Fight the Paradox of Growth: Virtual Assistant Technology & the Contact Center


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  • It’s great to be here today with Steve and ED to discuss the unique challenges faced by the modern contact center – and specifically, I would like to discuss how self service technology can help enhance agent efficiency and the elusvie FCR numbers, as well as create astounding economies of scale for contact centers….
  • … . But before I begin, I thought I might take a few quick minutes to introduce IntelliResponse to those of you not familiar with our organization – we are a next generation question and answer software platform that allows consumers, employees and service agents to ask self-service questions in natural language, and get a single accurate answer - regardless of the hundreds of ways the question may be asked.  And our technology can deliver this “One Right Answer” across a wide array of assisted and self-service customer interaction channels that include corporate web sites, mobile devices, customer service desktops and social media platforms.
  • We have more than 350 live customer facing implementations of our SaaS based answer suite technology – and we currently answer more than 90 questions annually – for Fortune 2000 companies across a variety of verticals that include financial services, insurance, retail, insurance and higher education
  • So, as many of you on the line today are acutely aware, pressures on the contact center are significant these days – and despite (or perhaps because of) the explosion of technology and channel options, many contact centers are busier and more harried than ever. So, in keeping with that theme, for the next few minutes – I would like to discuss a significant paradox or contradiction of growth that occurs with the modern contact center – and how that challenge can be addressed with agent efficiency and economies of scale.
  • So here it is – what is good for the organization – ie growth, expansion, increased sales, new products or extensions – can in fact, make things very difficult for the contact center
  • Often when growth occurs – or even significant cost cutting for that matter – they have little to now impact on the actual contact rate commonly experienced by the organization, or how efficient the organization is an addressing these questions when they arrrive… So you have then what we see here in this chart – the paradox – what is good for the corporation can be bad for the contact center….
  • And the effects of such a paradox can be significant, in terms of the impact on stress on the contact center itself, and the major areas of service quality
  • This recent Accenture study says it all really…
  • And many of these issues – aside from being compounded by the paradox – have been exacerbated by the very technologies that were designed to help – large knowledge, search and CRM platforms that index volumes and volumes of content Indexing volumes and volumes of content Inability to deliver true answers – which is what agents need and customers demand Sluggish, hard to navigate document databases Ever-expanding volume of
  • And you get what we see represented here – overwhelmed agents with unsatisfactory access to ANSWERS – often simple information that if easily accessed can answer 40-60% of inbound queries to the typical contact center
  • So, enter the new generation of virtual assistant or web self-service technologies – light, often delivered in the cloud – these efficient, multi-channel technologies are designed to provide consistent ANSWERS to commonly asked questions across the enterprise In turn, they can have significant impact on both agent efficiency and providing desperately needed economies of scale to the contact center
  • First call resolution is the lynchpin of contact center efficiency. FCR is widely viewed as the holy grail of contact center effectiveness. Decreasing the number of calls as well as making the customers happy, assists in keeping labour costs in line. The point is to ensure that contact with customers is complete, and the customers get exactly what they needed without having to call multiple times. Focusing on FCR has a variety of important benefits, including Reducing operating costs Improve Csat Improve Esat (Employee Satisfaction) Reduce customers at risk Increase Opportunities to sell   Internal: If FCR is measured internally – call center industry average is 84%, however when it is measured externally the industry average is 67% - it is the external method that matters the most. Having the CSR ask if they resolved the customer’s call at the end of the call, creates CSR accountability and usually, there is a target of 85% or higher of CSRs asking the call resolution question.
  • The next few slides go into some detail about the importance of FCR and some of the challenges faced by companies in delivering on the promise of a “one and done” philosophy….this data comes from SQM Service Quality Measurement (SQM) Group: Call center industry expert for FCR best practices which lead to improving operating cost, customer service and retention SQM benchmarks 450+ leading international call centers For the Average Call Center – only 49% of inbound calls are “one and done” – so approx 50% not resolved on the first call
  • So FCR can be an elusive goal, but it is definitely one worth attaining – particularly when it comes to CSAT – as the slide here indicates, For every 1% increase in FCR = 1% increase in Csat For the average call center SQM benchmarks, a 1% improvement in their FCR performance equals $276,000 in annual operational savings .
  • So what causes FCR rates to be challenged? Often the roots of the issue can be traced back to the CSR’s directly, and to their inability to access the right information SQM research shows that when we look at the reasons a customer has to place two or more calls into a call center, the majority of the time it is due to something that the CSR did or didn’t do (44%). As an example, the CSR may be unclear or giving wrong information. Given that the CSRs are the FCR primary source of error, it is imperative that your FCR improvement efforts are first focused at the CSR level. Improving CSR source of error is an easier undertaking than improving organizational source of error issues. Also, many FCR organizational issues tend to be out of the call center’s scope of responsibilities.
  • Here is an example of a 2X2 matrix that outlines the frequency of certain types of service related issues, and the level of satisfactionn fixing them can have on the customer experience – again from SQM research data. The areas that show up in the “fix these first” quadrant are directly related to the CSR providing the wrong information – the CSR lacking the right knowledge to properly help the customer and billing issues – fixing these areas will significantly improve FCR performance
  • So here is an example of a customer of ours, ING – and their experience with implementing VA/Self-service technology into their contact center environment ING Direct was suffering from a high escalation rate at their customer service contact centre. At the root of the problem was ING’s central Intranet database, which housed all supporting documentation on products, services, policies and campaigns. First-line agents found it sluggish and hard to navigate.
  • ING needed to quickly replace the Intranet interface with a contact centre tool the agents liked and coould use quickly and consistently to deliver answers to their common questions. What’s more, the new tool had to be highly accurate in its results, so agents had the confidence to lead customers toward resolution on the first call. Agent Answers allows call centre agents to key in a question, phrased in natural human language, and see the result on the very next screen, presented as a single, accurate answer
  • Escalations Drop Immediately, and by 49% in One Year Escalation calls to Level 2 supervisors dropped by an average of 33% when Agent Answers went live, and by 49% at the end of the first year. Escalations continued to drop afterwards, even as ING Direct’s customer volume was significantly growing due to an expansion in ING’s customer base
  • With the explosion of web –based interaction points available to consumers these days – there is significant opportunity for next generation, effectiv self service to directly benefit the contact center by effectively removing call chat and email volume from the contact center This can only be achieved if self service options are clear, consistent and deliver answers to common customer questions across the channels they prefer, including web, mobile and social media
  • Global financial institution 38,000 employees worldwide 11 million clients One of the 10 largest banks in North America
  • Thank you everyone – please feel to reach out to me directly, go to our web-site or download our latest whitepaper for more information…
  • Fight the Paradox of Growth: Virtual Assistant Technology & the Contact Center

    1. 1. <ul><li>Fight the Paradox of Growth: </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual Assistant Technology & the Contact Center </li></ul>
    2. 2. IntelliResponse: Multi-Channel Answer Suite
    3. 3. Customers’ Benefiting Today <ul><li>More than 350 live , customer facing implementations - Answering over 85 million questions with one right answer </li></ul><ul><li>A SaaS company with credentials in large enterprise delivery </li></ul>Financial Services Higher Education Consumer & Corporate
    4. 4. PARADOX
    5. 5.
    6. 6. Growth Can Be Tough on the Contact Center
    7. 7. The Results
    8. 8. Customer Problems for Contact Centers 69% say agents do not have the answers they are looking for 44% say the agents are slow to respond 87% bounced to multiple agents during single interaction 50% of the respondents said poor service led them to change service providers last year Customer Service Study 2,000 people interviewed
    9. 9.
    10. 10. Too Much Information
    11. 11. Virtual Agent Technology <ul><ul><li>Increased Agent Efficiency (FCR) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economies of Scale </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. #1 Call Center Metric = First Call Resolution Most Important Call center metric for measuring and managing call center service and cost performance is FCR .
    13. 13. “ One and Done” ?? %
    14. 14. FCR is Directly Correlated with Csat Source: The Essential Call Center KPIs, Think Services & SQM
    15. 15. Source of Errors
    16. 16. CSR giving wrong information & lacking knowledge are the top 2 issues to fix
    17. 17. Virtual Assistant Technology at ING
    18. 18. ING – Agent Answers
    19. 19. ING Direct – Improvements in FCR <ul><li>50% reduction in 2nd line escalations </li></ul>
    20. 20. Shouldering the Burden Traditional Digital Mobile + +
    21. 21. CIBC Bank <ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Emails decreased by 50% </li></ul><ul><li>Calls decreased by 25% </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Voice of Customer&quot; data informing web/product </li></ul><ul><li>Single message via web, mobile and e-mail agent </li></ul>
    22. 22. Virtual Assistants & The Contact Center <ul><li>Increase FCR % by 10%-50% </li></ul><ul><li>Improve CSAT </li></ul><ul><li>Quality & consistency of service delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce deployment & agent training time </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce call and e-mail volume significantly </li></ul>
    23. 23. Thank-You HAVE A QUESTION? Copyright © 2010, IntelliResponse Systems Inc. All rights reserved. The trademarks identified herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of IntelliResponse Systems Inc. or other third party. New Whitepaper: VA Technology & The Contact Center