South African Airways (SAA) has completed the first phase of an upgrade to its IVR (interactive voice response) system, introducing a modernised self-service automation and CTI (computer telephony interface) to improve customer service.
The new system SAA implemented is the VoiceGenie platform and Nuance speech recognition and Avaya CTI, supplied and implemented by Intelleca. The new solution replaced an ageing system which had been supplied some years ago.
Benefits for SAA are an enhanced working environment for call centre agents; improved customer service; reduction of calls to its contact centre; less caller frustration; and vastly reduced waiting time.
"The new system provides us with a customer-friendly interface to all our customers, including our Voyager members," says Mike Re, CIO of SAA. "It has brought SAA in line with world best practice, and removed points of friction and frustration, replacing them with a superior user experience."
The new system is streamlined and in line with current practice. "Call flows were redesigned to make them more user-friendly, with fewer steps for the caller. A voice-activated persona was chosen that is professional and aligned with the SAA brand," says Shaun Cochrane, director at Intelleca. "Other large South African corporates that have implemented the system have experienced dramatic benefits since redesigning their call flows and IVR persona."
The IVR applies to the entire SAA contact centre, but with particular focus initially on the Voyager loyalty programme. Voyager members will be able to retrieve balances and statements, or request statements to be faxed.
Callers can still get through to agents, if they would like to, but they have the ability to resolve several queries themselves. Intelleca has also implemented a customer survey application where customers can rate the quality of the service they experience through the contact centre.
This will give the airline valuable insight into callers' perceptions, the overall customer experience SAA provides and improve customer service. In addition, SAA has used the new platform to launch Intelleca's automated flight information system, where people can call in and obtain details of SAA flights by simply saying which flight number and city they want information on.
The system also has the capability to recognise words spoken in different accents and has the functionality that once a customer's Voyager number and PIN have been keyed in, this information is captured and stored.
With the new system call centre agents will immediately have a caller's details in front of them once connected. This will add to professionalism, and promises a more pleasant experience for callers.
When a caller is transferred from the IVR system to a call centre agent, his name, telephone number, Voyager details and miles, and verification status from the IVR session are carried across into the conversation. Phase 2 will see Intelleca deploying more call centre functions, including e-commerce integration using VoiceXML, further leveraging SAA's existing investment in Flysaa.com.