NICE Robotic Automation Review

The agent-guidance system we've built has resulted in huge savings and a higher NPS


What is our primary use case?

We use it for agent guidance. This is a system that pops up throughout the call and helps them guide the conversation with the customer and makes sure they say what they need to say, in terms of regulatory stuff. That's especially true when they're selling product. It is used all the time by all the agents who are on the phone.

We use the RTI software for other parts of the business as well. That's in development at the moment. We're working on the functionality to do things like auto notes or to mute the call when they're taking card details.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of results, we tracked it when we first launched it. We had a pilot team using it and we tracked customer satisfaction through NPS. There was an increase in customer satisfaction. We increased our NPS overall by four percent within the first four weeks, and it's been going up.

And we did tracking around employee engagement, in terms of their sense of how they felt they were being supported by the system, and they felt better. It did have a positive impact.

Overall, with the RTI client, it improved our average call-handling time on every type of call that came through. With the new agent-guidance running, over the course of four weeks, we dropped it by 60 seconds overall. That was massive. It resulted in over £1,000,000 in savings within that first month. And we're doing more little things to tweak the journeys, making it slicker, giving them more abilities and building in other journeys to help them. It has increased employee productivity massively.

In terms of employee accuracy, we have a complaint-monitoring team that quality-marks random calls. They look at compliance quality as well as whether it was a good outcome for the customer. Was it a good conversation? They give the call a score and that is one of the agents' metrics. The quality has gotten better. Employees aren't getting mixed up on what they have to say. As a company, in the contact center, we've gone from a 49 percent "good" rate to 59 percent.

What is most valuable?

The standout feature is that we've been able to change it completely, visually. It has got icons, you can go into links, it's very colorful. We changed the whole look and feel of it in January. We developed all that last year with the developer.

Guidance at other places can be a script, a Word document, or some sort of application which is there for the agent to go through while doing sales. What we've done with the RTI client is that we've brought it into a bit more of a 21st-century feel. Our agents have the ability to move around when they want, click into stuff. They use it according to how their conversations go with the customer. 

There are extra features we built into it. For example, at one stage, they can click a button and it checks another system for another product that we sell, a monthly product, because we don't want to sell that at the same time giving the client duplicate coverage. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We've had NICE softwares for a while but we deployed automation in January, about eight months ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have no issues really that I'm aware of, from the front-line. Since we went onto this new system, it doesn't crash or anything like that. It's because we coupled it up with other systems. In terms of stability, it's really good.

We have no issues with the call-monitoring system either. When the system records our calls, we have no problems with that either.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We're looking at scaling now because a lot of the rest of the business is really keen to look at what we've done with agent guidance and how they can incorporate NICE in other parts of the business. 

We started off small, where we had 250 to 300 people using it. But now they want me to look at whether we give it to another area of the business. So we are looking to scale it up across other areas that might use different systems.

It all depends on priorities for my boss' boss. At the moment we're looking at the commercial aspect of our business. They sell different products compared to our contact center. We've got a specialist unit that does caravans and motor homes. They're the two areas that are going to be next: our business teams and then our motor-home team.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support is very good. They've been really supportive, very helpful. Whenever I had a problem, when I was looking at the design of the new system, I could ring up a couple of them and they'd have their people regularly come to see me. I needed to understand what was happening with the system, but not the technical side.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We did not have agent-guiding RPA before NICE.

Before the RPA client, our system was functional. However, it had a tendency to be slow or caught up. It could jump about a bit, so it wasn't as reliable. And the way we had designed the old system, the information, text, and words which we put in it, they were written in first-person, as if being spoken by a front-line agent, but the agents, at times, didn't relay the information very well to customers. It wasn't customer-focused.

With RPA, we designed the system but also modified the content. We changed the wording around to be more customer-focused. We worked with the front-line agents to better understand what they wanted to see, how they would say it naturally, so that the information would be better understood across the board.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup took place before I started with this company. I have been involved in upgrading and that did not take very long. It was more a case of our internal mechanisms, getting ourselves organized and ready for the upgrade.

Our implementation strategy for the upgrade, first of all, meant we had to upgrade in 200 to 300 PCs on our floor plan. We connected to all the PCs and we did half of them over a couple of days. Any issues, where it couldn't remotely connect to upgrade, I needed the floor plan so I could go to that PC and have a look at it. Often it was either that the PC was switched off or had a bug or some other application needed to be reset.

Once we got it organized it was very quick. What took time were our internal processes to organize resources with our IT department and then to do it first thing in the morning, before the first shift would start. The upgrade process was done by three people. 

The solution is maintained by our IT service desk. If anyone has a problem with any system issue, they call them. The IT service desk looks into it. It could be that they just need to have it reinstalled, or that there's a problem with another part of the system. It's maintained constantly through our standard process.

What was our ROI?

In terms of return on investment for us, there has been a massive amount within our quality measurements: the quality of our customer's experience, that handling time. We're able to answer more calls, so more of our customers are getting through to us. That is a return on investment.

What other advice do I have?

For me, personally, the biggest lesson I've learned from using NICE is about how having certain IT software can really enhance performance, and I had never really thought of it that way. We can use the system to get through to making a sale, but I never really thought that it could actually enhance the agents' thought process, their journey, and how they speak to customers. That's been a big lesson for me.

In terms of advice, be open-minded. We just told them what we would like it to do, and went out there with a bit of a blue-sky thought process: If we could have anything, what would it do? And it turned out that it could do that, and we were quite amazed. I would tell people to think outside the box, think of something else that you would want it to be like in a few years' time and you may actually get close to that, or even achieve it, without realizing, at first, that you could. Sometimes we're so constrained by what we're used to doing, by doing things a certain way, using the same systems, we don't realize that a system has more capabilities than we realized.

The employees have loved it. We haven't gotten the statistics on employee satisfaction yet, they're due soon. But we've received a lot of feedback and we engaged them very early on. We held a naming competition for the guidance system. They all put in suggestions. The top-five were picked and then they voted on them. They chose the name. And every time we did a journey, we had agents from the floor in a room and they went through the journey and looked at. They built it with me in that sense. They were all engaged at the time. And we have a pilot team on the floor using it. When we went live and launched across the business, they were all involved in floor-walking, helping other agents with the system. There has been a lot of involvement of the front line, which helps employee engagement because they feel part of it. It's their system that way.

They named their guidance "Winston." No other companies use it the way we've used it, as far as I'm aware; I was looking at other companies which use NICE.

I'm more an end-user. I've worked with the development guys to make it user-friendly, for the people in our company who are on the phones.

I'd like to know the common places that the agents are going within the system. I'd like to see if they are spending a lot of time in a certain section because we could then look at whether that section is clear. What is it from that section that they need more support in? That's what we're doing now in the second half of the year: What they use it for. But the automation stuff in the background is also a big, key thing that is being done.

We have attended and unattended bots. We have quite a lot of on unattended robots. We've got a lot of processes where a transaction is done and it will send off the results. That is automatically done in another system. We send customers a yearly invite and that is done by unattended. That goes off and does everything in the background and produces it on the system.

We are looking at things within our other departments at the moment, where they're doing a lot of manual processes. We're working with NICE at the moment, their Automation Finder, which looks at what our people actually do, all these manual processes and the same things being tracked by them. We'll look at putting unattended robotics in the background so then they don't have to do those actions. If it's always the same action at the end of a certain task, we can get the system to do it instead, and free up our people. Obviously, we do have to do a full analysis afterward. From a human perspective, I will look into what they're doing. We're going to have a look at what the Automation Finder brings up and then look at it in context. We will look at it from both sides to make sure. There are times when there needs to be a bit of human interaction or a checkpoint and there are other times when that's not needed. It all depends on what it finds for us. We've not gotten the data back yet.

I would rate NICE at nine out of ten, from my experience. A ten would mean I am able to view what people do on the system as well, rather than just listen. I know NICE has the capabilities, it's just that we haven't purchased that. We are looking into it.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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