contact centres are the front doors

Contact Centres are the ‘Front Doors’ that welcome customers down under

As the world continues to deal with the coronavirus and other challenges that affect our everyday lives, businesses and their customers agree that staying connected—and finding new ways to connect—is increasingly important for both groups. Contact centers are at the heart of these vital connections, serving as “front doors” that welcome customers in, day after day, for whatever they need, from products and services to information, answers to questions, and problem resolution.

In Australia and New Zealand, NICE CXone works with a variety of organizations that continue to reaffirm their commitment to customer service and providing exceptional customer experiences every day. Their contact centers, especially, accomplish this in a variety of important ways: through digital omnichannel offerings, in their agility and flexibility to respond to any challenge, and with important tools that enhance efficiency and productivity, along with agent engagement and performance.

omni channel

Each of these NICE CXone customers' Down Under is unique—vastly different from one another. They include one of Australia’s leading suppliers of bathroom and kitchen fixtures, a maverick telecom provider, a major media company, a regional auto club, and the complex Auckland Council, which provides municipal services to a sprawling region. But all share a fierce commitment to providing customers with exceptional experiences, understanding that their
contact centers not only set the tone for their organizations’ entire customer journey but also have the power to yield critical insights for making that journey even more efficient and pleasing for their customers. And each organization has a keen eye on the future and its own roadmap to get there.

A wealth of advantages with CXone
As organizations in Australia and New Zealand have moved to the cloud and the CXone integrated platform, each realized benefits specific to their organizations and business goals. At the same time, however, there have been many ‘universal’ advantages:

  • Omnichannel choices include an increasing array of digital channels—chat, web, social media apps—that their customers want.

  • Improved customer experience and satisfaction from greater efficiency, streamlined IVR/self-service options, the first-call resolution.

  • Impressive metrics, from reduced wait times, faster speed to answer, fewer abandoned calls.
  • Analytics that enable increased visibility, insights, real-time feedback, and fine-tuning performance.

  • Agility, adaptability, flexibility, and scalability to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

  • Flexible, work-from-anywhere capabilities.

  • Improved agent engagement and performance.

  • Confidence in the future with leading-edge technology, automatic updates, and a customized roadmap to the future.

‘Quite an exciting time’ for GWA Group

Once the impacts of the coronavirus were identified early in 2020, companies worldwide knew they needed to move quickly. As luck would have it, one of Australia’s leading suppliers of bathroom and kitchen fixtures, GWA Group Limited (GWA), had already begun the transition to NICE’s integrated CXone cloud contact center platform as part of a broader and ongoing digital transformation (DX) and technology overhaul. The company was able to accelerate solutions for a remote contact center workforce—not missing a beat while making it easy and seamless for agents and customers alike.

business woman talking

GWA has scaled the NICE CXone platform across its operational regions—Australia, New Zealand, and the UK—onto one global, standardized platform, uniting its nearly-70 agents in three contact centers under one system that handles a half-million interactions every year. Adopting the robust CXone cloud solution has enabled the company to now provide a consistent experience to customers in all three countries, boosting both customer and agent satisfaction. Agents have real confidence in the CXone technology, and the company’s current hybrid work model emphasizes flexibility and work-life balance by enabling them to work at home, in a contact center, or in some other remote location.

Customers, too, have responded positively to the newly deployed chat option (It has exceeded expectations, WGA says) and will soon be able to engage with WGA through the popular messaging platform WhatsApp. With CXone, WGA can do a full 360-degree review of every customer interaction and leverage tools like sentiment analysis to provide real-time feedback to agents. The metrics show that customers are noticing the heightened responsiveness and streamlined service: WGA has seen a 50% reduction in wait times and hang-ups, which it credits largely to the ability to get the right agent to the right customer the first time.

smiling successful hipster

Says Alex Larson, GWA’s General Manager – Technology and Transformation: “With our NICE CXone implementation, every process across our operations is changing, and it’s quite an exciting time for GWA. …Most companies would only ever dream of what we’re achieving this year.” Read more about GWA Group's journey with CXone.

Nine: ‘Keeping the lights on’ (and growing revenue) with CXone

Meanwhile, a very different kind of a company— the go-to source in Australia for broadcast news, mastheads, and subscription services that include The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age—has been tackling its own challenges. In the early weeks of the pandemic, media powerhouse Nine faced skyrocketing interactions in its contact center, as it moved agents home and wrestled with an attrition rate of 90 percent. The 60-plus Customer Service Center agents handle more than 500,000 interactions a year—phone, email, live chat, and web—working seven days a week.

Nine devised a plan of action around its mission, employee experience, leadership actions, and technology as a driver of change. Central to the plan was the integrated CXone cloud contact center platform. The company’s leaders knew that refocusing its mission and improving employees’ experience would lead to better employee engagement, which in turn, would impact service center performance. Technology would help make it all happen.

employee engagement

They weren’t wrong: CXone’s flexibility and user-friendliness helped cut attrition by 55% and raise engagement by 8%. Call transfers, a drain on employee performance and morale, were reduced by nearly 70%, thanks to a streamlined IVR. Equally important has been the ability to provide agents real-time performance feedback through CXone Quality Management and critical insights from post-call customer surveys through the use of CXone SatMetrix—both of which have garnered positive responses from agents.

Nine says its overall approach to the contact center and agents has changed enormously: Interviewing potential employees has given way to auditioning; onboarding, coaching, and performance management have all changed, as have how career opportunities are created and how interactions are routed and handled. Fine-tuning contact center systems and unleashing agents’ potential are ongoing processes, all with the goal to deliver the best customer and agent experience. Digitally-led experience is a high priority, says Nine’s Director of Customer Service Rich Rose. “But you ALWAYS need awesome humans available to assist customers—that will never go away.”

motivation personal development career

Nine’s plan for improvement was also built around the belief that customer satisfaction and revenue would follow if the right changes were made for agents and operationally. Once again, their assumptions proved correct: Net Promoter Score, or NPS, increased over 20%, and revenue grew 18%—all during the pandemic! Rose gives Cxone credit: “Without the CXone platform and its flexibility, we wouldn’t have been able to move the agents to work from home or quickly make updates to the IVR. CXone enabled us to keep the lights on.”

Learn more about Nine's experience on the CXone platform and the results it’s achieved.

Real-world benefits for RAC WA

The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC) is the “driving force for a better Western Australia,” guided by the needs of its members and the WA community. In the midst of implementing a program of “cloud-first” digital transformation (DX) and technology modernization across its organization, RAC realized it also needed a new contact center solution. RAC’s 750 contact center agents provide phone, email, chat, mail and social media support 24/7 from six different business units, three main contact centers, and 10 member service centers in Western Australia. Converting to a new solution during the pandemic would add a layer of complexity to the process but would prove to be well worth it.

Struggling with the complexities of an outdated system, RAC’s key goals included simplification through reduced customization and improving members’ experience and satisfaction. Another key motivator? Empowering employees to work from anywhere in the world—engaged, productive, and efficient— during the pandemic and beyond. A key driver: NICE’s CXone Contact Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) cloud-based solution.

Simplification was a continuing theme in RAC’s adoption of CXone, from the user-friendly CXone interface for agents to a drastic reduction in IVR scripts (nearly 90% of the old system’s scripts were eliminated) to even reducing the number of servers it needed to maintain and manage. In fact, RAC was able to decommission 55 servers!

hand drawing conceptual diagram

But realizing that parts of the system would still need to be customized to accommodate various areas of the business, RAC discovered that with CXone, you can have it both ways. “CXone has the dual benefit of being completely customizable, but you can also use it right out of the box,” says Croyden McLennan, RAC Product Owner.

With CXone, RAC is enjoying improved scalability and agility—with no negative impacts on the customer experience. Omnichannel was especially important to RAC in being able to provide seamless experiences across channels for both members and agents. Agents now have key information at their fingertips to more effectively help customers. Likewise, insights and data from CXone Quality Management enhance agent engagement and productivity and ultimately, the member experience, by keeping everybody informed, from agents to senior management, on performance and enabling changes to be made in real-time.

customer experience concept happy business

Croyden McLennan sums it up: “CXone is fantastic. It’s an amazingly simple solution that’s easy to learn. But it also has advanced functionality that’s available whenever we need it. It’s a great platform.” Want to know more about RAC’s CXone experience? Click here.

2degrees: Cracking the happiness code while disrupting an industry

Then there’s the NICE CXone customer in New Zealand—2degrees—that achieves growth and success by devoting significant attention and resources to its contact center within a company culture that is both customer-centric and employee-centric. 2degrees—even the company name reflects the connectedness of New Zealanders—is a full-service telecommunications company that delivers best-in-class broadband and mobile services to consumer and business customers across New Zealand. The company has taken on larger, more established competitors by being laser-focused on doing what’s right for customers (and employees) and on enjoying the journey along the way.

The company’s 300 contact center specialists handle more than 140,000 interactions a month. The two centers—in Auckland and Christchurch—used to be part of a bifurcated system: One handled the mobile business, the other, broadband. But two completely different systems, including IVRs and ACDs, did not lend itself to a cohesive customer experience and hindered specialists from providing exceptional service. When it was time to overhaul its contact center systems, the cloud—and NICE CXone—won the day and has helped keep 2degrees winning every day since.

CXone’s functionality, performance monitoring, and omnichannel capabilities have all have boosted specialists’ engagement and performance, leading to enhanced customer experience and satisfaction. The proof is in the numbers: 2degrees has improved its service levels by 44% and average speed of answers by 35%. Average email response time has improved by an impressive 89%. Streamlined self-service options through the IVR have been a major contributor to “containing” 75% of calls from mobile customers—important to both customer and agent satisfaction.

businessman hand working finances

2degrees leadership has always known that employee engagement is a key driver of performance—and nowhere is this more true than in the contact center, which sits at the heart of the customer experience and relationship. Tracy Duthie, Head of Service Development and Support, lists advantages 2degrees has realized with CXone, including increased efficiency, team optimization, and reduced labor and operating costs—a boost to the bottom line. Omnichannel and CXone Quality Management have been game-changers, as has the newfound visibility facilitated by CXone Performance Management’s real-time reporting. Certainly not least, CXone’s ease of use continues to boost customer and agent satisfaction. See how 2degrees continues to leverage technology and boost customer and agent experiences.

Auckland Council: Future-focused in the new normal

As the largest territorial authority in New Zealand, Auckland Council provides a vast array of municipal services for Aucklanders—everything from recycling to parks and recreation to property valuations. Its 500 contact center agents, 30% of whom have traditionally worked remotely, handle 1.5 million diverse and complex interactions annually.

Growing and increasingly more complex customer service demands meant that its contact center operation required leading-edge, future-focused technology. The council needed an omnichannel platform—digital channel choices and self-service options for customers—as well as the ability to make changes and enhancements to the system autonomously—quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. 

When it moved its contact center to the integrated CXone cloud platform, the impacts were evident almost immediately in terms of savings in time and money. The call abandonment rate fell by 7%. There have been significant gains in productivity, and most importantly, customers are finding less friction: It’s much easier for them to interact with the council.

Agents can easily work across email and phone channels, which has made them more efficient and has contributed to a 24% improvement in customer satisfaction. Having a single view of customer information readily available on their desktops has streamlined the process, which has helped boosted agent engagement and empowered their ability to help customers with complex interactions.

business woman braid hair holding smart

Interestingly, Auckland Council had pioneered a work from home program back in 2017, which at the time, was a natural outgrowth of consolidating its previous five councils and contact centers. But like the rest of the world, the council moved 100% of its agents home in early 2020; nearly 90% remain working remote today. With CXone, agent productivity has increased during this, and they haven’t missed a beat in providing seamless experiences to customers.

In this new normal, change is a constant and contact centers that thrive have technology that enables them to be agile and adaptable, flexible, and scalability. And they’re future-proofed—a key priority for Auckland Council, according to Dave Riches, Manager of Business Excellence. “Our customers’ expectations are continuing to change, and [in CXone] we have a solution that supports our future requirements. CXone has the maturity and innovation to serve us as we grow. We never imagined having a conversational IVR or chatbot available to us. They were a pipe dream. But with CXone, we’re now trialing that type of functionality… CXone helps us provide the best possible customer experience for Aucklanders now and into the future.”

Read on for more about Auckland Council's journey with CXone and its roadmap to the future.

NICE CXone continues to support the evolving technology needs of organizations of all types in Australia and New Zealand. Learn more about usand how we can help yours, too.