Parcelforce Worldwide Selects Eckoh
Parcelforce Worldwide, a UK express carrier, is introducing a new automated customer information line that allows customers to track parcels and change delivery arrangements by phone on a 24-hour, no queue basis. It will provide information using advanced speech recognition and caller identification technologies to recognize repeat callers, anticipate their information requests and offer information about their particular parcels. A further service will be the ability to give customers the option to receive text message alerts giving updates on their parcel's location.
"If a customer calls our information line more than once the system will recognise their phone number, anticipate the parcel they're calling about and offer the relevant delivery status information immediately - no need to key in consignment numbers or repeat information," says Parcelforce's manager for customer service policy, Emma Bailey. "In today's 'just in time delivery' environment, immediate access to up-to-the-minute delivery status information is crucial for many customers, especially those in business. The challenge we have set ourselves is to provide that information in a fast, efficient way by using automated solutions, but without losing the personal touch."
The technology for this service is being provided by Eckoh. The company has developed similar services in association with strategic business partner, BT Global Services for National Rail Enquiries and TD Waterhouse Stockbrokers.
As well as getting information about their parcels, customers who are 'not at home' to receive deliveries, will be able to arrange a second delivery attempt. An early enhancement planned for the service (in autumn this year) will allow customers to purchase a Saturday delivery service or choose delivery to a new address. During office hours, callers will have the option to use the automated service and to speak to a customer service agent about other services.
"We appreciate that some customers will always prefer to speak to someone directly, but, in the vast majority of cases, if the information is clear and the dialogue well designed, they're happy to use an automated system that's faster, more efficient and available 24 hours a day," says Bailey.
Eckoh, and its business partner BT, have entered into a three year agreement to provide automated information services to Parcelforce Worldwide. Eckoh expects to manage in excess of 1 million calls per annum, related to the 46 million international and domestic parcels delivered by Parcelforce Worldwide every year. The service is expected to go-live this summer.