Brad is a loyal customer using a TV subscription through a large telecom company. He decided to switch to a more optimized subscription model and save $15 a month on his current subscription. For Brad, this is a simple plan change, and he expects it to happen quickly and seamlessly. But was it so easy for the telecom company to deliver?
As things were, the telecom company based in New Zealand was operating on three CRM systems as a legacy of a long history of acquisitions. And unfortunately, for the contact center agents, these systems were not integrated. Now when Brad calls the contact center for his plan change, the telecom company’s agent needs to do multiple things on disparate systems to fulfill this request.

  • First, Brad’s service on the current CRM and billing software must be disconnected, and a final bill should be sent to him.
  • Then, the agent must migrate Brad from the current CRM to a new CRM, including any further changes made
  • And finally, the agent needs to set Brad up as a new customer in the new CRM with a new bill, new due date, new bank details to pay, new account number, new credentials, etc.

All of this must be done while masking that Brad is a “disconnect and reconnect” so that he doesn’t get the “Sorry you are leaving…” and “Welcome to…” communications. You can imagine the potential of errors in this transaction!
And this is just one instance. Contact center agents at the telecom company were using a twin-screen setup and toggled between 20+ applications – a mix of CRMs, wizards, and other tools to complete customer transactions. This system was inefficient and led to a broken experience for both the customers and the contact center agents. It was time for a change.


In a customer-centric world, the winning formula resides in crafting unique customer experiences (CX). A McKinsey study1 shows that companies providing a superior experience across customer journeys realized a 10-15% increase in revenue and a 20% increase in customer satisfaction.
Today, contact centers are the key custodians of brand and customer experience and often the first point of contact. The days of 9-5, weekdays-only customer support are long gone. New-age consumers leverage multiple channels to interact with service providers and demand for round-the-clock support. Businesses are being pushed to provide contextual information, faster problem resolution, and personalized service on the channel of the customers’ choice to survive in a competitive landscape.
Automation has become essential to ensure efficient functioning of contact centers – and not for the cost implications alone. While automation definitely reduces the cost to serve, its impact on CX can drive sales, boost revenues, improve CSAT, drive customer loyalty, and increase agent effectiveness.

The telecom company, in this case, realized that they needed to reduce complexity and create successful and seamless end-to-end journeys for their agents and customers. They decided to move to a single view system that leveraged Intelligent Automation (IA) to improve the quality and efficiency of their contact centers, delivering business benefits at various customer touchpoints and increasing customer satisfaction.

The key questions facing the telecom company in New Zealand were:

  • How do we ensure our frontline provides the best experience to our customers from a contact center perspective and resolve issues first-time- every-time, without the need for the customer to call back?
  • How do we deliver aligned, simple, and easy interactions, which enable us to execute flawlessly for our customers at an overall lower cost-to-deliver?
  • How do we improve visibility and manage efficiency and productivity of what we were doing?

Answering these questions required reimagining the entire process with the customer at its core, stripping out non-value-added work, and redesigning the workflows to ensure seamless execution. A 360-degree single view of customer and automation would play a key role in ensuring that the contact center was able to meet the business goals.
The telecom company decided to implement an aggregator-type solution that could sit over the current Fixed and Mobile CRMs and tools, providing a common view of the customer to the front line (retail, direct sales, care, account managed) and back-office teams (provisioning, bill & credit). The solution would also have the ability to trigger and manage integrated taskflows across systems and could be implemented quickly.
The biggest component of this solution providing a common view was AssistEdge Engage – that helped bring together multiple diverse applications. EdgeVerve’s AssistEdge comes with rich capabilities of AI and Automation and helps organizations reimagine their contact center and achieve superior customer experience.

AssistEdge Engage enabled the telecom company to aggregate across multiple CRMs and tools, create a common view of customers from dashboards built atop the automation layer, and manage integrated pathways across systems.

The solution providing the common view also used bots to integrate and automate systems and tasks for agents offering guided assistance to improve outcomes. The solution used intelligent automation and productivity tools to streamline workflows and intelligent workload distribution to prioritize issues.
The two significant changes that happened were the introduction of Single Agent Login and Integrated Dashboard. Single Agent Login simplified the agents’ task and reduced effort. Instead of logging into and maintaining access to 20+ applications, the agents could simply log on to one system and get automatic access to all relevant applications. At the same, time they could view key customer information from multiple CRMs on one Integrated Dashboard making it easier to have customer-focused interactions.

When considering contact center automation, it’s important to consider all possibilities to deliver improvements actively. A key to this is a deep understanding of the process. Organizations need to understand that, more often than not, a phased approach works best for automation compared to a big bang route that seeks to solve all major problems in one go. For all AI technologies, there is a learning and stabilization period, and the solution will not work 100% from day one. As some companies have learned the hard way, when introducing these technologies, it’s essential to do a pilot and introduce them in a controlled way. And finally, as important as technology is to contact center transformation, it’s a significant change in the way people work. It needs leadership buy-in and organizational change management initiatives to succeed.
The new system with automation, self-service, and virtual assistant options helped the telecom company reduce the time taken for resolution, improved agent effectiveness, reduced repeat calls, and customer escalations, and increased conversion rates while reducing costs. They also achieved faster speed-to-competency for the new front and back-office people utilizing the targeted redesigned processes.

For instance, in the fixed sales and order entry process, the telecom company moved from 5+ disparate systems and 17 manual templates for capturing sales order information to one integrated tool and order entry form. This helped reduce the total work time by 15% and reduce repeat calls by 58%. In addition, the revenue per day per agent went up by $206. Similarly, for the fixed relocations order entry process – that triggers when a customer changes addresses – taskflow validation, automation, and integrated tool helped bring down order reject rates to almost zero from an earlier 5-13%. The total work time across CRMs also reduced by up to 73%.

The real value of contact center automation lies not in the cost savings alone, but the experience it can deliver for the customers and the people engaged in the process.

Benefits of contact center automation

Agent Customer Brand Promise
  • Faster onboarding with guided assistance
  • Reduced complexity
  • Single, intuitive interface
  • Ability to spend more time engaging with the customer
  • Less wait time
  • Contextual and quick resolution
  • First-time resolution,Less hold up
  • Less transfer
  • Improve NPS
  • Increase revenues
  • Focused customer experience uplift through the contact
  • center

The massive amounts of information available to contact centers make them ideal use cases for AI implementation. Using historical transaction data, call logs, behavioral patterns etc., AI can help businesses identify why calls arise in the first place. It can also pinpoint if the root cause of the issue is elsewhere or if there is seasonality in a particular type of call. These insights can help companies design proactive communication and process intervention to prevent that call from happening in the first place. Another application of AI would be in assessing, prioritizing, and routing calls based on criticality and the level of support needed. For instance, routine calls could be routed to self-service options or virtual assistants.

With 68% people finding messaging to be the most convenient way to contact a business2, the use of AI chatbots in contact centers is only going to grow.

In addition, a combination of IVR and NLP engine could improve first call resolution by connecting the customer to the agent most suitable to address their query. Incident automation through RPA can reduce wait times.
And finally, AI can help improve agent performance through unified desktops and guided response. It can also help monitor performance and improve the overall contact center experience by providing actionable business insights for performance management through service performance management dashboards.
AI impact in the contact center :

  • Call issue reason prediction intelligence
  • Call triage and resolution automation
  • Conversational virtual assistant
  • Unified agent desktop
  • Actionable business insights for performance management

Thriving in the intelligent future

The possibilities that smart technologies can unearth together are immense. For instance, machine learning (ML) can help identify the best way to contact a customer by identifying the time and manner of communication they prefer. This could dramatically improve collection conversations! Similarly claims could benefit significantly from OCR and AI based information extraction from documents. The customer can click a photo of that document and send that can be immediately processed by the system – no more delays or lags due to manual interventions. As contact centers take a lead in customer engagement, organizations need to move away from point solutions and instead look at a synergy where these technologies come together to do what they do best and amplify the overall outcome

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