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A Case Study: Improving the Customer Experience Through Text Analytics and Automation

James Vecchio

Here is a case study that shows how one global organization is using text analytics and real-time automation to streamline its contact center’s email triage to reduce manual case reading and enhance routing, allowing its agents to focus more on customer care.

Company Overview

Founded in 2006, Xero Limited, NZE: XRO, is a New Zealand-based software company that develops cloud-based accounting software used by small and medium-sized businesses. The company provides business owners and their advisors with real-time visibility of their financial position and performance in a way that’s simple, smart, and secure. Xero has over 1 million subscribers in more than 180 countries.  

The Situation

Based on the principle that small businesses are highly sensitive to shifts in their balance sheet and cash flow, Xero is committed to offering subscribers the ability to monitor financial performance in real-time and provides them with unlimited, round-the-clock customer support.

In 2016, the company implemented the Salesforce.com Service Cloud, which Xero relied on to create assignment rules for incoming customer service inquiries.

“One of the benefits of using Service Cloud is its out-of-the-box functionality,” says a Xero representative.  “It allowed us the ability to create assignment rules so that we could route incoming customer service inquiries to the appropriate agent queue depending on their support need.”

This functionality was sufficient in terms of identifying key words to use to assign and route cases to queues, but required considerable time to manually analyze which key words should trigger which assignment rules. After ending up with nearly ninety assignment rules across thirty queues, Xero quickly realized there was room for improvement. In many instances, cases were getting assigned to an incorrect agent queue or getting routed to a general queue, which required additional manual review and cost.

Xero was determined to find a solution that would help them get more cases to the right people.

The Challenge

“Prior to implementing Service Cloud, we had a number of key members on our customer experience team who were responsible for ensuring that our queues were cleared of cases that were incorrectly assigned,”said a lead business analyst for the company. “This involved a lot of cost, time and resources to move these cases. When we moved from our previous case management solution to Service Cloud, our operation for assigning cases to a queue and then to an agent was all done manually.”

Even with the help of Service Cloud’s native assignment rules, Xero’s Customer Experience team still required considerable resources to monitor their queues 24/7 due to the inaccurate results of their rules. 

Xero was intent on finding a solution to classify incoming customer service emails more effectively and using automation to resolve more cases so that their service agents could spend less time reading and routing cases and more time improving the customer experience.

The Solution

“We started out researching general keyword analysis tooling to try and help us build out the manual rules more effectively, because we were spending a lot of time manually reviewing case examples that weren’t correct,” said a company representative.

Xero eventually turned to the Salesforce AppExchange and, with some additional guidance from a Salesforce success manager, learned about a contact center business intelligence and process automation solution. Using machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) technology, the solution learns from agents and applies existing routing logic to match support requests with the right skillset and responds to customers automatically based on the content of their customer service request. The solution is available through the Salesforce AppExchange, which enables users to leverage all the native reports and dashboards and track ROI in real time. 

Xero took advantage of the this contact center analytics solution to replace and augment manual agent efforts, resulting in:

  • ●Increased support team efficiencies by analyzing every support request in real time, improving routing speed and accuracy.
  • ●Enhanced risk identification, ensuring important critical issues don’t fall through the cracks.

The Result

With the help of a contact center analytics and automation solution, the team at Xero has been able to eliminate a lot of the manual routing processes associated with managing queues and, as a result, has streamlined its contact center operations by freeing up more resources. Now, instead of spending time manually managing the queues, Xero’s agents can focus on customers and their service requests within the queues.

“Operationally, we’ve become a lot smarter by being more proactive with how we use our people day-to-day because we’ve been able to free up more resources and place them on activities that are more focused on improving the customer experience.”

The ability to route cases to the appropriate agents more efficiently has allowed Xero to realize quantifiable benefits in a short amount of time. Within just the first month of going live, Xero reviewed its highest volume queues and discovered it had significantly increased agent productivity by not having to reassign cases that had been incorrectly routed to the wrong queue. In addition, they’ve improved their ability to meet certain service level agreements, which they attribute in part to being able to assign cases to the correct queues the first time. Xero has also begun to leverage the solution’s automated response features to continue making improvements to the customer experience by increasing response speed and reducing the time cases are in the queue.

“We started out using contact center analytics to help us classify our queues, but over the last couple of months we’ve started using the solution to help us become more efficient by building out automated responses back to customers,” said a Xero representative. “We’ve been able to identify particular questions that can be automatically answered without requiring any specialist agent interaction. And because the solution is so scalable, we now have the ability to train additional models to use auto responses and completely automate the workflow for particular cases.”

With the help of this solution, Xero has improved its customer experience team’s operations by getting cases to the right agent while automating responses. It now boasts a more efficient customer service center, enabling the company to better meet the needs of their more than 1 million subscribers around the globe, while attracting new subscribers to the service.

J_Vecchio 2019 headshotJames Vecchio is co-founder and president of EpiAnalytics, Inc., an on-demand software company that provides artificial intelligence (AI), customer experience analytics, and business process automation to improve customer-focused operations. Prior to founding EpiAnalytics, he was the director of sales and strategic marketing at Island Data, an analytics company measuring online purchase experience for market researchers acquired by LivePerson, Inc. James fostered and grew relationships with Global 2000 organizations, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Adobe, AT&T, Walmart, Xerox, Fox Interactive, InterActive Corp., and Liberty Media.