Vodafone wanted to transform its customer experience by streamlining its engagement with customers and personalising the sales journey. To do that it launched a chatbot, an innovation that helped it secure the award for customer experience at the Marketing Week Masters Awards.
Working with MMT Digital, the mobile giant developed TOBi Sales, the telecoms industry’s first chatbot able to complete a customer transaction from start to end in the UK. The launch helped it improve customer completion rates and satisfaction.
The artificial intelligence assistant has also boosted conversion rates online able by making the sales two to three times faster than the traditional website. That means it now takes consumers just eight minutes to complete an order from start to finish.
The innovation came about after Vodafone realised a significant number of potential SIM-only customers were dropping out during the check-out process.
TOBi was built to help address the problem, using technology including IBM Watson to help take customers through the process of selecting a SIM-only plan, answering queries and suggesting suitable products and offers along the way. It was developed with several different conversations to pre-empt possible questions and pain points, each of which was tested across a variety of users and refined at each step of the process.
The next stage was to enable TOBi to complete the sales process. It has been developed to go beyond the standard question and answer model many chatbots use, instead featuring intuitive prompts at different stages of the journey to intercept any potential issues based on common FAQs.
It also features additional messages to increase engagement. If a customer tells TOBi they are going on holiday to Rome, for example, it will tell them if can use their plan there; if they insult TOBi it will apologise; and if they ask for a joke it will respond with something funny.
All this has helped Vodafone reduce the time it takes to check out by more than 47% and in some cases as much as 60%, given that on average it takes 15 to 20 minutes to check out via the website. It has also more than doubled the conversion rate from basket to checkout in comparison to the website in the initial month of the checkout going live.
Not only has TOBi had a business impact, it has helped improve brand scores. The net promoter score (NPS) for those who have used it is close to 80, far higher than the score for consumers that only use the website, which has a score in the 60s.
This is just the start though. TOBi is being continually monitored and improved to evolve the customer experience, with plans in the pipeline to enable it to carry out upgrades and tariff migration.