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Logistics & Transport
Manage contact volume surge across channels
Reduce customer wait time and frustration
Offer quality customer support through the COVID-19 crisis
Augment contact center management through Freddy-powered self-service chatbots
Fast turnaround time
Quick and easy integration with existing CRM
Reduction in wait time
Posti is Finland's leading postal and logistics service company. In addition to providing traditional mail, parcel, and freight services, Posti has a 'digital solutions' vertical for companies through which they offer a range of B2B services, including e-invoicing. This and other digital services offered to corporate customers have made Posti a leading player in Finland.
During the peak COVID-19 outbreak period, Posti needed to cut down customer wait time, dispense information quickly, and manage the service pipeline better. Subsequently, they turned to Freshworks for a quick and effective solution.
We spoke to Jari Viljasaari, Business Manager of Posti's Digital Solutions Unit, about how Posti tackled a pandemic-induced disruption to their customer service by deploying self-service chatbots.
Staying relevant and efficient is a priority for Posti. And Posti’s e-businesses ecosystem has proven to be a ground rife with the potential for improving operating models, driving growth, and securing new revenue. To this end, in 2019, they committed to working towards sustainability and automation and considered working with a technology partner to vet new business opportunities. Freshworks was one of the 250 firms that were identified for this.
However, when the pandemic hit, Posti’s growth and transformation plans had to be scrapped or changed overnight. “As the outbreak spread, businesses turned their view from long term 'strategic' to short term 'survival', especially in Finland,” said Jari. “Revenue was unsure and it was a fight for survival across the board. We had a choice as well - either to stop what we were doing or to turn this situation to our advantage. We chose the latter."
In March 2020, Posti started noticing a massive surge in contact volumes. Almost overnight, service requests from business customers started going haywire and through the roof. And an internal review revealed that a lot of these requests had to do with Posti’s e-invoicing service.
Between March and April 2020, over two-thirds of small and medium businesses in Finland were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. By May, nearly 75% of businesses expected a negative impact on their revenue. Many of Posti's customers had to confront these conditions and started reaching out to Posti to initiate payment deferrals.
Given the sudden surge, requesting a payment deferral started taking up to 45 minutes, and with 100+ requests flowing into the system during peak pandemic weeks, Posti needed to bolster their system to work faster in order to:
Ease the stress on their corporate customers
Lighten the workload for their customer service reps
Ensure customer satisfaction
With no luxury of time, Posti moved quickly and re-evaluated their service teams’ ability to handle the surge and deliver quality experiences. They started exploring new channels to support the increase in contact center volume and made a swift decision to partner with a technology provider with prebuilt environments to pilot a self-service program for handling information requests.
“When COVID hit businesses, we immediately started looking for tools and mechanisms for automating the process of requesting delayed payment for corporate customers of Posti. We chose to work with Freshworks because not only they were able to work with our tight timelines but also meet our expectations of the total cost of ownership, proof of concept, and turnaround time.”
Business Manager of Digital Solutions
Stepping up to address their customer’s most pressing needs, Posti and Freshworks began exploring a bot-first strategy, centered on addressing COVID-induced disruption to the e-invoicing business. The goal was to streamline e-invoicing service requests and consolidate data from multiple channels into one place. The structural changes envisioned would allow Posti to cut down the wait time for raising payment deferral requests while giving customers a clear view of the status of their request.
Freshworks helped Posti pilot a smart and intuitive self-service bot, powered by Freddy, to work alongside their Salesforce Cloud CRM platform. The bot was calibrated to:
Capture e-invoice details like invoice number
Feed information bits to Salesforce cloud for verification and authentication purposes
Pull data and present customers with information and choices for the next steps.
On Posti’s website, the team created a dedicated page to offer support to businesses requiring payment deferrals. The Freddy self-service bot was integrated into this page, so customers seeking help could provide their business ID and get customized service. This low-touch, self-service process reduced the pressure on Posti’s team and allowed them to focus on larger problems.
Posti’s ‘Corona Bot’ for supporting payment deferral request
Following implementation, the 'Corona Bot', as Posti calls it, has helped Posti bring down customer queuing time from 45 minutes to as little as 45 seconds. This level of performance was reached within 3 weeks of deployment. “Not only is the bot fast, but the UX is also far superior, too,” Jari said, “The ease of configuration is perhaps the best thing about Freddy self-service. The platform has been extremely reliable so far.”
The ‘Corona Bot’ is now adequately helping their e-invoicing customers ask for delayed payments and keep the request pipeline stable. It works seamlessly with the Salesforce Cloud and integrated quickly with their existing system.
Since the soft launch, Posti has seen Freddy self-service bots handle queries 24/7, ensuring all-round timely support. The time, money, and effort saved on frontline communications and backend operations have also been significant.
Posti now plans to expand the scope of bots to work across more business verticals as well as communication channels like WhatsApp, to service its customers better and improve customer satisfaction per transaction.
“Implementing the ‘Corona Bot’ has been a learning exercise for us. And with the outcomes that we’ve seen, we think it can be pushed out to our customers as a larger service for supporting various categories of transactions and generating additional revenue," remarked Jari.
The decision to implement a new digital initiative when most businesses would have feared diversification has ensured Posti and Posti’s customers a fighting chance out of this pandemic.
With Freshworks adding a tailwind to Posti’s plans of strengthening the company’s structural backbone through strategic investments in technology, Finland’s foremost legacy institution is back on track to building capabilities that elevate operational models and sustain for the long-term.
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