The new era of the digital world has seen technology advance in ways we couldn’t imagine possible. The idea that technology could help us live our lives isn’t a new concept, but allowing us to take a step back and hand over the reins to AI still baffles many.
MATE is a locally owned and operated national provider of telecommunications services to consumers and businesses based in Western Sydney. As part of its customer service, it operates a contact centre which is staffed 8am – 7pm, Mon – Fri (and 4pm Sat) for phone, email and webchat enquiries. With exceptional customer service a core pillar of the company’s values, introducing new customer-facing technology is not a decision taken lightly.
“What we were trying to solve was that we haven’t got 24 hour support,” says Mark Fazio, MATE General Manager, in their recent ‘Let’s Be Mates’ Podcast.
“We haven’t got somebody answering the phones 24 hours and that’s because we want our team to live their life at some point, some way shape or form. We also want to support customers that want to be speaking with MATE or a customer of ours out of business hours, this is where the whole conversation started.”
“One of the things we wanted to focus on is after hours support, identifying what people will be missing and how could we support them? We know there’s a need, but we also know people come from all different places, all walks of life and do things very differently.”
Given this, when the team at MATE decided to employ a specialised chatbot named Grace, it was crucial that she was designed to deliver a flawless experience every time. Grace is available on MATE’s website 24/7, doesn’t take holidays or days off sick, and can have multiple conversations at any one time (sounds like the ideal employee, right?).
The idea was to support existing and prospective customers via a new digital channel to promote self-service and increase customer satisfaction, without increasing contact centre resourcing or going offshore.
How is Grace effective?
Grace helps users find the best MATE product for their needs and can handle a large number of complex support enquiries. Since going live Grace has assisted thousands of MATE’s customers to learn about products or problem-solve issues with their home internet or mobile service.
If a customer requires assistance from a human representative, Grace gathers detailed information about the issue and the customer and conveniently passes it to the MATE support team. Through its successful implementation, Grace is being expanded to provide even greater assistance to new or existing customers wanting to find the perfect service for them.
The whole point was that Grace takes care of everybody, becoming a visual experience, wearing her MATE shirt, creating a very human experience.
Okay, but what is the purpose of Grace?
Human issues are often very complex, and for that reason, people need to be on the front line, able to deal with these issues and action accordingly. Grace offers the option to humanise this service, even when there isn’t a real person available. You might be able to have a two or three minute chat with Grace and then be able to walk away and feel a sense of self-satisfaction that you have solved the issue yourself.
“The one thing that we don’t want to do is outsource our call centre to a different country right now,” says Mark Fazio, MATE General Manager, in their recent ‘Let’s Be Mates’ Podcast.
“It’s not that call centres in different countries are bad, it’s that they’re not managed properly in our opinion. How much access do you have to them, how much can you train them on an ongoing basis?”
We worked with MATE customer service leads to replicate a first-level support call, including diagnosing and resolving straightforward technical issues, as well as personalised information to support MATE’s customer service and sales efforts.
First, dialogue tree content was built based on real world queries, with an initial structure of 3 core topics of enquiry. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) was applied to assist users find a point on the branch that best related to their query, with dialogue tree fallback always available.
Since going live 12 months ago Grace has assisted over 42,000 MATE customers to learn about products or problem-solve issues with their home internet or mobile service. Importantly, over half of these have been after-hours when the contact centre is closed. Grace has also raised over 100 support tickets per month since the escalation pathway was available.
This has made the job easier for both the customer and MATE support agent, because both know what actions the customer has already taken to problem-solve the issue. She is now viewed as one of the team at MATE.
“The customer is at the heart of everything we do at MATE and we focus each day on being better than the next as we know service is one of the biggest factors for customer loyalty. We can’t be open 24/7 so Grace, our AI bot created by the Clevertar team, enables us to be open to service customers (current and new) around the clock.
We have chosen to expand Grace throughout our business as we know customers want instant answers while they are searching for services. Grace enables us to take advantage of all these situations and not leave the customer with an experience where we couldn’t help them with their inquiry.” Mark Fazio, MATE General Manager.
If you’d like to learn more about Clevertar’s leading-edge specialised chatbot platform and its impressive results in real-world deployments, check out our customer stories.