Developing a game-changing Virtual Agent for eCabs
The bespoke Virtual Agent (VA) for eCabs introduced a game-changing advantage to the company. EBO integrated the VA into eCabs’ Facebook Messenger, giving customers the ability to book a cab directly via Facebook.
Since its inception, just a decade ago, eCabs has become Malta’s largest private transport organisation, offering a 24/7 mobility service. The company seeks to relentlessly raise the benchmark, adopting smart technology and innovation to drive efficiency and sustainability in all its operations.
What Goals Did eCabs Have?
eCabs was seeking to stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly commoditised and competitive market whilst upkeeping its quality standards in customer experience.
The company's high dependency on 24/7 manual customer support and need for immediate scalability, was resulting in staff overload and an increased rate of abandoned calls.
eCabs wanted to meet its customers' expectations and their needs for for immediate customer service. The company needed a fast, scalable system to automate the repetitive processes that were slowing it down.
Cab services have become increasingly commoditized in this day and age. With the onset of sharing economy and peer-to-peer ridesharing, the cab industry has transformed and flourished, increasing in competition and customer expectations. For this reason, the eCabs management team was seeking a means to remain ahead of the curve and its competitors whilst upkeeping its quality standards in customer experience.
High dependency on Customer Support Service
eCab’s mobile App and telephone channels were the predominant booking options within the company's omnichannel mix. eCabs was entirely dependent on 24/7 manual customer support. This caused an overload on staff during peak seasons which led to an opportunity to increase efficiency, shorten customer on-hold time and decrease the rate of abandoned calls and sales. This was essential considering today's increasing demand for immediate customer service. The company needed a fast, scalable system to automate the repetitive processes that were slowing down the company throughout. EBO was approached to deliver an AI solution through conversational systems.
A strong differentiator for mobility industry
EBO knew that the customer journey is as important to a taxi service company as the cab journey itself. Enhancing its customer experience using AI automation would offer eCabs the ability to build a strong differentiator.
Through a number of discovery workshops with the client as well as extensive research and data mining, EBO’s data scientists discovered that 74% of all customer requests received by the CS team were cab bookings.
In light of this, EBO’s NLP engineers developed a bespoke Virtual Agent (VA) for eCabs, which introduced a game-changing advantage to the company. EBO integrated the VA into eCabs’ Facebook Messenger, giving customers the ability to book a cab directly via Facebook, in a few simple clicks and conversational flow. On clicking ‘message’ on eCab’s Facebook page, the user is introduced to Sam, eCabs' own Virtual Agent, via friendly human-like conversation. Sam asks the customer the necessary questions and proceeds to booking a cab instantly.
Customers can also choose to book a cab for a later date and time. Thanks to the use of an API, such bookings are handled immediately by the VA and directly booked into eCabs' booking system, without the need for a CS agent to manually book or revert back to customers with a booking confirmation. This further increases efficiency by reducing customer wait-time and CS workload.
A dynamic full-body intelligent service
EBO deeply and securely integrated its AI technology into eCabs' back office booking. This access to the company’s data, maps, cab availability and drivers, allowed the VA to offer an immediate dynamic full-body service on a 24/7 basis. Today the VA can search for and provide users with cab availability, cost of journey and estimated time of arrival. It can further perform intelligent actions such as booking a cab or locating a cab for the customer as it’s on its way.
Conversational design and machine learning
EBO believes that conversation is the glue in effective customer service and therefore holds Natural Language Processing (NLP) at the centre of its product. For this reason, EBO did not only deliver the technology but its team of NLP experts also built and designed the conversation to create intelligent workflows. This was done by carrying out intent, utterance and entity training which involved developing a training model using existing customer utterances and use cases taken from past data.
Once in use, the VA’s machine learning capabilities would then apply self-learning techniques to keep its language library updated and learn as it goes along. This allows it to adapt, understand and handle a wider range of complex tasks and customer requests.
Emulating Human Conversation
Reducing Exorbitant Costs
Thanks to conversation automation, the cost per eCabs’ customer interaction decreases significantly making the VA a minimum viable product and an extremely cost-effective solution. eCabs can now upscale without increasing staff and cost.
Introducing New Data Points and Customer Intelligence
Prior to introducing AI into eCabs' sale process, the company's customer data was fragmented with no ticket management system in place. Integrating the VA into eCabs' system, provided the opportunity for eCabs to capture all customer data into one user-friendly channel. Today, Sam can store all conversation data into one channel, providing the company with analytical customer data, including sentiment analysis. This has enriched the company with customer intelligence, helping it to predict revenue growth, profitability and gain informed strategic advantage.
Through this same backend, eCabs has full control over conversational workflows and can manage, build or improve current conversation flows. Support agents can also take over the chat, should the conversation require human intervention.
This is just the start
The future of eCabs is looking bright. Launching the VA has set the stage for eCabs to grow and advance in its services and customer experience. With future ancillary services and projects in the pipeline, these are just the first stages to unleashing the power of AI in the taxi service industry.