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Customer Success Story
Office Supply Firm Profile
The Office Supply Firm is a Fortune 500 global supplier of office supplies and products.
Business Challenge
The Office Supply Firm was disappointed with the very poor performance of its existing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) supplier.
Solution Overview
VPI VirtualSource’s intelligent interactive voice response (IVR) agent with a built-in “brain” that features conversational natural language capabilities.
Significant Benefits
Within two weeks, VirtualSource Agents were completing over 30% of calls, exceeding the Office Supply Firm’s expectations and performing better than the existing order/ order status application.
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Office Supply Firm Finds Success Automating Returns with VPI VirtualSource Agents

The Office Supply Firm, a Fortune 500 global supplier of office supplies and products, was disappointed with the very poor performance of its existing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) supplier. After several years of operation, the IVR was only able to successfully complete about 15% of order taking and order status calls.  Within two weeks of operation, VPI VirtualSource Agents were completing over 30% of calls, exceeding the Office Supply Firm’s expectations and performing better than the existing order/ order status application.

Business Profile

The Office Supply Firm is a Fortune 500 global supplier of office supplies and products.

 

Challenge

The Office Supply Firm was disappointed with the very poor performance of its existing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) supplier. After several years of operation, the IVR was only able to successfully complete about 15% of order taking and order status calls.

The product order taking calls were long and repetitive because the existing IVR used a limited rule-based grammar, which meant it could only recognize a very limited number of possible responses. Each time it asked a caller a question, it would state the possible responses with prompts like “please say Repeat to hear that again, or if you are ready to move on, say Continue.” The low success rate reflected callers’ frustration with the interaction and length of the order call.

Solution

The Office Supply Firm recognized they needed a different technology approach, and were intrigued by VPI VirtualSource’s offer of an intelligent IVR with a built-in “brain”. The system also featured natural language capabilities that made the call much more of a conversation than a conventional IVR.

The Office Supply Firm decided to give VPI VirtualSource Agents a trial, but raised the bar by having VPI automate a difficult application they hadn’t even attempted with their previous IVR—returns. After a brief interactive period of design and development, the VPI VirtualSource system went live in about six weeks.

 

Significant Benefits

The VPI VirtualSource system uses an “open grammar” that can recognize a wide variety of possible responses to any question, shortening the call and reducing caller frustration. Within two weeks of operation, VirtualSource Agents were completing over 30% of calls, exceeding the Office Supply Firm’s expectations and performing better than the existing order/ order status application.

Business Benefits for Office Supply Company

62% of product return calls are successfully handled by VirtualSource Agents
Results far exceeded previous supplier’s 15% success rate on orders and company’s expectation of 25% for returns
VirtualSource Agents customer satisfaction ratings are about equal to those of live agents
VirtualSource Agents returns calls took 3 minutes versus 6 minutes for live agents
Higher success rate and shorter calls resulted in 15% reduction in live agents
• System easily accommodates adjustments improving performance

Dramatically Improving Performance

But that was just the beginning. Unlike other speech IVRs, the performance of VPI VirtualSource Agents improves with time. The combination of intensive tuning and superior voice recognition, as well as a few changes to the business process, doubled the success rate to 62% over the next few months.

VPI VirtualSource developers analyzed calls to identify sticking spots, optimized the call flow, and improved the open grammars based on the thousands of real user utterances. One specific example highlights the difference between VirtualSource's intelligent IVR and conventional speech IVRs. When callers are asked the reason for the return, VirtualSource Agents smoothly recognize the correct answer among hundreds of possible reasons. A conventional IVR, on the other hand, would require a seven-option menu style prompt that would seriously disrupt the conversation flow.

The Conversational Difference

The conversation quality with VPI VirtualSource Agents is reflected in their high customer service scores when compared with live agents. VirtualSource Agents received customer satisfaction ratings of 92% vs. 93% for live agents, based on 8000 surveys from customers of medium to large sized companies.

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