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Robots Fuel the Last Mile

April 02, 2019
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Autonomous robots can prove highly useful in low-density populations where labour costs are high. In the future, drones will also be an effective solution when infrastructure and roads are poor.

Fully autonomous parcel delivery robots take traffic congestion, lack of parking, and delivery failure out of the last mile equation.

The last mile in the logistics chain is often inefficient and complicated due to traffic, a lack of parking, and high delivery failure rates. Enter Malaysian start-up HelloWorld Robotics, with its mission to use robots for making last-mile delivery smarter, cheaper, and faster.

HelloWorld was founded by 27-year old electrical engineer Kennedy Wai. Despite having just celebrated the company’s first birthday, Wai is already in preliminary talks with Malaysian incubator Futurise to test the first prototypes in Cyberjaya in Selangor this year. HelloWorld’s robots are fully-autonomous, delivering packages to safety boxes that are designed and provided for by the company.

The boom in e-commerce means big business for global parcel delivery. The worldwide market for parcel delivery is estimated at US$79 billion, including pick-up, line-haul, and sorting. The last mile accounts for a substantial portion, up to 50% of the value, which makes it a key area of investment and innovation. It’s also the part of the supply chain most fraught with problems. Distribution in urban areas is hampered by congestion, inefficient collection processes, lack of parking, unconsolidated deliveries, and delivery failure when the recipient is not home. Additional complications in southeast Asia include poor road access or lack of formal or identifiable home addresses.

“For now, a lot of other companies are using robots for delivery but they haven’t provided a fully complete delivery service for their customers,” says Wai. “And that’s one of our advantages.” Autonomous robots, he says, can prove highly useful in low density populations where labour costs are high. In the future, drones will also be an effective solution in circumstances where infrastructure and roads are poor. They still face barriers in urban environments due to their weight restrictions and battery life, as well as regulation.

Wai says HelloWorld’s robots, which can deliver within a three to four-kilometre radius at a speed of about 3km per hour, are ideal for gated communities such as school campuses or industrial parks. By delivering to the purpose-made safety boxes, the customer can conveniently collect items in their own time. Designed to be environmentally friendly, HelloWorld’s robots are also combatting air pollution and traffic congestion, which are among the negative effects of e-commerce.

There is a bright future for the use of automation in logistics, say the authors of the McKinsey report Fast forwarding last-mile delivery–implications for the ecosystem, especially for its potential to increase efficiency: “Autonomous delivery vehicles are and will be the dominant technology in this regard, and they have the power to reshuffle the entire industry.”

DIGITAL SUCCESS STORY: How Lembaga Tabung Haji Contact Centre is Circumventing the Pandemic.

October 11, 2021
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Tabung Haji has adopted innovative contact centre processes and new technology platforms, and has built a robust, resilient and agile platform to circumvent crises during pandemic. To uncover some of the key drivers behind this success, we need to look at ways to elevate contact centre performance today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly urgent for organizations to supercharge their agility, speed and resilience in order to meet the challenges of achieving their objectives.

For Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH), the Malaysian government institution responsible for the management of hajj and investments activity, this translated into facing an array of pandemic-related disruptions while striving to operate at near-full capacity and in particular, pursuing sound strategies to deepen engagement with customers and continue growth.

In particular, Tabung Haji Contact Centre (THCC) confronted the daunting prospect of serving some 9 million depositors, operating through 123 branches with 10,000 touchpoints nationwide. With increasing numbers of new depositors, customers would call TH for several different reasons ranging from general inquiries, savings accounts inquiries to matters relating to the pilgrimage of depositors to the Holy Land.

Using a platform of smart partnerships and digital excellence, TH is successfully circumventing current challenges, and at scale.

These steps have safeguarded and ensured TH’s customer operation has not been disrupted in any way and that customer satisfaction remains optimal. THCC has been an important engine in managing customer relations and associated operations. To uncover some of the key drivers behind this success, we need to look at ways to elevate contact centre performance today.

THCC has become the mainstay of TH services that meet the needs, expectations and feedbacks of depositors. The outstanding determination and performance throughout the operation of THCC is in line with the vision and mission of TH” – Datin Normimy Mohamed Noor, General Manager Marketing, Communications & Customer Service Division Lembaga Tabung Haji

Amplifying customer experience

To dive a little deeper into this success story, we need to look back to pre-pandemic times and acknowledge that the critical role that contact centres play in handling customer inquiries, particularly as service, quality and turnaround speeds pose the potential to make or break customer relationships. This is again recently evidenced by a Khoros survey, which notes that 30% of customers said they would stop giving their business to a brand that failed to meet their timeframe expectations.

Handling high volumes of inquiries is a large undertaking in normal circumstances, however, COVID-19 has significantly exacerbated support volume and created labour shortages at many contact centres, businesses are feeling the squeeze.

Taking a few steps back, when TH saw that business had been growing exponentially through the years, resulting in rising call volumes, it made a decision to turn to a specialist whose core competencies included customer management.

The specialist that TH has been collaborating for more than 10 years is TM ONE (formerly known as VADS) to help outsource the Tabung Haji Contact Centre (THCC). TM ONE prioritises its responsibility in upholding service sustainability and that this is assured without any interruption or impact to overall customer experience – even amid crises such as COVID-19.

Buoyed by this partnership, TH has the ability to track and analyse all end-to-end customers’ inquiries, complaints and feedback. These inputs, fortunately, allow TH to continuously improve customer engagement strategies, products and services, thus helping TH to be sustainable, competitive and remain relevant to the market.

Breaking free with digital

Digital solutions when smartly adopted enable organisations to break through hurdles to higher performance. In this instance, TM ONE has introduced Cloud CX Solution to TH to better manage THCC service sustainability.

Cloud CX Solution helps TH to provide insights into the operations, develop strategies in key areas and achieve operational excellence. TM ONE reports that its large volume of interactions generates a massive amount of valuable data, which holds the potential for ongoing business strategies and improvements through predictive analytics.

With this technological tool, THCC enables TH to achieve their business outcomes by staying connected to customers and ensuring satisfaction. This was evident when THCC was successfully re-certified for ISO 18295-1: 2017 (CCC) SIRIM Recertification Audit 2021 and this became an outstanding new benchmark for THCC, drawing respect from other call centres.

Furthermore, TM ONE created a more immersive digital experience for TH’s customers by embracing digital channels and engendering exceptional digital services quality. This results in a harmonious balance of efficient resolution and important empathetic ‘human-touch’ interaction.

THCC also supports TH’s online and digital services initiatives through its THiJARI online platform services, which provides support to depositors, and encourages greater use of online services – a safety factor that is especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic phase.

Another digital advance is the introduction by TM ONE of the AYDAD System, which can be accessed by all branch offices throughout Malaysia from 1 September 2021. The AYDAD System is a web-based application to help THCC and branches obtain information and related services, products and processes. This information will be used by members at the branch office to answer any queries received and the information provided is fast, accurate and up to date. On top of that, the enablement of certain critical functions outside TH’s normal business operations requires a method to effect proper knowledge transfer. TM ONE’s extensive Knowledge Management and Training strategy ensure all contact centre agents are correctly oriented and given a deeper understanding of THCC’s services and customer needs. The consistent use of these strong knowledge management tools across all channels plays a highly significant role in delivering excellent customer experiences.

Accelerating growth

Today, THCC’s technology and capabilities allow an average of 10,000 voice interactions to be handled every month with 94.3% of customers call picked up within 10 seconds. Callers have a quick, hassle–free accessibility to TH channels, reduces waiting time, which further enhances TH brand image.

THCC’s strategic approach to digital transformation, with the adroit use of technologies and expertise arising from the partnership with TM ONE, now enables an average of 1,700 digital channel interactions to be handled every month with a 100% response rate. With that, TH has resolved 96% of their customers enquiries within the first interaction (First Call Resolution-FCR), resulting in a better experience outcome for customers.

Despite the restrictions due to the pandemic, serving customers remains a priority. The current surge of customers through online channels is aptly handled by THCC, ensuring TH’s business continuity, and delivered with the resilience demanded by this highly challenging period. Most importantly, as confirmed by Customer Satisfaction Index results, TH customers acknowledge that TH service quality remains rated at 100%, which is again essential for driving business growth.

Through the years, by leveraging its technology partnership, TH has adopted innovative contact centre processes and new technology platforms, and has built a robust, resilient and agile platform to circumvent crises. TH has evolved to a fully-fledged customer-first culture, and continues to grow by extend wider support to its external, internal and business partners.

Since the inception of the partnership, TM ONE has proven to be a reliable partner to TH by heightening TH customers’ experience, and meeting over 97% of the contractual KPIs. This collaboration resulted in THCC’s recognition as one of the prime contact centres in the world, drawing multiple accolades and awards from the industry.

For inquiries or more information about TM ONE, please visit www.tmone.com.my

Smoothing the Transition to Smart Manufacturing

October 03, 2021
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Paper-based maintenance, planning and quality acceptance plans are now bygone. The future belongs to sensors, integrated systems algorithms and cloud-based software solutions to define and optimise the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). In an idyllic factory situation, equipment would function 100 percent of the time at 100 percent capacity, with quality production of 100 percent. In the real world, however, this situation is rare. Therefore, calculating the overall OEE is a crucial process to improve processes, consistency, quality, and productivity.

TRENDS & DIGITAL STRATEGY : Top 5 Ways to Measure Digital CX Success – Azida Mohamed Burhan

October 01, 2021
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Azida Mohamed Burhan
Head of Marketing & Customer Experience, TM ONE

Today, we live in an era driven by customer experience (CX). From booking a flight to having a meal at a restaurant,  we have our personal stories that help us form opinions on a brand or business. CX is now the priority for companies looking to set themselves apart from the competition, according to a 2020 survey by SuperOffice.[i] For instance, American Express found that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, while both PwC and McKinsey researches show that 25% to32% of customers will defect after just one bad experience.[ii]&[iii]

However, measuring the success of digital CX in an age where generic technology-based processes serve customers more isn’t as easy as it seems. Executives in the world’s biggest companies are investing in digital transformation, and with it comes a farrago of metrics to track the success of an “ideal” digital customer experience.  

At TM ONE, we believe that “what you don’t measure, you can’t improve”. In our pursuit of building a company centred around delivering the best-in-class digital customer experience, we have compiled five (5) key indicators used by the top CX practitioners in the world to measure the success of digital CX: 

1. Digital customer acquisition rate

For digital businesses, measuring their capability of acquiring customers is a great starting point to assess digital CX, which in turn drives long-term growth. Try pondering the question, “how many new purchasing customers have been acquired exclusively online, across all digital channels?”. A case in point is that consumers who enjoy the online experience tend to get converted into customers. Thus, the higher the number of digitally acquired customers, the more likely it indicates a pleasant digital experience.  

Besides, measuring digital customer acquisition as a percentage of total customer acquisition will highlight a major difference in the cost of acquisition. The advent of online referral codes and digital personalisation have made it 20 – 50% cheaper for companies to gain new customers (depending on the industry). [iv] & [v] In the long run, studies have also shown that cost of serving digital customers is 20 – 40% lower than those acquired through traditional methods. [vi] This allows companies to shift investments from customer acquisition and focus on boosting digital CX.  

2. Digital customer engagement rate

Another great way to gauge digital CX success is to measure online engagement. At different stages of the customer journey, create platform-specific measures to track the progress on driving engagement and the conversion of potential customers through digital initiatives. These measures don’t have to be complicated. Find ways to answer these questions:  

  • How much time do customers spend on your page 
  • How many times in a month do customers visit 
  • What is the overall sentiment of customer reviews 
  • How many views that the latest video generate 

Customers who spend hours looking at products and revisiting the digital catalogue multiple times a day are highly likely to enjoy the digital experience. Pay attention to these metrics to gain a clearer view of how customers feel about their interaction with your brand and, more importantly, their intentions to purchase. 

Digital engagement is also a great tool to highlight the segment of your customers that require extra attention. Some companies even take that extra mile to organise digital events and initiate brand ambassadorships. This creates engagement within the community, which improves digital CX and drives digital awareness overall.  

3. Digital transaction score

Companies need to take note of the rapid growth in digital transactions and the share of online payments induced by the pandemic restrictions. As businesses go digital, so do their operations and, most likely, how their customers perform transactions. In today’s digital era, customers expect these transactions to be fast and seamless. Take into consideration the share of all transactions performed across all digital channels. Measure the progress made in driving online transactions and simplify the methods for a digital interchange of value. A higher percentage of transactions would indicate that customers are satisfied with the entire user journey, as they see an opportunity for instant fulfilment.  

Having measures for digital transactions would also enable a deeper understanding of your online customer’s behaviour. These transactions are valuable sources of information, especially if your company uses analytical tools to dissect and acquire additional insights from your customers. Informed companies can pair that know-how with further investments in specific areas of digital CX.   

4. Effort score

In an era where customers perform activities through a few clicks or taps on their devices, companies need to simplify how customers do business with them. A good starting point of measuring digital CX is to identify the different digital customer journeys. Start by creating layers of indicators to measure the efforts taken by a customer to perform a certain service. For example, a bank would measure digital CX by identifying the time taken for a new customer to register for a bank account or how long it takes to resolve different types of customer issues. 

Companies need to minimise friction points in customer journeys and look for ways to eliminate the need for any ‘extra effort’ from the consumer’s point of view. The best way to create a successful digital CX is to exceed expectations – whenever and wherever possible. Quickly identify the digital bottlenecks impeding a smooth CX and create a low-effort experience to make life easy for your customers. As Gartner puts it, “effort is the strongest driver for customer loyalty”.[Vii]

5. Automation rate

With millions of transactions taking place per day, it can be hard for companies to keep up and provide the same digital experience across multiple channels. As investments into automation lead to a more consistent digital CX, companies need metrics in place to measure the extent of how automated customer-facing processes are. Chatbots, automated KYC and e-forms are great examples of tools that help drive customers towards a more reliable self-service-based experience. The key here is to identify the extent to which all available customer journeys integrate with automated processes; that plays a crucial role in optimising, standardising, and streamlining digital services.  

Nine out of ten world-leading brands use Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based automation solutions to enhance digital customer experience and satisfaction. [viii] Other than the obvious improvements in reliability and simplicity, automation helps reduce labour-intensive processes. This frees up the capacity to deliver more humanised digital CX while setting the foundation for better service personalisation. 

Building digital CX success must start with using the right measures 

Creating customer-centric businesses take time and effort. Improving this key facet of the business is a marathon, not a race. It is about taking ownership of these measures across a multi-year journey and using them to make informed decisions. Craft an empathetic organisation that cares about how to deliver as much as what to deliver. If you want to obtain CX success in the digital era, you need to be able to measure digital CX success. A fantastic way to start is by using the five key indicators we just spoke about.  

DEMYSTIFY TECHNOLOGY : 3 Technologies Powering CX Transformation – Mohamed Rejab Sulaiman

September 30, 2021
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Mohamed Rejab Sulaiman
Head of Products & Innovation, TM ONE

Welcome to the experience economy – where value is created based on who curates the best experience. The winner? Enterprises that put consumers at the heart of every interaction. There are a lot of fundamental technologies that enable the delivery of a great customer experience (CX). Since contact centre applications are one of the most impressionable aspects for most consumers, it makes sense to focus your technological investments there. So, stop thinking about your contact centre as a cost centre. Instead, visualise it as a profit centre. We see three (3) fundamental technologies that will greatly improve your contact centre and – levelling up your CX.

1. Cloud

Traditionally, most contact centres and other channels delivering CX are on-premise. This is because enterprises were concerned about high reliability, data security, and compliance. But over the last 18 months, businesses are rapidly migrating their customer support services to the Cloud – and for good reason.

Cloud services enable business continuity – one of the highest priorities in 2020. Agents get to work from anywhere and maintain service levels with the Cloud. Nelson Hall reported that from 2021 onwards, 25-30% of the total market would apply a work-from-home model. Also, the Cloud solutions of today have enterprise-grade security and are compliant with the required standards and regulations. A Cloud-based solution will most likely ensure your customers get stable, seamless and efficient CX – regardless of the COVID-19 effects.

A key differentiator for today’s enterprises is eliminating CX siloes by integrating different customer touchpoints. With the Cloud, you get to orchestrate a single customer journey from your brick-and-mortar store, your online site, social media channels, and mobile apps to your customer support centre. This means your customers will be able to have an experience that is cohesive – regardless of whether they choose to walk into your store, visit your app, or talk to your customer service representatives. You will get to know their histories, what they are interested in, and serve them accordingly. Aberdeen Group showed that companies with a robust omnichannel customer engagement retain 89% of their customers on average, compared to 33% of companies with weaker omnichannel customer engagement.

The Cloud, being a scalable, flexible solution, allows you to access the latest technologies rapidly in response to your changing customer needs. With “click-and-enable” plug-ins, you no longer need to go through building, testing, and integration cycles. This frees your IT team to focus on other pressing goals while exceeding your customers’ expectations.

2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Leverage RPA and significantly transform your CX. RPA helps you to automate repetitive tasks so your team can focus on what matters – building lasting relationships with your customers. Furthermore, it speeds up efficiency, reduces errors, and ensures consistency. RPA works for both client-facing tasks and internal tasks. However, a bigger opportunity for automation shines in integrating the back-end with the front-end to help make quick decisions, when and where it matters.

Take automation in the insurance sector, for example. When a client calls to file a claim, the agent must search for the client’s policy. On occasions when the client has a few different policies, the agent has to differentiate and identify the right one – all the while conversing with the client. Not only is this inefficient, but there are also possibilities for errors. However, by automating this process, the system can immediately identify the correct customer policy — either based on customer’s phone numbers or other identifying factors. Not only does this reduce errors, but your agent will also be free to give your clients the attention and focus that they deserve.

Some other areas that can benefit from automation are the fulfilment and refund process, sorting customer enquiries and answering frequently asked questions through web chat or messaging. Do it well, and not only your CX will improve, but your bottom line will too. In 2020, McKinsey reported that successful operation centres at automating manual and repetitive tasks witnessed cost reduction by 30% to 60% while increasing delivery quality.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In the context of CX, AI helps us to simplify complex information, find patterns, learn from different contexts, and predict customer intent. More importantly, this capability helps you to really understand your customers and provide them with personalised services – the secret to customer loyalty. Forrester showed that enterprises that utilise AI alongside human employees witnessed improved customer satisfaction (CSAT) by 61%, operational efficiency by 68%, and agent productivity by 66%.

The customer journey starts when your customers search for your business. Therefore, you should aim to follow their activities leading up to that first contact. With AI, you get to learn what your customers search for, click on, and the time spent on a certain page. This information helps you predict the best time to engage with your customers. For example, AI notices when a customer is stuck on a specific action page for longer than usual, and it will trigger a human agent to intervene and provide support – leading to enhanced customer satisfaction.

AI can support your agents during customer interactions by providing relevant resources. It processes an ongoing call in real-time and provides contextualised, timely recommendations after taking the customer’s history into account. Agents can choose to either read the suggested content to the customers or share it through a preferred channel. This capability helps your agents to avoid digging for information across multiple channels and focus solely on the conversations instead.

Another prime opportunity for your AI to shine is with your interactive voice response (IVR) system. IVR carries a misunderstood reputation for being clunky and awkward to use. However, consider a conversational AI voice bot with natural language processing (NLP) capabilities integrated into your IVR. Customers can now avoid going through a slow and confusing menu and receive service through natural conversations instead. It is seamless and efficient, contributing to an overall elevated experience.

Designing a great CX will give your company a differentiating edge. With the help of the Cloud, RPA, and AI, you get to improve how customers experience your business and how employees interact with your customers. It is now critical for your company to work towards adopting these technologies, so your contact centre sees long-term success.

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