Case Study: Scaling Customer Support and Managing Demand Peaks Using an AI Digital Assistant
If there’s one thing that is hard to predict it is the ebb and flow of customer support requests that come into a customer service desk. So how are you scaling customer support without increasing the number of live agents in your contact center?
Certain events can trigger unprecedented demand for a contact center, such as weather-related events, launching new products, new marketing campaigns, service disruptions, and as we all witnessed in 2020, a pandemic. Some traffic can be forecast but there is always a degree of uncertainty that can create bottlenecks. Here’s the story of how an online gaming company deployed a digital AI assistant to help them scale their customer support and better manage the peaks in traffic to their service desk agents. You can download the full case study report here.
Intouch Games Turns to AI Automation to Help Scale Customer Support
Intouch Games was founded in 2001, in the West Midlands, UK, as a manufacturer of leisure machines for the hospitality industry. In 2006, the company launched its first mobile casino games and has since won several awards for mobile gaming applications and in-browser casino and bingo games, which are all developed in-house. Employing more than 400 people and working across 7 brands, Intouch Games offers hundreds of games to a customer base of more than 4 million players.
Proud of its reputation for exceptional service, the company wanted to scale customer support for players while managing any peaks in demand. In an average month, the customer service team handles around 60,000 queries via live chat. They needed to find a way to rapidly scale to support any increases in traffic that result from adding new brands and more customers. Adding more agents wasn’t feasible from either a cost or training perspective so they decided that a conversational AI bot solution would be the answer.
Choosing a Chatbot Solution Provider
Intouch Games developed its own live chat system, so they needed a vendor that would be able to integrate seamlessly with this and other back-office systems. They also needed a solution that would support customers on mobile devices as well as desktops. Intouch Games was particularly attracted by the versatility of the ServisBOT Conversational AI Platform.
Harriet Grant, Head of People and Services at Intouch Games explained their choice of ServisBOT as follows:
“It’s very flexible. We really liked the fact that ServisBOT’s platform could be used to create a single bot to serve all of our brands, across all channels, removing the burden of managing multiple bots. The pricing was very straightforward, and every person we spoke to was very helpful.”
Scaling Customer Support and Improving Service
Gaming customers contact Intouch Games to have their queries resolved either using the phone or live chat. The chatbot solution was the first piece of automation that the company has adopted, allowing them to easily scale by offering options for self-service on both live chat and phone queries.
The chatbot is only offered to customers who are logged into their account and provides an option for them to continue their conversation with a live chat agent if their query is not successfully resolved by the bot. They developed a triage of topics, which were used to train the chatbot, and focused on automating the most repetitive queries choosing queries such as bonuses, wagering, withdrawals, and verification ID requests.
After building the bot and successfully automating responses to players’ most common queries on the first brand, a staged deployment took place across the other six brands. According to Harriet,
“The integration between ServisBOT and our in-house live chat system went smoothly, requiring just a small amount of coding.”
Automation Kicks In using the Bot
In the first 90 days of the bot being live, approximately 92,000 customers engaged with it, of which 28% did not require escalation to the contact center team.
Lee Willis, Head of UK Customer Services at Intouch Games, summarized the success:
“The chatbot is doing its job, the reduction in the volume of live chats was instantaneous. By mid-December, just over a month after all brands were launched, we were experiencing a 28% reduction in the volume of live chat inquiries needing to be handled by the contact center team.”
Despite adding a further new brand, and a subsequent increase in traffic, Intouch Games live support queue times have continued to meet their target. This has been significantly impacted by the 28% of queries that do not reach agents, because the bot is resolving them.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, the chatbot allows customers to rate their experience, and many show their satisfaction. Additionally, the contact center team are on board with the bot as it makes their lives a lot easier. With less time spent responding to repetitive, simple queries they can now help players with more complicated and unique issues. They’re grateful that the company has invested in chatbot technology.
Plans for Extending Bot Experience and Projects
Based on the success of this first chatbot project, Intouch Games is looking at additional opportunities to automate and provide enhanced customer experience via self-service, including integration with the contact center’s phone IVR system, automation of account queries, and, potentially, automation of ID verification. In the future, the company foresees using the ServisBOT platform to handle various types of account queries, as well as providing customers with a more personalized overall experience through tight integration with backend systems.
Read the Intouch Games Chatbot Story here.
Why Automation-First Before Live Chat
If there is one thing that the global pandemic taught us in 2020, it’s that nothing is certain and an over-reliance on the availability of a human worker in an office or contact center does not guarantee business continuity. Although the digital revolution wasn’t new to us, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated a dramatic shift towards digital engagement and automation, powered by AI. Self-service is no longer nice to have but a must-have for many businesses that rely on high volumes of customer or employee interactions. Gartner’s CIO Agenda 2021, highlighted two key data-points around self-service.
- 65% of CIOs saw an increase in the use of self-service by customers/citizens in 2020,
- 79% expect that usage to grow in 2021.
Traditional channels that depend solely on responses from live human workers such as phone lines, email, contact forms, and live chat need to now work alongside digital assistants. An automation-first approach where digital assistants fully or partially automate responses to common customer queries before handing off to a live chat agent is shaping the future of customer service.
For more information about how ServisBOT can help your business quickly launch a customer service bot platform and put automation to work in your customer service organization, please contact us.