Mission to Modernize – Stadtwerke Hamm meets changing customer needs
Stadtwerke Hamm, a regional energy supplier, made it their mission to provide excellent customer service. To achieve this, they decided to modernize their systems and upgrade from basic telephony to babelforce – with transformative results.
About Stadtwerke Hamm
Stadtwerke Hamm is the backbone of Hamm, Germany. They keep the lights on, heat up homes, and make sure the water is running. They also take care of the bus schedules, handle the port, keep the pools filled, and even ensure the Internet’s working. But they’re not just about delivering municipal services – they want to deliver them well. They care about their customers, keep prices fair, and are always thinking about the future – particularly in terms of environmental and climate protection.
Customer service modernization
On a Mission to Modernize
Stadtwerke Hamm were operating with a bare-bones system – a blend of hardware and softphone technology that simply provided a connection. This system had served them well for years, but times were changing rapidly, and the sudden shift in customer interaction patterns brought on by the pandemic made the limitations of their existing system more apparent.
There were no insights about who their customers were, how many were waiting in line, or even how many agents were currently on a call. Management had limited data, with access to only basic statistics such as the number of incoming and missed calls.
Their rudimentary system was starting to be a focal point of customer frustration. When no agents were available to answer a call, customers could only hear a busy tone. They tried to incorporate a text greeting during peak times, but it just wasn’t enough to meet evolving customer needs. Feedback from customers often pointed towards a lack of reachability. To make things even more challenging, the company was largely in the dark as to the reasons customers were calling, which made it difficult to direct them to the appropriate lines for assistance.
The pandemic brought additional challenges. Many of Stadtwerke Hamm’s customers preferred traditional modes of contact – either through a phone call or a visit to the service center in person. But with COVID-19 restrictions preventing face-to-face interactions, the shortcomings of their phone system became even more glaring. It was clear that a change was necessary.
The search for a flexible solution
Stadtwerke Hamm’s leadership knew that they needed to make a change within their support department.They wanted a system that could seamlessly blend automated services with live agent assistance, delivering a balanced, customer-centric experience.
A turning point arrived when one of Stadtwerke Hamm’s sales managers discovered babelforce. The level of autonomy offered set babelforce apart and piqued Stadtwerke Hamm’s interest. “What appealed to us was that we could do everything on our own. We liked the opportunity to do as many tasks as possible by ourselves,” recalled Julie Pradler, Digital Platform Advisor at Stadtwerke Hamm.
This was a feature that other potential solutions didn’t seem to offer. No-Code self-sufficiency was the missing piece of the puzzle, making babelforce a clear winner in their search.
“We looked at our statistics and saw that our sales levels got better and the response from our customers also got better.”
Digital platform advisor
Venturing into Automation
Before bringing in babelforce, Stadtwerke Hamm was grappling with a significant issue – they were unable to discern why their customers were reaching out to them. This problem was twofold. On an individual level, they lacked the ability to understand the intent behind each customer’s call. This lack of context data made it difficult to deliver personalized service, which affected the quality of customer-agent interactions.
On a broader scale, without insights into the common reasons driving customer calls, Stadtwerke Hamm was left in the dark. They had no way to identify patterns, understand recurring issues, or take proactive measures to address these concerns before customers had to pick up the phone. The lack of an overarching view of customer intent prevented them from taking steps to mitigate call volumes.
However, all this changed when they implemented their new voicebot from babelforce. Julie remembered: “At the very beginning, we said okay, when a customer is calling, we’d like to know why they’re calling.”
So, her team got to work, setting up a voicebot to query every customer’s reason for calling. It was a great success, and before long the team had already gathered insights from hundreds of customers as to why they were getting in touch.
This gave them the confidence to develop more solutions to even deeper issues, such as monthly payments. These days, things at Stadtwerke Hamm are even more automated. Julie shared, “When a customer wants to change their monthly payments, they can tell our voicebot ‘I want to change my monthly payment for electricity'”. Using this simple system, their customers could easily provide their account number and preferred payment amount without ever speaking to an agent. This information would then be automatically sent to the appropriate agent team via email.
The Path to Adoption
Any time a new system is introduced to an organization, there can be a few hurdles to overcome, at least initially. Convincing a customer service team that’s been doing things a certain way for years to embrace a new way of working? That can sometimes feel like mission impossible.
That’s where the babelforce customer success team came to the rescue, showing Stadtwerke Hamm all the opportunities their system offered. Regular meetings helped iron out any issues, making the transition easier. To make sure everyone got on board with the new platform, babelforce trained three Stadtwerke Hamm team members. They were given a deep dive into the system and workflows, showing them how to build their own bespoke customer experiences.
Armed with this knowledge, these team members then ran workshops for their colleagues, spreading the know-how throughout the team. This approach made the transition smoother, helping everyone to quickly get up to speed and learn how to use their new system effectively.
Modernizing Operations with One Powerful Telephony System
Stadtwerke Hamm’s choice to implement babelforce marked a turning point for the company. An all-in-one telephony system was just what they needed to modernize their operations. With babelforce, their customers could enjoy a frustration-free customer service experience.
Embracing Transparency and Efficiency
The most immediate change Julie noted was a newfound transparency that had been missing prior to babelforce. For their agents, this was quite a radical change. “All these insights we get from babelforce – it’s a really good benefit for us,” she said. This transparency allowed their agents to become more self-sufficient, and answer customer inquiries faster than ever before. Although the initial transition was somewhat daunting, Julie said complaints from agents are currently few and far between. “We don’t hear any difficulties now,” she noted.
Tangible Improvements, Satisfied Customers
The benefits of adopting babelforce weren’t confined to internal operations alone. The positive impact was also clear in the company’s external interactions, particularly with customers. “We looked at our statistics and saw that our sales levels got better and the response from our customers also got better,” Julie noted. Some simple automation, such as proactively providing customers with information regarding particular issues, also resulted in a decrease in call volumes.
“For our customers, it’s a lot more modern to hear a voicebot help than to hear this ‘beep beep beep’ sound all the time.”
Digital platform advisor
Driving the Digital Journey
The integration of babelforce also played a crucial role in Stadtwerke Hamm’s broader digital transformation strategy. As Julie reflected, “We are at the very beginning of the whole digital journey”. In her mind, babelforce was a significant step towards creating an efficient work environment. It marked a decisive move towards more data-driven operations, catalyzing the company’s overall digital transformation. According to Julie, the general consensus now is “the more we can automate the better”.
A Tech Facelift
At its core, the adoption of babelforce was primarily about enhancing the customer experience. The replacement of the outdated ‘beep beep beep’ sound with an interactive voicebot presented a more modern, user-friendly way to communicate with their customers. This didn’t just make life easier for the customer, it also gave Stadtwerke Hamm a real image boost. They no longer had to worry about customers being put off by a dated, clunky system.
Hand in Hand with babelforce
Stadtwerke Hamm’s journey with babelforce was far from a solitary one. The customer success team at babelforce provided steady support, guiding them through any hurdles. In Julie’s words, “They took us by the hand. It was really good for us”. The line of communication was always open, and responses were quick, helping Stadtwerke Hamm navigate any potential bumps in the road with ease. The close-knit partnership with the babelforce team was instrumental in making the transition as smooth as possible.
The Impact: A Reinvention of Stadtwerke Hamm’s Customer Service
The adoption of babelforce was more than just a technical upgrade. It enabled Stadtwerke Hamm to overhaul their entire approach to customer service. Suddenly, their team could understand why customers were calling and adapt their services to match these needs.
The beauty of automation was a revelation. Mundane tasks like managing monthly payments and meter readings became a walk in the park. Customers could speak directly to their voicebot, providing their details and preferences – and voila! This information was automatically sent directly to the relevant team, without an agent needing to be involved. This shift didn’t just make life easier for Stadtwerke Hamm’s team, it also translated into more sales and better customer satisfaction. In short, Stadtwerke Hamm’s step into the modern age of customer service was a giant leap forward, and babelforce was their launchpad.
What’s on the Horizon: More Automation, More Convenience
Stadtwerke Hamm are planning to double down on the power of automation. They’re actively working on expanding automation to include processes beyond just meter readings and payroll. They envision a future where customer inquiries sent via email are instantly analyzed and categorized through deep search, further speeding up resolution times.
“We had one idea that we could use our regional radio station to put it into our queue,” said Julie. It’s the ability to add these little personal touches that the team at Stadtwerke Hamm really appreciates. With the No-Code flexibility of babelforce, they can dream up these kinds of ideas and make them a reality. Moving forward, Stadtwerke Hamm intends to keep modernizing their customer service, one step at a time.
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