NU Online News Service, Jan. 7, 11:55 a.m. – UnumProvident Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn., has completed installing Avaya G3 switches in all of its national call centers.

Now that UnumProvident has completed the switching system, a broker, employer, benefits claimant or other caller can reach the disability insurer through a national toll-free telephone number, then enter an identification number.

Once the switching system has the ID number, it can route a call to a suitable “live human being” at any UnumProvident call center, UnumProvident says.

The system also gives call center managers detailed information about how long customer service representatives have been on the telephone, how long callers have been waiting to speak to human beings, the number of abandoned calls, and the length of calls.

UnumProvident says it is using the switching system to integrate the call centers it has absorbed through past acquisitions.

UnumProvident installed its first G3 switch in its Portland, Maine, call center in 1998, then installed switches in a Glendale, Calif., call center in 2000, and a Chattanooga call center in mid-2001.

UnumProvident says it put the new switching system to a tough test after the Sept. 11 attacks, when it used the system to set up a national, toll-free telephone number for employers, employees and brokers with concerns related to the attacks.

Setting up the crisis hotline took just five hours.

Because UnumProvident had the new switching system, it could combine the services of crisis specialists in Portland with help from customer service representatives in Chattanooga during periods when callers swamped the Portland office, UnumProvident says.