When Charles Schwab & Co. needed a faster way to process the 300,000 customer service calls it receives every day, the discount brokerage firm hired a software firm to integrate its telephone and computer systems. As a result, Schwab's new service system has shaved 15 to 20 seconds off each customer call, boosting the productivity of its sales representatives by 10 percent.

The system-designed by San Francisco-based Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc.-reduces the amount of time wasted obtaining customer information and routes inquiries to the appropriate sales reps. Genesys's computer-telephony integration (CTI) is an open platform that forms the basis for a multimedia call center. Customers can access information using the telephone, video and the Internet.

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