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Pivotal Data lays foundation for a cloud-enabled future at King Price

The contact centre sits at the heart of every customer centric business strategy. However, outdated, inflexible technology constrained King Price Insurance’s ability to deliver omnichannel engagement and superior customer service.

King Price started with approximately 25 staff in 2012, and expanded rapidly thanks to its innovative low-cost insurance model. The company quickly grew into an organisation with 1,200 staff, with the call centre a significant contributor to this growth.

“Staffed with just 10 people at the start, King Price now has 600 call centre agents who operate across the board, from sales and claims to back-office support,” explains Dr Eugene Wessels, Group Chief Technology Officer at King Price.

Like most start-ups, King Price initially invested in a technology solution that made financial sense and met a specific need at the time. However, as customer volumes rose, and the business evolved from motor-only insurance to commercial, specialised and life insurance, the insurance provider's communications solution could not scale to meet the growing demands.

Initially, King Price was running multiple PBX solutions, explains Dandre Nel, Product Owner: Telephony at King Price. “These systems were not scalable, which threatened to constrain their business growth and erode service delivery.”

The insurance provider's existing telephony systems also lacked other vital functionality required in the highly regulated financial services industry, such as centralised call recording and retrieval.

“Low workforce visibility and a lack of omnichannel communication capabilities were additional concerns for the business,” adds Nel.

“We needed to provide a more sophisticated telephony solution to support their more sophisticated business,” asserts Dr Wessels.

Faced with these challenges, King Price initiated consultations with Pivotal Data, a leading local contact centre, customer experience and enterprise communications solutions specialist to replace the insurer’s legacy communication technology.

As with many technology transformation initiatives, the initial implementation encountered various challenges but provided important learnings for both project partners.

King Price chose to do most of the change management and implementation internally in an effort to realise the desired outcome.

“We were invested in the process because we knew what worked internally for King Price and what didn't. However, we quickly realised that we lacked the depth and knowledge in the telephony space to achieve our objectives,” continues Dr Wessels.

“The first rollout included two separate applications – an interactive desktop for inbound calls and a scripter for outbound campaigns,” explains Nel.

This blended model meant agents required two screens and had to toggle between the applications to work on either inbound or outbound calls, which detracted from the user experience and proved inefficient. “We also experienced issues with reporting and functionality,” adds Nel.

When the initial solution rollout failed to address the insurer's business challenges and meet expectations, King Price and Pivotal Data collectively agreed to revisit their initial implementation approach and solution in a war room-type effort.

“Each party was willing to get into a room to tackle the challenges and work them out. We went through a journey, revisiting the decisions we made,” recalls Dr Wessels.

The partners collaborated closely during the evaluation project, which kicked off in February 2020. Both parties were honest and frank about the challenges experienced around the solution's usability, the employee experience and the ability to manage the solution internally.

The collaborative effort highlighted the project's initial shortcomings and the partners devised a new solution roadmap. Importantly, the evaluation process contextualised the need to strike the right balance between internal and external execution to clearly define roles and ensure that each party leveraged their specific strengths to successfully implement and manage the solution.

“The initial implementation helped us understand the value that a qualified managed services provider can deliver when empowered to apply their expertise and experience within specific areas,” continues Dr Wessels.

“Consequently, we listened more to Pivotal Data's expert guidance the second time around to understand how much we can and should take over internally.”

Pivotal Data also stepped up to the challenge by restructuring the team for the second implementation – the company added resources and additional expertise to supplement the maturity cycle within King Price.

Pivotal Data – a Gold partner within the Genesys partner network – engaged directly with the omnichannel customer experience and contact centre solutions vendor, throughout the evaluation process to determine the appropriate solution.

Genesys proposed Interaction Connect, a browser-based interaction manager that offers call control functionality, chat features, and status management.

The Interaction Connect solution didn't require Pivotal Data to install any components on the desktop, which meant it was easier to roll out across the whole of King Price. This was a significant benefit, given that the implementation commenced during the first hard lockdown.

Dr Wessels affirms that rolling out the project during the lockdown wasn't easy because it added complexity, but the project never stopped.

“Based on a key learning from the first implementation, namely that it is not one big collective that does everything, we broke up project elements into specific streams and allocated key individuals to execute them.”

One vital stream built everything around the analytics component to provide insight into the solution's telephony, which is vital for a data-intensive company like King Price. “Stats are fundamental to how they run their business,” says Dr Wessels.

The functional stream developed elements such as optimal dialler configurations that allow agents to work accurately and more effectively in an omnichannel environment.

“We wanted to optimise call allocations to agents to boost productivity by enabling them to take a call and an email at the same time, for example,” explains Nel.

“This calibration is also essential to get full value and access the full functionality from such a sophisticated solution.”

Pivotal Data managed load balancing, general maintenance, and system functioning, which helps the King Price team to run a smooth operational channel.

Once fully implemented, Interaction Connect delivered the same functionality as King Price's previous solution but with better integration – two separate applications were now available on one screen, offering a comprehensive, consolidated view of all work items and customer data.

The intuitive and responsive Customer Interaction Center (CIC) client increases agent efficiency by delivering seamless, real-time access to all touchpoints, which delivers CX continuity, reduces resolution times and simplifies customer engagements.

“This lighter web-based solution also means we gain access to the newest version,” adds Nel.

Training agents to use the new solution happened remotely due to lockdown restrictions. But rather than limit progress, Dr Wessels believes that the lockdown helped the project gain momentum.

“We had the luxury of being able to focus on the implementation and training in a very structured way, without distractions.”

The Pivotal Data team was always available and had representation in every training call and war room feedback session. “The team's commitment throughout the process was unwavering,” states Dr Wessels.

Following the successful implementation, King Price is now able to deliver a true omnichannel customer experience to meet evolving engagement preferences.

“Importantly, they can deliver and measure engagement on a single platform. Access to granular insights regarding agent productivity, call resolution and abandon rates, and customer satisfaction levels, among others, help them to track metrics against their performance metrics and progress towards their objectives,” states Nel.

Additional solution functionality ensures that the quality assurance monitoring process happens automatically in real-time, creating opportunities to coach agents and improve CX.

The Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) engine efficiently allocates calls to agents to boost productivity.

“This feature is especially beneficial in the context of a geographically distributed workforce amid the pandemic. Adopting the web-based Interaction Connect solution made this transition to at-home working a lot easier,” adds Nel.

The solution's strategic impact on the business is also profound, highlights Dr Wessels, as it equips the company with the resources required to execute its vision and mission.

“With the issues resolved and the solution successfully implemented, the focus can shift from getting the right technology in place to successfully operating a large call centre company. Managing the call centre agents and helping them deliver better customer experiences will deliver greater business impact as we transition to the next phase of our technology maturity cycle.”

With these technological capabilities in place, King Price is now also favourably positioned to realise its other strategic business ambitions.

“Pivotal Data has helped lay the foundation for future evolutions in King Price’s call centre capabilities. As digital adoption grows in South Africa, they now have the technology to meet new shifts in consumer engagement preferences. They can also compete in a more digitally mature market, without compromising on their current voice-first model – a vital channel in a country that caters to multiple languages,” adds Dr Wessels.

King Price believes that digitally-enabled voice-first call centres will remain relevant in the country for the foreseeable future because conversing in a person's mother tongue gives consumers a degree of assurance.

The cloud-based solution also creates opportunities to integrate other applications into the call centre environment, such as CRM systems, or seamlessly access additional functionality like interactive voice response (IVR), which routes clients to the right agent to shorten resolution times.

“Furthermore, we are now in a position to migrate other services to the cloud and design technology stacks that support the additional capabilities we are currently building for King Price,” continues Dr Wessels.

Longer-term opportunities include embracing intelligent telephony.

“Our digitalisation efforts will allow us to apply machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to rich data sets in future, to transform how King Price engages with their customers. We are already starting to apply ML to identify and extract insights that show us where we can improve processes or optimise operations.”

However, by eventually moving this function into the telephony engine, King Price can begin reimagining interactions by predicting customer preferences, hyper-personalising engagements and offers, and customising customer journeys to craft optimal experiences.

“This intelligent telephony creates capabilities that can outsmart cognitive human capabilities. However, we cannot do that when rich data functionality runs next to the telephony system. This intelligence needs to be part of the solution, which is a level of integration that the new cloud-based Genesys solution can accommodate.”

Dr Wessels also views Genesys technology as an enabler for some of King Price’s other clients.

“The Genesys Cloud platform will enable us to deliver the digital-first omnichannel experience for NEXT Forsikring in Denmark. This level of integrated communication is expected in the more-mature European markets.”

“Based on the success of the collaborative approach that King Price embraced in 2020, our working relationship has blossomed,” explains Tanya Phillips, Chief Operations Officer at Pivotal Data.

“Our desire to partner with King Price, and their willingness to embrace a working relationship that transcends conventional supplier-client roles has delivered success for both partners, and in turn also King Price’s clients.”

According to Phillips, Pivotal Data now operates as a trusted advisor to King Price and forms an integral part of the company's growth and expansion plans.

This is most evident in their decision to extend King Price’s initial five-year contract by an additional two years when it came up for renewal in November 2020.

“We are excited about the opportunities that our new long-term partnership creates, and we look forward to continued success in the additional projects we will manage in the coming years,” she concludes.

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