Chatbot UX Optimisation
Volkswagen NZ (VNZ) connected with PaperKite in 2019 to explore how they could improve the digital experience for new leads coming into the Volkswagen NZ website, and for managing their day to day customer service enquiries. An initial workshop session identified that Volkswagen NZ needed to provide their customers with an experience that served Volkswagen customers where they were, and when they wanted, with a high quality service delivery. A natural by-product would be enabling a more seamless flow of sales leads to dealerships.
Before PaperKite entered the picture, the Volkswagen website and Facebook page served as gateways for enquiries and sales leads for the external call centre and local dealerships. Typical enquiries include test drive requests, servicing and parts enquiries, product questions about car models and pricing.
The Volkswagen NZ team was clear right from thier first conversations, that the core goal was to improve the customer service experience, not reduce human handover. Quality service is all about answering questions well, promptly, and with a memorable interaction for customers. A secondary goal was to generate sales leads and analyse customer queries with a view to improving customer service across the business, and providing intelligence about Volkswagen NZ’s current service offerings. It was also important to the Volkswagen NZ team that customers were provided a natural interaction with the Volkswagen brand, and that their interaction felt like a two way chat.
The answer was a digital solution that anticipates and meets customer needs. A solution that enables customers to request the information they’re looking for instantly, at any time of the day, without talking to a human, in a completely natural and accessible way – a conversation. If they need to talk to a human, this too can happen in a seamless way. The answer was to deliver a Conversational UX solution, by way of an Intercom chatbot. Volts the Chatbot was developed to understand customers in their own language, with rigorous adoption of the mantra “my question, not your answer” and handover to a real human being via live chat when necessary.
An initial trial was undertaken with JRNY and Volkswagen NZ back in 2018, so Volkswagen NZ were familiar with the value of a digital assistant or Conversational UX could bring to their business. PaperKite determined Intercom as the best fit chatbot solution as it delivers a customer service and multi-channel lead nurture platform rolled into one. As an Intercom partner and reseller, PaperKite were able to negotiate rates, integrate the Intercom platform and other Volkswagen NZ customer service platforms, and manage Intercom support issues on behalf of Volkswagen NZ.
From a customer perspective, being able to ask Volts questions in plain English, rather than using website search functionality or being on hold to a call centre was a huge improvement on the existing customer service experience.
Volts has also simplified the sales funnel for potential customers. Using Volts to request test drives has removed barriers by immediately providing people with a simple form to complete, that goes to their local dealer to continue the sales conversation.
Since December 2020, the Volkswagen NZ team has undergone a rigorous process of analysing and grouping customer driven user behaviour. These learnings will continue to be applied to the Intercom chatbot and simplify the experience for future customers. The data sitting behind the chatbot is regularly being reviewed too. Initial questions and conversations that were written, can now be finetuned to better suit the type of customer queries we’ve seen coming through the chatbot. The regrouping of questions into logical sequences and rewording of questions and responses to better fit the voice of the customer will be an ongoing focus for the Volkswagen NZ and PaperKite teams.
Key to continuous improvement of course, is great data. Implementation success is largely measured by reducing the human intervention for simple enquiries that have the ability to be automated.
Redirecting enquiries for vehicle specifications, pricing and parts enquiries have been overcome by automating responses with technical vehicle material. Complex or multi-layered enquiries still need a human interaction, but Intercom has enabled VWNZ customers to be directed to the right person to talk to in one step, without being passed from one dealership or service centre to another.
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In addition to the focus on continuous improvement of the customer experience and improving the automation ability of the chatbot, the Volkswagen NZ team is looking at rolling out a Volts equivalent to their other vehicle brands. The proven management of customer enquiries has improved the customer service and sales experience for customers, and reduced the need for the Volkswagen NZ team and external call centre to get involved with trivial enquiries.
Meanwhile, PaperKite continues to provide Volkswagen NZ with an ongoing managed service for the chatbot, including production support, continuous improvement and monthly reporting.