Chatbot delivers vastly improved efficiency
An investment in new chatbot technology has allowed PBT to streamline its communication, improve efficiency and ultimately provide a better customer experience. PBT is a large express courier and freight services business which has operated for more than 50 years in New Zealand, and has 21 branches and 700 employees across the country. Gary Boxall-Hunt, […]
An investment in new chatbot technology has allowed PBT to streamline its communication, improve efficiency and ultimately provide a better customer experience.
PBT is a large express courier and freight services business which has operated for more than 50 years in New Zealand, and has 21 branches and 700 employees across the country.
Gary Boxall-Hunt, PBT’s National Manager – Customer Experience, says they’re always searching for excellence in customer satisfaction and constantly looking at how the business can make clients even happier by delivering a great customer experience.
As a key part of his role, Gary is heavily involved in call monitoring and has listened to hours of calls to identify how the business could improve its customer interactions.
Noticing that customers were spending an average of six minutes on a phone call for a response to simple questions, as this was not ideal, he began to look into alternative communication channels.
With a keen personal interest in how technology could help, Gary knew that by implementing a chatbot, PBT could streamline communication, improve efficiency and ultimately provide a better customer experience.
That six-minute wait could be replaced by instant responses online, he says, leaving PBT’s experienced customer service/experience agents to deal with more complex customer queries.
“Our customers don’t want to have to search for answers – they just want an instant response. I personally use chatbots daily and wanted to introduce the technology into PBT.”
As well as reducing call wait times, the call centre team wanted to solve another problem – a lot of incoming calls were not from their core customer base, but from those expecting delivery of a product.
“In their minds, all courier companies were basically the same, and therefore they assumed we all had the same delivery standards and timelines. I saw having a GPT-powered chatbot as a huge education focus for receivers when they contacted us with delivery queries,” says Gary. “I looked into conversations involving tracking items, checking if delivery is outside service expectations, etcetera, and realised the importance of educating delivery recipients and showing them how they can self-serve as well.”
Putting the plan into place
Gary put forward a compelling business case, recommending that PBT invest in a GPT-powered chatbot to enhance its customer service operations. The company worked in partnership with One NZ, who recommended they onboard an Ambit digital employee.
“I wanted to take pressure away from the team,” recalls Gary. “None of our competitors had a chatbot – one of the key drivers in onboarding ours was wanting to be the first in the industry.”
With the silly season quickly approaching, starting with Click Frenzy in November and ending with the January sales at New Year. Gary knew that having a chatbot trained and onboard by then was going to be a game changer.
Fortunately Ambit delivered, having everything in place in time for the Christmas rush.
Onboarding PBT’s chatbot Awhi
In August 2022, Awhi was born. Implementation started with an interactive conversational design workshop. Hosted by two Customer Service Managers, Ambit took PBT through a series of exercises, ultimately resulting in the creation of the base for its key, priority conversations.
The next stage was building PBT’s digital assistant, based on the outputs from the initial workshops. Conversation flows were built in the backend and ready for testing within just a few days. After testing and feedback were completed, edits and updates were turned around within two working days – and Awhi was born.
Once live, PBT’s dashboard began tracking critical metrics for Ambit to monitor and iterate for constant growth and improvement.
Ambit checked in with PBT daily to ensure Awhi was settling in well, the team was happy and confident and that results were being monitored and tracked.
Awhi’s implementation all went according to plan.
“When we went live, it was crazy volumes, around 200 conversations a day,” recalls Gary. “That was during our peak in the silly season. September until around mid-January is always crazy-busy. “Awhi made life a hell of a lot easier and really improved our customer experience. It has exceeded all my expectations and more.”
Gary and his team knew the project wasn’t without its risks. As no other New Zealand freight company employed the technology, the team didn’t know how it would be perceived or what the feedback would be from customers.
He was so happy when Awhi launched and the business saw the amount of engagement that took place. “I remember the excitement of realising that the more people that used it, the more we could understand what people were using it for. There were a lot of learnings and as it happened, what our customers wanted turned out to be quite different to what we’d assumed in our planning sessions.”
Gary had nothing but great things to say about the service he received from Ambit’s Customer Service team. “They’re absolutely great, our client-customer relationship is superb and they make me feel really valued as a customer.”
Going strong today
Today Gary looks at Awhi as one of PBT’s employees. “Awhi is real to me, and that’s how we want our customers to feel – we want them to have a better experience.”
Ambit’s Customer Service team has been keeping Gary up to date with continual improvements, technological developments and how PBT can move Awhi forward.
“That’s the aspect of the relationship I enjoy with Ambit as well, they don’t just give you a product out of the box and say goodbye.”
Gary says the technology has taken so much pressure away from the Contact Centre and the feedback from clients has been “amazing”.
“I love how it’s given PBT a better image in the mind of both our customers and receivers and how easy Awhi is to use.”
The results of Awhi’s implementation speak for themselves. Call volumes have seen a significant reduction of more than 20%. PBT has also reduced its overheads by the cost of one-and-a-half agents, with the potential of further reducing the cost to a saving of two agents.