Canadian Blood Services is a non-profit charitable organization that provides lifesaving products and services in transfusion and transplantation for Canadian patients. It also safeguards Canada’s systems of life essentials in plasma, stem cells, organs and tissues. Canadian Blood Services assumed stewardship of the national blood system in 1998 and now has 4,000 staff and 17,000 volunteers across Canada.
The Results in Numbers
– 70% chats routed to the bot
– 68% bot chats resolved
– 16 second wait time
In September 2018, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) launched Comm100 Live Chat on their site to help them connect with their digital-first customers and increase appointment bookings by providing helpful and accessible support. Within months of launching, CBS had 60 agents, over 7000 chats per month, with a much-improved CSAT score of 4.5 out of 5.
Read the full story – Comm100 Live Chat Helps Canadian Blood Services Connect with Digital-First Customers – Pt. 1
While the effectiveness and popularity of Comm100 Live Chat was clear, Canadian Blood Services knew that their operations could be made even more efficient with the introduction of a well-designed chatbot.
Searching through their live chat conversation history, Denny Michaud, Customer Relations Manager, found that much of their agents’ time was being spent answering simple and low value queries, or directing customers to answers within their website’s knowledge base.
While it was still crucial to support donors with answers to these questions, Denny recognized that agents’ time could be better spent on the many higher value and more complicated queries. CBS live chat agents also divided their time between several channels including email, social media, and outbound phone calls, so time saved on live chat could also be diverted to these other channels.
To solve this challenge, Comm100 worked closely with Canadian Blood Services to design and build an AI Chatbot to handle the simpler, lower value questions, giving their agents more time to focus on more complex issues.
For us, the chatbot wasn’t launched to reduce agent headcount. It was launched so our agents can spend less time on simple queries, and more on the complicated and high-value queries.
Canadian Blood Services launched their chatbot in November 2020, setting it up in less than a month with help and guidance from Comm100’s Applied AI Manager, Cale Shapera.
The chatbot is equipped to handle all the basic, common queries that were previously taking up so much of the agents’ time. Today, more than 70% of all live chat queries are directly routed to the chatbot, and of these, 68% are resolved without any human interaction.
This allows CBS agents to allocate much more of their time to helping more complex or sensitive queries, as well as other customer service tasks. Chat duration has increased as a result of this. While industry standards would suggest this is a negative consequence, Denny explained to us why it means the very opposite for his team:
Our average chat length increased after implementing Comm100 Chatbot – but this is exactly what we expected, and hoped for! Longer chat duration shows us that our agents are dealing with more complex questions and are having more meaningful conversations with our donors. Donor experience is so important to us – every conversation matters, and the last thing that we want to see are rushed conversations that could come across like we don’t care. It's thanks to Comm100 Chatbot that we can give more time and care to our donors.
As well as providing more meaningful conversations, CBS can now provide 24/7 support – an otherwise prohibitively expensive and logistically challenging offering. Wait times have also decreased to only 16 seconds as the chatbot handles unlimited simultaneous chats and the agents have less chats to handle, making sure that their donors receive fast support.
Consistency of donor experience and messaging was also key to the organization’s strategy, and the pre-determined responses of Comm100 AI Chatbot enhance this.
As with any chatbot, there will always be some questions that it cannot answer. When this occurs, through advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP), the chatbot understands customer intent and routes them to the appropriate department; either to a front-line agent or a nurse. Similarly, if on the rare occasion a donor uses triggers words that indicate they are unhappy with the conversation, the bot will immediately give the donor the option to speak to a human agent.
Finally, by utilizing Comm100’s dynamic routing, if a visitor launches a chat on a certain page, such as their STEM page, the chat will be automatically directed to an agent who specializes in the topic.
“When we first decided to launch the Comm100 Chatbot, we weren’t sure how long it would take, or how complicated it would be. However, it was a quick process, taking less than a month and everything went smoothly.” – Denny Michaud
“Fantastic” support from Comm100
“Our experience setting up Comm100 Live Chat was fantastic, and it was no different implementing our chatbot. The team at Comm100 have been great since the beginning – they respond incredibly quickly to us when we have any questions and have given us a lot of guidance on setting up our chatbot for success. Of vendors we’ve worked with, their support really is up there at the top.” – Denny Michaud
Improved agent experience
“Customer service can be a tough job for frontline agents, so it’s really important for us to make sure that we are doing everything we can to improve their everyday experience. Comm100 Live Chat helps a lot, and the chatbot even more. Before the chatbot, our agents were having to answer the same simple questions over and over again. With a chatbot now handling the vast majority of these questions, this is no longer an issue and our agents feel more engaged and fulfilled in their roles.” – Denny Michaud
With an eye to continually improve their customer service & support, CBS are looking into adding video and audio chat to their Comm100 Live Chat platform. This will give their donors even more choice in how they connect, as well as offering a channel more suitable to personal and sensitive conversations that their nurses often handle.