Key Customer Service Challenges Solved by IVAs

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Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Brian Morin: Everyone kind of starts at the front end on the big challenges that start to push you down the path of considering, "Are we going to take our precious CX that we don't want to disparage in any way, that we trust our humans to do, and, and then convert those human-to-human interactions? And how do we adapt them and take them through a conversion process for human-to-AI, to ensure that that experience is as good or better than live agents?" Clearly, there's a gap when you're going from one to the other. And there have to be some challenges that you're facing that caused you to want to walk that gap. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about that origin story at, at TechStyle.

Aarde Cosseboom: That's a great origin story. There are really three challenges that we face, and most companies have these similar challenges. Some companies are uniquely different. The first one I love to always touch on is the seasonal volume spike. As an e-commerce online retailer, obviously after Black Friday, we have a huge spike of contact volume, changing the workforce demand needs from a thousand agents to almost three or four thousand agents, but just for a single day or maybe two days out of the week for the whole year. It's very, very hard to spin up a couple thousand agents just to pay them for one month or just a couple of weeks. So what we wanted to do was to start to deliver some self-service options over the voice channel, which was our highest-volume channel, to enable and allow our members to be able to self-serve so that they don't have to go to a live agent, and so that we can have the right-size amount of live agents answering calls and we don't have a long wait time. So, seasonal volume spikes was really important for us to address.

That kind of leads into the second one, which is agents who are doing mundane things like answering a call and clicking a button, and then hanging up the call. That's literally all of those self-service tasks, transactional-type tasks that create high churn. Agents don't want to take 80 calls a day and just click a button, the same button, 80 single times throughout their day. That's not a very rewarding, fulfilling role. so we were having a hard time with retaining our agents. And then, of course, coming from that, trying to find talent who would be willing to do those types of tasks on a regular basis, hiring them and then onboarding them. Everyone knows you lose weeks and or months when you're hiring people to backfill people who just left.

The last thing, which is really important, is we want to make sure that when we were implementing or rolling out these automations and self-service tools, we weren't sacrificing the customer experience. We are a very membership-driven, celebrity-driven brand. So our brand presence, our brand name, our NPS score has be very, very, very high. Otherwise, our celebrities will say, "You know what, the brand isn't doing well, we're going to move to something else. We're going to promote our other brands, the ones that are really speaking our language and using our name properly." So we wanted to make sure that when we were doing automating and doing self-service, we weren't sacrificing the customer experience. And one of the things I like to call out--because Brian, you talked about this earlier--is voice. We started a voice bot before we did a chatbot. And one of the reasons we did that was because we knew that was going to be the harder and more complex channel to do it across, and with SmartAction, the actual voice or IVA that talks back--the natural-language voice--has a robotic accent, but it really is easy to converse with and easy to talk to. It doesn't sound like that synthetic robot that you might hear through an IVR.

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