Bristol Wessex Billing Services (BWBSL), the combined billing service jointly owned by Bristol Water and Wessex Water, is enjoying reduced call costs with a new hosted speech recognition system.
Bristol Water and Wessex Water rationalised their billing process into one joint billing service to serve 1,100,000 customers.
As call volumes increased year on year though, BWBSL recognised the need to take some of that volume away from live operators in its call centre, and streamline repeatable straightforward tasks to a speech recognition system.
There was also a growing need to allow customers to pay when it suited them, and so an “always on” payment system was appealing but unfeasible using live agents for cost reasons.
Mike McGowan, head of customer service at BWBSL, said, “We had little exposure to speech recognition technology until we came across Fluency and its Virtual Speech Agent suite as a hosted offering, which comprehensively guides our customers through the payment process.”
He said, “This has made a marked difference to the service that we offer to our customers, and the system took 5,500 calls alone last month away from our call centre agents.”
This represents a significant saving to BWBSL. McGowan said each payment transaction lasts between four to five minutes, which is valuable call centre agent time.
The cost per call using Fluency is around 38p, which is 75% less than if taken by a live agent, said McGowan.
Approximately one-third of calls taken by the automated speech service are outside of call centre hours, meaning revenues are boosted too.
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