CIEE (Centro de Integração Empresa-Escola) is a Brazilian non-profit whose objective is to help students access internship programs in private companies across the country.
Before the quarantine, CIEE had three operations centers in Brasilia, Fortaleza and São Paulo. But they decided to move to remote work in March in order to safeguard employee health. Read their story.
A change in strategy
CIEE has over 600 employees who do student recruitment work, interacting daily with thousands of students over the phone, email and their website. Because of the pandemic (and like most companies), at the beginning of March 2020, CIEE put health first and chose the now-common remote work setup.
This is why their entire customer service strategy also had to be modified. How could they ensure service continuity in such an uncertain situation?
AI: You’re hired!
Conversational AI came to CIEE in less-than-ideal circumstances, but their audience was more than ready. Since students are the company’s main audience (i.e. millennials and centennials), moving the service to digital channels was a welcome change.
Monica Batista Vargas de Castro, Operations Manager at CIEE, said: “I think digital channels are here to stay. They were already a trend that was going to settle naturally, but the pandemic led many companies to anticipate and implement it in their action plan. And I think it’s a very efficient way to give customers new experiences.”
To complement and ease the number of inquiries and customer service agent workload, the company chose to implement an AI chatbot
with 24/7 support across their digital channels.
But really, the main challenge was automating the service without neglecting the human, personal and empathetic factors that are part of the experience. In other words, being in step with students and “speaking their language,” as Monica explains.
“When we talk about training a bot, it first seems like a mechanical and impersonal task. But it’s nothing like that. With all the tools it has, it’s possible to personalize the service.”
Monica Batista Vargas de Castro | Operations Manager at CIEE
The entire process of digital channel automation and migration to remote work took about 15 days, including training the team on content management and bot training and implementation.
In just two months, the chatbot had already resolved more than 16,000 interactions in a record time of 0:01:13. At a time when a speedy response is more valuable than ever, shortening service times is a top priority to offer better support.
Another great result was when interactions took place. Before the pandemic, students could only contact the organization on weekdays. But the bot showed their audience's huge demand to connect on their own schedule.
A good amount of these 16,000 interactions CIEE had in the first two months happened on Saturdays and Sundays. This meant CIEE could provide support outside of business hours, immediately and 24/7, adapting to their students' way of communicating and not the other way round. Thanks to the conversational bot, students don't have to wait until Monday to get an answer.
Plus, only 10% of inquiries were transferred to customer service agents. This shows the bot could automate and answer 90% of user questions. It also shows just how much their audience could adapt.
“We're really satisfied with these numbers.This information is very significant because it shows we made the right decision and that we're on the right track,” Monica explains.
Metrics and reports: The key to improving the future
Having access to metrics is key to see the bot’s performance and discover the most important takeaways from student interactions, something highly beneficial for CIEE. When it comes to artificial intelligence and customer service, good results don’t come magically, but are there because of a team dedicated to understanding what and how to improve.
There was continual monitoring from customer service, looking at every step of the interaction with chatbot users. For Monica, it's a huge difference to be able to constantly improve the content of the bot and thus connect better with users.
“No doubt about it, this tool has been very important for us during this time and it's here to make life easier for us,” Monica concludes.