDFC Bank’s top technology executive Munish Mittal and his team, 30 per cent is an important number from the department’s guidelines. “It can be either reducing the turnaround time by 30 per cent or increasing the bottomline by 30 per cent,” said Mittal. He is the bank’s Executive Vice President & Head, Technology Solutions Group. HDFC Bank is one of India’s largest banks. “The key is to do simple things,” he added.

Mittal was giving a presentation on initiatives carried out by his division that were used to solve operational issues, at the Asian Financial Services Congress last week. In the first project, the bank’s customer hotline was choking up with the call centres asking for more call agents to cope with ever rising high call volumes, and customers calling in to complain that they cannot get through. Crucially, some 20 per cent of the callers were high value customers who were important to the organisation.

The solution was to adopt an “ahead of the queue” concept, which included customising the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to identify the important callers and mobilising the call agents to attend to them first. The result: the reduction of customer complaints to zero, and call volumes went down by an average of 30 per cent.

The second project saw Mittal and his team streamlining the buying process of gold products in the bank’s branches. Previously, when a customer stepped into a bank to buy gold pieces, a cycle involving multiple manual data entries and checking work would start, and would take up to 20 minutes to complete. “When there’s a festival period where people would rush to buy gold, the queues would start forming in the branches,” said Mittal

As a solution, straight through processing was adopted to cut down the time taken by the old system. Instead of multiple signatures, a signature could be verified across different systems via an existing service-oriented architecture (SOA) Web service. The result: the time taken for the buying process has been halved, and subsequently the tellers have found a 40 per cent increase in productivity. “Sometimes you just need to reorganise your existing resources to take the benefits,” said Mittal.


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