Fisher & Paykel looks to AI for customer experience

June 7, 2017

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is the future for improving customer experience, according to home appliances manufacturer Fisher & Paykel.

As a result, the New Zealand-based company is following up its cloud computing overhaul by looking into implementing both AI and self-learning systems to personalise some of its customer touch points, Rudi Khoury, former GM of customer experience and current GM of global sales at Fisher & Paykel, told ZDNet.

"We're seeing automatic chatbots through Facebook coming up, AI live agents that are able to respond to 80 percent of enquiries without needing a human. I can see that really taking off in the next five years for sure," Khoury said.

Fisher & Paykel has already improved its customer experience by overhauling its IT systems and moving them to the cloud, according to Khoury.

Two years ago, the company was burdened by siloed customer data, which led to the delivery of disjointed and frustrating post-purchase customer experiences.

The company admitted that its customers' information was scattered across 16 legacy systems, which meant that whenever customers contacted the company, its agents lacked the contextual knowledge -- such as who the customer is and their purchase history -- to service them in an efficient manner.

Meanwhile, customers had no visibility over what their interactions with the company would result in.

"We realised that we had to do better at customer experience, because that's where businesses can really win or lose," said Khoury.

In addition, Fisher & Paykel's old field service system, which managed delivery, installation, and repairs, was also disjointed, with field service agents having to enter duplicate information into multiple systems.

"Our own people were struggling with the vast amount of tools and data that they've got in the organisation," Khoury said. "And then, to make it even worse, when we did need to get one of our own employees out to a customer's home, we said to them 'you have to wait at home for half the day'. That's when we realised we really needed to do something and to change."

Reaching an inflection point, the home appliances manufacturer brought in consultancy firm Bluewolf to help it structure and execute the initial phases of its "digital transformation".

Over a 20-day sprint, Bluewolf connected Fisher & Paykel's CRM information to Salesforce Service Cloud, then integrated it with field service software ClickWorkforce, providing the company with a better view of its customers' profiles and post-purchase journey.

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