Elevating the Human Experience Through Predictive AI
A couple of years ago, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) had an epiphany: Recognizing the importance of customer care is critical to organizational success, and supporting and engaging customers on their own terms is now a necessity. Although driving revenue is still a primary focus for growth, the key to success is facilitating a great experience for customers across the board.
Last year, generated $2.9 billion(CAD)in annual revenue and has 1,200 employees across two office locations, as well as communities throughout the province. BCLC is a tech-oriented company, with up to a third of staff working in IT. Their focus on customer experience CX and innovative technology has established them as a Top 50 employer in BC for more than 16 consecutive years.
BCLC largely credits its success to its teams of expert staff that are capable of navigating the ever-changing gambling and gaming industry. These employees cite immense changes over the past decade, including technological advancements that affect efficiency, workflows, and customer experiences.
“Keeping up with advancements in how we support our customers and players continues to be a constant challenge in the customer care world,” says Martin Lampman, the Director of Customer Care Operations at BCLC. “The value that customer care has in our organization grows more and more, and allows us to be a vital player at the table.”
In the late 2010s, BCLC began looking closer at the ever-evolving customer life cycle. Their primary goal was to turn more customers into advocates. However, the organization needed more innovative ways to keep up with rapid-fire changes and remain competitive in the gaming space. They designed a customer care team to facilitate better player experiences, and then focused on revamping their employee experiences for an inside-out approach to enhance the customer experience.
But challenging the status quo required them to go deeper and ask: How can businesses create a better human experience?
On the Hunt For Better Customer Care Software
In 2019, BCLC decided to enhance its approach to customer care with more effective solutions for both customers and employees. Their primary objective was to replace an existing telephony platform, a legacy on-premise system requiring expensive upgrades to enhance their contact center.
“Every day, my team was saying, ‘We need to find a better way to do this,’” Martin says. “Every time we wanted to do something with our existing telephony provider, we would find ourselves facing a $10,000 bill.”
The company recognized their existing system could never effectively scale with consumer needs. When they evaluated competitors, they were surprised to find many products that were more intuitive, with greater functionality, and that would be far easier for employees to use. More specifically, their new solution had to meet three requirements:
- Easy to deploy and use
- The ability to make simple configuration changes quickly
- A comprehensive and robust product suite
It didn’t take long for BCLC to recognize as a major player in the space. The company shared many of BCLC’s internal values of integrity, community, and respect and the platform met the requirements, including ease of use, simplicity, and robust functionality. Based on the product’s reputation and extensive integrations, BCLC decided to proceed with an initial trial period.
“The sales meeting never felt like a sales meeting,” Martin says. “It felt like a collaborative conversation where we could help each other reach the best product possible for our agents and customers.”
The company began the implementation with half the team, while the other half remained on their previous telephony product. During that time, they gathered feedback from Technical Lead John Atherton, other technicians, and agents. Even accounting for the age of their previous platform, the Talkdesk advancements were remarkable.
“I told the Talkdesk team that I’d like to date a little before we go steady,” Martin says. “We went into a short one-year relationship to see how the platform worked, but we found right away that it was light years ahead of anything we had tried before.”
Throughout the process, BCLC was impressed with the approachable nature and customer-centric attitude of the Talkdesk team. Talkdesk made the migration easy with regular updates, support, and collaboration. From the beginning, they also partnered with BCLC to align its products and features with the company’s strategic plan.
“Talkdesk is certainly one of the most approachable vendors I’ve worked with in a very long time,” says John. “I jokingly call it the Talkdesk Family; that’s the kind of feel we get when we deal with them.”
Putting Talkdesk Solutions to the Test
BCLC put Talkdesk to use supporting multiple levels of its customer advocacy plan. This plan includes a multistep roadmap for AI and automation, and integrations with their existing tech stack.
The first step was connecting and APIs, which simplified the identity validation process and removed the need to record calls. These integrations took just one week to implement, which was a dramatic difference compared to other vendors requiring multiple months or longer. While BCLC’s old system heavily relied on the vendor and internal IT teams, Talkdesk enables BCLC’s IT team to focus on larger organizational projects, such as moving more systems into the cloud.
“Seamless integration really plays well for us at the backend,” John says. “Today, it’s all about finding value in cost savings, production, disruption, flexibility, and data flow within the software itself.”
BCLC also had an opportunity to introduce AI into their contact center. Using Talkdesk tools for speech analytics and sentiment analysis, the company puts numbers behind every customer interaction to find new ways of fine-tuning their approach. Today, they boast stats like:
- Lowered average handle time to 210.7 seconds
- Decreased average hold time to 24.7 seconds
- Reduced abandonment rate to 12%
“When we first started enhancing our tech stack and getting more insight, our customer experience scoring was in the mid to low 80s,” Martin says. “Implementing what we learned from Talkdesk and Qualtrics, we crept up to the 85–88 range, and with the infusion of AI we have surpassed the 90 mark.”
BCLC has also moved into the predictive and proactive AI space. By finding and remedying problems before they affect customers, the business has discovered that robotic process automation (RPA) can remove simple problems from agent and customer experiences. It also allows their workforce to focus on more complex questions or cases, adopting more of a concierge approach to these issues, thereby enhancing the customer experience.
Talkdesk allows BCLC to quantify technological improvements in the agent and customer experience. Uptime is phenomenal, with customers rarely complaining about the experience supported by the Talkdesk platform. From a customer standpoint, doing business with BCLC is quick, simplistic, and effort-free. Reducing rage and frustration for customers and agents makes for a better relationship with BCLC. The organization has seen reduced handle times, more efficient operations, and improved NPS scores.
“Customers aren’t stuck in horrible IVR flows while trying to get the support they need,” Martin says. “Instead, they can get their questions answered quickly without having to wait, sit by the sidelines, or navigate confusing menus that could be easily simplified.”
Another benefit of Talkdesk is the ability to offer meaningful feedback to agents immediately after each call. This removes stress for the agent and makes space for a larger, more holistic conversation about the agent experience. After all, the faster agents can see what’s happening, the faster they can react and make positive changes.
This experience has helped organically grow the user base for Talkdesk CX Cloud. While the journey began with the company’s customer care team, word of their success has filtered through to other departments, who ask, “Can we have your platform, too?”
“I’m just excited about the future of it all,” John says. “We have virtual agents and agent assist knowledge bases, smarter routing capabilities, the ability to anticipate customer needs, and better resource optimization for staff. We’re also starting to use Talkdesk technology to remove the labor of analyzing multiple elements, making it easier to see the customer’s story and share real-time information with other teams.”
BCLC’s Contact Center Is Becoming Its Best Self
BCLC staunchly believes in elevating the customer story, and they do this by combining AI with the human touch. Team members feel their partnership with Talkdesk has made all the difference in ensuring their business model starts with people, not profits, and ends with excellent, memorable experiences.
Martin encourages business leaders to rely on the expertise of others while hunting for customer-centric solutions. “Go out and try things,” he says. “There’s no need to fall into analysis paralysis—Talkdesk is easy to implement and easy to set up.”
Even businesses wary about harnessing AI can look to BCLC, who had no idea they were starting down that road. “Knowing Talkdesk had a plethora of tools and a team to walk beside us meant we weren’t afraid of what would happen if things went wrong.”
With Talkdesk technology and support, BCLC is proudly maturing its business to transform customers into ambassadors.