How Fonecta automated 70% of its most common inquiries

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To free support agents from repetitive tasks, Fonecta rolled out customer service automation in late 2019. Since then, its AI-powered chat support has supercharged customer and employee experiences.

CRM Integration
Chat automation rate 60%
Agent hours saved, annually 2,000

Highlights

  • Over the first 4 months, volumes doubled on the new, automated chat
  • A 60% automation rate reached within 3 months 
  • Over 70% of the two most common cases (which make up a third of Fonecta’s requests) are now automated
  • Fonecta on track to save 2,000 hours of agent effort every year thanks to Ultimate's solution

The Customer: Fonecta helps over 30,000 business find their (digital) voice

Fonecta was founded in 2002 and has since become an important digital marketing partner for Finnish companies.

As a part of the European Directories Group, it is headquartered in Helsinki and employs around 300 people.

Fonecta is a leading provider of digital marketing services to around 30,000 small, medium, and large businesses.

The company’s support team wanted to invest in technology to help its agents better serve customers, while improving the employee experience.

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The Situation: Freeing up support agents by automating repetitive tasks

Up until 2019, email was Fonecta’s biggest digital support channel, and the company was looking for a way to automate email support. Fonecta saw a lot of potential in self-service.

They were processing a high number of repetitive requests: 18% of inquiries came from customers asking for business contact details they could have found in the directory.

Likewise, nearly 14% of requests came from businesses wanting to update their business information on Fonecta, which is also an easy self-service case.

At Fonecta, as in many B2B companies, agents are highly qualified and handle complex cases. Fonecta’s agents are experts in digital marketing services.

It was therefore crucial for the company to eliminate the repetitive queries these agents had to deal with, so they could focus on B2B tasks that match their skillset.

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The Solution: AI-powered chat that's as human as it is effective

During their first conversations with Ultimate, Fonecta mentioned that thy wanted to challenge their “email status quo”. Instead of automating email, they opted to launch a brand new, AI-powered Virtual Agent.

They saw that chat would expand their service offering by giving their clients instant digital support. 

Ultimate’s automation technology enabled Fonecta to provide both compassionate and effective support when they launched their chat channel.

The AI-powered Virtual Agent was quickly able to automatically resolve repetitive cases, which freed up time for Fonecta’s agents to focus on high-value interactions. Automation truly works as an assistant to support and sales agents, helping them make the most of their time and their skills.

The first phase of the project reflected this hand-in-hand approach: in November 2019, Fonecta launched chat support with suggested responses -- the Virtual Agent offered response suggestions in real time, among which agents would select the right response. This allowed agents to answer queries more quickly, all the while training their Virtual Agent's underlying AI model.

Starting with suggested responses kept Fonecta in complete control over the support experience.

To help train other agents to make the most of the suggested responses, Fonecta’s best performing agents joined the project team.

Their enthusiasm about AI-powered automation was infectious, and they got the whole team eager to be involved.

Four weeks in, Fonecta was ready to go live with automation. Over the 4-month pilot, Fonecta and Ultimate evaluated the impact on customer experience, employee experience and potential cost savings.

The Success: Automating 60% of Fonecta's most common queries

Chat is the newest but fastest-growing channel at Fonecta. Volumes doubled in the first 4 months, going from 600 to 1,200 conversations a month. In that time, the automation rate reached 60% - and it is still growing.

In a short amount of time, common queries were almost fully automated. Fonecta processed a large number of repetitive requests, with only two cases accounting for a third of their volumes.

Now, 85% of misguided B2C consumer requests (which make up 18% of the questions Fonecta gets) are answered by the Virtual Agent, freeing up time for agents to focus on more valuable tasks.

And the most common B2B requests, coming from businesses who want to update their contact information (this makes up almost 14% of all cases) are now resolved by the Virtual Agent automatically.

Here, the Virtual Agent can successfully guide the customer to update the information themselves. AI saves Fonecta 2,000 hours of agent effort a year.

The project has yielded incredibly positive outcomes among the team. They are engaged and dedicated, holding weekly meetings with Ultimate's customer success team to keep training the AI and scaling the solution.

Two of Fonecta’s best performing agents are part of the automation team, bringing deep domain expertise to the automation workflows.

This expertise also means that Fonecta holds the reins of the platform and knows how to harness its flexibility.

At times of uncertainty, Fonecta is able to turn automation off and provide human-first support. It’s the best of both worlds: AI-powered automation saves Fonecta time and improves their employees’ experience, but the team ultimately still has full control over their customer service.

What’s coming next

Fonecta continues to optimize their automated experiences, in close collaboration with the ultimate.ai team through weekly meetings and a shared Slack channel. Fonecta and Ultimate look forward to a lasting partnership.

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