Customer service is a challenge for banks, and electronic delivery channels only make this challenge more difficult. Banks not only need to help customers understand the products and services they provide, but also to support the technology through which these products and services are delivered. Consequently, Meca Software, developer of Managing Your Money, has chosen to pick up the slack in home banking and enter the tech support business.

When consumers call their bank with technical questions on any home banking product, with the notable exceptions of Intuit's Quicken and Microsoft Money, Meca will take the call. Operating as bank representatives, Meca's customer service representatives (CSRs) incorporate banks' scripts and operating procedures into their services. When customers finish their business with Meca and they still have bank-related questions, Meca CSRs can seamlessly transfer the calls to the appropriate areas in the bank.

Meca senior managers decided to enter this market upon realizing that they had built such strong support services for their own products that they could extend this service to a broader marketplace. "We found ourselves making some significant investments in technology to both improve service levels and reduce the cost of this support. Before long, we realized we had built critical mass for providing this service," says Paul Harrison, CEO of Trumbull, CT-based Meca.

And, says Gartner Group vp Bill Kirwin, Meca can use this relationship as a "Trojan Horse" to beat out competitorsoparticularly smaller playersoand sell in its products and services. "So maybe using technical support as a back door, Meca can provide a much-needed service and some level of consolidation without having to do mergers and acquisitions." FB

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