After mergers, we had four separate agent knowledge bases in use and customers were getting an inconsistent service. This wasn’t good enough.
Successfully merging the knowledge solutions between EE, BT and PlusNet meant our resulting 550 stores and 10,000 contact centre agents were handling over 3.5 million calls per month. However, agents were struggling to find the information they needed to serve customers, because they had to juggle between four separate knowledge bases. Customers were getting different answers, depending on who’d answered their call.
This inconsistency confused customers and led to 19 million instances where customers had to call back to sort out their issue, driving up our service costs and hitting customer satisfaction levels hard.
With the added challenges that came with agents working from home during the pandemic, it was essential we delivered a single knowledge-based system as soon as possible to increase and standardise our customer service levels.
A new strategy for our knowledge-based system
We decided to take a strategic change of direction to make sure our new solution would be fit for purpose and fit for the future.
Traditionally, contact centres have been based on a ‘search’ methodology, with agents looking for answers to customer queries. Instead, we chose to move to a ‘guided-help’ system. Our Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tool would walk agents through compliance-ready steps to an answer or diagnosis. This more prescriptive approach would make sure our agents gave consistent answers. As a bonus, it would cut the amount of training agents needed and would deliver a more satisfying agent work-from-home experience.
Establishing clear and ambitious priorities
Our priorities were to create a knowledge base that was guided, proactive, easy to use and personalised – plus we wanted it to be able to ‘learn’ so it would improve with use.
Our vision was to provide information to the right place at the right time, making sure it was at the agent’s fingertips instantly. We wanted customers to feel their service was bespoke to them and their needs. From the agent’s perspective, we wanted it to be simple to use effectively. And we wanted the solution to be updated regularly, including immediate action when an agent raises a problem.
Choosing a trusted partner for rapid progress
eGain were our first choice of partner because we’d worked with the company on a previous EE project and had been impressed by their capabilities, commitment, collaborative approach and willingness to get hands-on to understand our challenges.
Building one solution that worked for every brand
We needed an intuitive solution that met the requirements of every department, so we started by building smaller sections that would later come together into one eGain knowledge tool.
It was a smooth build process, beginning with recruiting subject matter experts and high performing agents and training them for a knowledge management role. We then identified reasons customers typically called, linked these to current processes / answers and reviewed each solution pathway to see if it could be improved further. Once we were satisfied with each pathway, eGain built them on Microsoft Visio, got sign off from the process experts and then went ahead with building our new eGain knowledge solution. Once live, agents tested each process and gave feedback for adjustments before we moved to piloting and launch.
Welcoming ‘Albert’ onto our customer service team
The result was a comprehensive eGain knowledge management programme called ‘Albert’, after Albert Einstein. Albert is driven by the voice of the customer and offers agents guided help across almost unlimited scenarios and unhappy paths, including 20,000 articles which eGain has distilled into AI-process guidance flows. Albert is also tailored to the needs of different departments, ranging from compliance pathways to educating elderly customers on the changes that happen when they move to digital voice.
To make sure a customer’s experience is as satisfying as possible, eGain set up Albert to pass key customer and device information into guided help, so it’s available for agents within seconds of a call. Links back to the CRM tool also give agents access to detailed information at any point in the call. And, to fit in with our customers’ busy lives, Albert offers the ability to pause calls and resume them later to avoid repetition.
Albert has transformed our contact centre service
On average, we see:
Continuing the improvement drive
Our customer service doesn’t stand still. We’re now working with eGain on continuous improvements to our conversational guidance principles, faster resolution paths and further automation to support frontline colleagues and drive cost savings.
We also know that our customers face similar business challenges so we’re working with them to replicate the success that we’ve achieved.
To find out more about Albert and our work with eGain, please visit our customer contact page.