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Progress At Fast Forward
Aqua Finance, Inc.

Lender Places Call For Aggressive Growth.

Rebounding from the recession in 2012, Aqua Finance, Inc. set out with ambitious goals to grow its core business of financing residential water-treatment products. Also in the plans was expansion into other home-improvement finance contracts. In order to make it all happen, senior management at the Wausau, WI based company recognized a critical need to update their aging PBX phone system. They were also facing limited capabilities in data retrieval and reporting, making it difficult to accurately manage growth. “We had limited reporting capabilities for our managers to know what was happening,” says Mark Vander Sanden, Executive Vice President and CIO at Aqua.

Heartland Answers With A Unified Voice Solution.

Before Heartland was awarded the project, it sent a team to conduct in-depth interviews with Aqua Finance department heads to determine current needs and ideal capabilities for the future. “What stood out was Heartland’s attention to detail and investment of time,” Vander Sanden recalls. “They gave us their full attention.” Gaining an in-depth, upfront understanding of Aqua’s business enabled Heartland to create a customized system instead of merely sourcing available technologies. While total cost was certainly a consideration, key to Heartland’s strategy for Aqua was to deliver a unified voice solution that would have the greatest positive impact on the bottom line.

CMS Turns Data Into Better Customer Service.

As the basis of its voice solution for Aqua, Heartland’s team selected the Cisco Call Manager platform––planning enhancements to deliver the best options and functionality. Accordingly, Heartland and Aqua worked together to customize Call Manager to integrate with the Aqua database. As a result, data-customized screens now enable service agents to process incoming calls accurately and efficiently. Product dealers and end-user finance customers are routed directly to the appropriate Aqua resources. “It’s much less stressful for our agents,” Vander Sanden says, “because calls are better distributed.”

Contact Center Doubles As Engine For Managing.

In addition to more effective call-management capabilities, Heartland implemented a customized Cisco Calabrio solution to capture audio and screen records of service-agent interactions. This new system serves as a vital tool for Aqua mangers to provide training for their agents, and presents an accurate picture of workflow and sales volume. According to Vander Sanden, “Our managers are happy with the system.” He adds, “It was a long time coming, and they’re appreciative.” Finally, the integrated Calabrio system delivers enhanced document-management tools for verification of service transactions whenever needed.

Growth Now Flowing Efficiently At Aqua Finance.

The new, unified voice solution was fully operational in August, 2014. By June, 2015, Aqua achieved 250 percent overall growth in its business compared to 2013, regaining a sales volume close to its previous peak in 2007. Even more striking, Aqua was producing these  robust sales with fewer than half the agents. According to Vander Sanden, “A big part of our growth can be attributed to Heartland’s unified voice solution.” While the investment has been higher than originally expected, Vander Sanden says, “The costs involved are much lower than the savings we’ve achieved.” He’s also confident about that the new system will continue to support growth for Aqua Finance, concluding, “By no means are we going to level-off now.”


  • Cisco Call Manager Platform
  • Cisco Calabrio Solution