Kindred is evolving the way we offer help and support to our customers. As we grow as a multi-brand, multi-market, and multi-cultural organisation, we must adapt to various complexities that this landscape introduces. One of our Customer Experiences, 'Get Help', underwent a transformation.
Kindred has seven different Customer Experiences (Join and Leave, Pay and Withdraw, Play Sports, Play Gaming, Get Comms and Rewards, Be in Control, Get Help) that help our customers through their journeys with our products. Get Help is a mostly centralised customer support function, which makes adaptation a little harder, as we need to find processes, procedures, and systems that enable us to be efficient in the services that we offer.
In 2017, Get Help defined a new strategy and a way forward for the customer support team that would ultimately evolve the way we function. We realised this may not be an easy process. We found that many changes we wanted to implement, would impact various other components. Understanding where the main challenges were for our customers and how we could better serve them was key. At the same time, understanding where our teams could improve and how we could effectively make these improvements with minimal to no disruptions was equally as important.
Understanding and fixing the root cause for customer contacts
Our first step in improving the Get Help experience was eliminating as many of the problems that generated customer contact as we can. Finding the root cause is always the first prize for us. Being able to completely eradicate the issue is far better than an agent trying to solve the contact that was created. We had a lot of success doing this and it was only possible by having the necessary data elements in place to identify the problems. We work with contact reason data that is captured by our agents when dealing with customers. This allows us to understand the common issues and themes our customers face.
Helping customers to self-serve
The next step was looking at the contact reasons that could be better served through self-service features. These are problems that technology could solve better and faster than a human would. Once we understood what these were, we evaluated the tools we had to offer self-service and improved, developed, or enhanced them. We launched over 40 new Help Centre capabilities across our brands and markets that leverage natural language processing. Artificial Intelligence (AI) helped us determine the most relevant answers to the problems our customers were facing. The impact of this change was significant. We saw 30 per cent of the traffic coming into the help centres no longer requiring an agent’s assistance. This was during the 2018 football World Cup, when volumes are generally much higher. This deflection ratio has subsequently dropped to around 25 per cent; still a significant reduction in customers needing to contact us directly.
Investing in leading technology
While defining our strategy, we soon realised that the support platform we had in place at the time was not going to give us what we needed to achieve our long-term goals. This was our next point of change. As a customer service (CS) operation, we have clear KPI’s in terms of performance and efficiency is key. Our goal was to make sure we can effectively utilise our support team to get through the incoming customer contacts and keep our customers satisfied. This means we needed to make sure customers are served as quickly and painlessly as possible and that our agents have the information on hand to solve the problem the first time.
After an in-depth evaluation process, we opted for an Oracle-based platform. This gave us tools that would effectively make our support team more effective in the long run. This included Agent workspace, customer contact channels and workforce management capabilities. It was also important that the solution gave us access to new capabilities we were missing or capabilities that would add to the future needs of the business.
We rolled out the new platform in April 2019 and were able to quickly see the benefits. Our teams required a period of adjustment to the new system but our customers were never inconvenienced with any sort of downtime during the change; to them, it was business as usual. We’ve also been able to demonstrate an uninterrupted service during the period of uncertainty with Covid-19. This was done by offering our customers full support across all of our channels with all of our agents operating safely from home. Other operators have been unable to continue offering live support reverting to email only.
Improving the customer service agent experience
Our latest upgrade has been to our key back-office platform our operational teams use. We implemented a complete revision to ensure we had the best possible technology that offered us increased speed and opportunities to enhance the platform going forward. We have already seen performance enhancements that significantly improve interaction handling time. Those enhancements are also able to offer our teams more functionality that we will continue to evolve.
It is important to remember that as an organisation, we are growing our actives all the time. We are also dealing with an ever-changing landscape, which tends to create challenges that impact customers. Fortunately, we’ve still been able to continuously reduce our customer pain points and the need for them to contact us to solve the problem, which is our ultimate goal.
Further improvements to the Get Help experience
So what's next? Our next step is to focus on two elements: case management, and proactive/contextual support. This will make the support we offer by our self-service and agent-assisted channels more specific to the problems our customers face.
- On the case management side, we will now be managing most of the operational aspects between teams through a single system. This will remove the need to use various systems and processes to execute a single request. This will introduce several benefits in terms of speed of resolution and visibility to the teams involved.
- The proactive/contextual support will allow us to identify potential issues and try pre-emptively act on them where possible. Alternatively, it will give as much information over to the support agent to eliminate the effort for the customer. Further improvements will bring help to the current customer journey. For instance, if the customer has a query related to a specific bet settlement when they click for help in that flow. The context of the help would be on that specific bet rather than launch the Help Centre on the Sports betting section.
We have seen a real impact of the process we have undertaken over the past couple of years. It has given us a lot more capacity to achieve more and continuously evolve, as our customers need change. As we integrate, improve, and adapt our model, we’re able to continuously improve on key KPI’s and ensure the best possible customer satisfaction. The aim for us is to continuously adapt and never be satisfied. We can always improve and offer our valued customers a better experience and hope we can delight them with great service when they need it.