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There are many ways to lose a customer, but not processing their payments in a timely and successful manner is almost certain to make this happen. What may make this process more complicated is dealing with payments across multiple territories and in multiple languages.
Such challenges are part of day-to-day life for business process outsourcing (BPO) company Bayview Technologies. Part of a group of companies established in 2002, the firm describes itself as an IT-enabled BPO company that provides a variety of customer support, back-office and information technology support services to global companies. It maintains offices in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Gibraltar, and has a regional presence throughout Asia and Europe.
The company processes payment requests on behalf of different brands across multiple languages. It has a gaming industry background, and this, says Bayview contact centre strategic lead Nigel Mansfield, has stood it in good stead in making sure money gets to people’s accounts as quickly as possible.
“There’s a big focus on what needs to be done,” he says. “People want to get money into their accounts to place a bet on the event that’s upcoming. They don’t want to wait for minutes or hours – they just want to get [the bet on] on as soon as possible.”
What this means in practice is that Bayview’s job – on behalf of its clients and their customers – is to minimise the number of interactions for users by having the right processes in place to avoid unnecessary contacts and enable smooth transactions. And when there is an issue, Bayview needs to enable agents to resolve it as quickly as possible so customers can do what they need to do without delay.
Mansfield has been at the company for eight years. When he started, things were rather different in terms of processes and IT requirements to meet growing demands from customers. Mansfield describes Bayview in the early days as a company that grew very fast and when dealing with customer-facing issues had “thrown bodies at the problem” because that was the easiest thing to do. Or so it seemed.
“When more and more customers means more and more contacts, more bodies, eventually you run out of space, literally. I was brought in to bring in new technologies,” says Mansfield.
There were also technical challenges to overcome, with Bayview having spot solutions for each item – a separate engine for email, a separate SIP server for voice, a separate web-based platform.
“At no point did you know what contacts were coming in, even how big a queue was, any of those problems, the most basic of problems,” Mansfield recalls. “I said, ‘Unless we understand what is going on in the contact centre, we can’t possibly approach the problem. I want to be able to know what’s happening in real time’.
“That’s been the goal from the start – to get to a real-time understanding of what’s happening in the contact centre. We’re primarily a chat-focused contact centre, with 75% of the contacts based on chat, which is unusual. We needed an enterprise-grade chat engine.”
The knock-on effect of the point solutions was that the cost of operation was going up, so Bayview tasked Mansfield with bringing the cost down, without increasing headcount.
At Bayview, success is not measured through what are traditionally regarded as key performance indicators (KPIs). It does monitor the abandonment rate on calls, because it wants to make sure customers come through the process, but for Mansfield, questions regarding this issue draw a smile.
“The question we always get asked is, ‘What’s your KPI?’ Then they go on to say, ‘What’s your handling time?’. But I have a counter-argument to that, which is that if I’m doing my job correctly, I should get to the point where the handling time is starting to increase, not decrease.”
Rather than focusing on reducing the call-handling time, Mansfield’s aim was to “get all the pointless tasks out of the way” so customers are able to self-serve for the most part, leaving the contact centre to handle more complex tasks that take time to resolve.
“I was trying to drive out pointless tasks to get to a point where we were only dealing with complex stuff, which meant handling time was much higher, and therefore it wasn’t a target we looked at,” he says.
Given these fundamentals, Bayview sought a contact centre solution to drive the business to new levels. After an evaluation period it settled on Avaya OneCloud CCaaS as the system best suited to do the job required. It ticked all the functional elements and enabled the firm to deal with the anticipated volume of calls and contacts.
Positive business benefits have already been identified. Mansfield believes that by going down the omni-channel route, the company has been able to halve total costs over the past three years and reduce the cost of operation. Other gains include being able to understand, for the first time, contact flows of different types and understanding behaviour when there is a spike in calls, such as people moving to voice contact. Bayview began to use this insight as a baseline and to bring in its own technology, such as an artificial intelligence (AI) suite.
In a huge fillip given that it works primarily with chat technology, the company has also been able to monitor conversations and understand different topics and sub-topics in real time. This means that even if volumes of chats get into the thousands, Bayview can target individual process flows and identify through API integration how many chats there are of each type and which ones are meaningful or mostly correct.
“By fully utilising the agents, you don’t have a group of agents doing voice through pages, doing channel, doing email, they’re all blended across the piece,” Mansfield explains. “At the moment, whenever we have a spike, people stop chatting to us and they reach for the phone. So we automatically adjust to that change. We don’t have to go in there and change the skills; the system picks all that up.”
Bayview has also been active in using its contact centre solution for the development and use of bots. As of October 2022, the company was offering chatbot services in five different languages, to address about 16,000 chatbot conversations a day. These were resulting in 75% first contact resolution with fulfilment tasks using dialogue, flow, customer experience and back-end operations from the contact centre solution.
Customers are now self-serving their own requirements and Bayview calculates that customer conversations are now taking a third of the time it would take an agent to perform the same task.
And the implementation of the OneCloud CCaaS solution has not just brought about point technical gains – it has made the company think about its customer engagement. “We’re now in the process of moving over to the [cloud] platforms, we’re moving off the on-premise [platforms],” says Mansfield.
“We’re [moving to] contextualised routing, so when a contact comes in, we know [the customer] did something on the web 10 minutes ago, and we know that [job] is still pending. So, when [the customer] comes in, we don’t say, ‘Hi, who are you, what do you want?’, we say, ‘Hi, are you coming to talk to me about the thing that I think I saw you do 10 minutes ago?’ and ‘Here’s the answer to the question we’re anticipating you asking’. The customer gets exactly what they want, because ultimately they don’t want to spend any [unnecessary] time on a contact with us. Customers don’t even want to contact us in the first place.”
Looking to near future plans, Mansfield identifies further use of widgets through the Avaya solution, and the company wants to be able to offer suggested text to agents, so that instead of them having to type up tasks, Bayview can bring in fulfilment routines, allowing agents to reply to customers with solutions suggested by the platform’s back end. As well as speeding up the delivery of the solution, it also makes sure customers will be given better prompts. Bayview is also embarking on plans centred around video.
Mansfield is adamant that the company cannot rest on its laurels: “You have to evolve in order to not be Nokia or BlackBerry. You cannot stand still. You have got to just keep pushing forwards. And I’m lucky to work in a business that is very forward-thinking about what it wants to do.”