Magazine article CRM Magazine

With Interactions, Salt River Project Helps Customers Keep Their Cool: The Water and Electricity Supplier Uses the Vendor's Virtual Assistants to Keep Its Contact Centers from Overheating

Magazine article CRM Magazine

With Interactions, Salt River Project Helps Customers Keep Their Cool: The Water and Electricity Supplier Uses the Vendor's Virtual Assistants to Keep Its Contact Centers from Overheating

Article excerpt

Salt River Project supplies electricity and water to nearly 1 million customers in central Arizona, where it can get pretty hot. As the temperature rises, so too does the activity level in Salt River Project's contact centers, but thanks to intelligent virtual assistant technology from Interactions, the increased volume is a lot more manageable today.

Prior to implementing the virtual agents in May, 97 percent of the more than 2 million calls the utility receives every year were being routed to costly live agents. When call activity peaked during the hottest summer months, the utility had to double the hours assigned to its flex workers and had to bring on extra personnel, both at great cost.

Now, the voice-based virtual agents, English-speaking Rosie and Spanish-speaking Ramon, handle a much larger percentage of the calls.

Since implementing the virtual agents, containment for all calls increased from 3 percent to 35 percent. For calls related to power outages--one of Salt River Project's most common call types--containment is currently at 46 percent. Rosie and Ramon are capable of proactive power outage confirmation via self-service.

Across all channels, including web self-service, email, and social media, Salt River Project has reduced the number of customer service interactions that require live agent assistance by 24 percent.

Because of the higher containment rates, Salt River Project last summer cut the seasonal agent surge in half.

"Every spring, we were hiring two classes with 36 people each. Now we're only taking on one class of 36," says Yolanda France, director of customer contact operations at Salt River Project. That has enabled the company to cut back on its staffing budget and led to other savings as well. Salt River Project is currently consolidating its geographic footprint, closing one of the three contact centers it operates in the Phoenix area. Its contact center agents currently number about 200.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"We need fewer reps now, and we're managing them by attrition," France says.

Part of the reason for the increased containment is that Rosie and Ramon are much more feature-rich than Salt River Project's previous interactive voice response (IVR) system. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.