New Zealand Post delivers more than 800 million items of mail each year to 1.9 million homes, businesses, rural delivery addresses, and private boxes. It operates a comprehensive network of postal centers, provides corporate client solutions, and processes approximately 20 million financial transactions each year.
The company employs 8,000 staff and it is a core business of the New Zealand Post Group, which provides banking, insurance, and courier services throughout New Zealand. Delivering a superior customer experience is one of New Zealand Post’s core strategies. As part of this commitment, the company created a customer channels division to provide visibility into all customer interactions across all communication mediums including the company’s website, call center, and social media. The division was charged with providing customer intelligence, customer service metrics, and analysis.
With a customer relationship management (CRM) system based on an outdated Microsoft Visual Basic contact database and an aging call center system, information was fragmented, and New Zealand Post found it difficult to gain a single view of its customers’ multiple interactions, limiting its ability to understand and target value-add products to meet customer needs.
In addition, customers were increasingly interacting with the company via online and self-service channels. During 2012, New Zealand Post’s contact center saw 10,000 fewer calls each month while online contact with agents increased threefold from 12,000 interactions per month to 30,000 per month.
New Zealand Post recognized that responding to the growth in online self-service and gaining a single view of customer interaction was critical to the success of its customer experience strategy. It selected Oracle RightNow Cloud Managed Service, Oracle RightNow Chat Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow Dynamic Agent Desktop Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow Email Management Cloud Service, and Oracle RightNow Social Monitor Cloud Service to provide unified desktop visibility into all customer interactions.
The Oracle RightNow suite delivered visibility into customer interactions across all channels, improved agent productivity by 10%, cut e-mail by 10%, reduced chat time from eight minutes to six minutes, enabled performance and channel measurement, and streamlined workforce allocation.
New Zealand Post deployed Oracle RightNow Dynamic Agent Desktop Cloud Service to capture, track, assign, and manage customer interactions across all communication channels including e-mail, chat, phone, and social media in a single desktop. It enabled New Zealand Post’s 130 agents to have a single view of customers’ prior interactions with the company, allowing them to proactively service customer needs and quickly solve queries.
“Before Oracle RightNow, we didn’t have a consolidated record of customer interactions and couldn’t see that a customer who was calling us had also e-mailed us or had used other contact channels,” said Russell Stephens, head of customer channels, New Zealand Post.
“Now, when customers contact us, the interaction is included in their customer record, which agents access through their desktop. If the customer contacts us again, that information can help in solving their inquiry more efficiently,” Stephens said. “An agent is 10% more productive when using Oracle RightNow’s agent desktop, both in answering more contacts, and answering them more efficiently.”
New Zealand Post used Oracle RightNow Email Management Cloud Service’s SmartAssistant functionality to reduce inbound e-mails to agents by providing possible solutions based on the current session history prior to an e-mail inquiry being sent by the customer.
When customers perform a keyword search on the New Zealand Post website, they receive the top five closest matches from the knowledge base. If they feel these matches do not answer their query, they can opt to e-mail an agent for further assistance. The five closest matches reappear for a final customer check before the e-mail is sent. The company found that 10% of customers opt to use these search results and cancel sending the e-mail.
“SmartAssistant is a great example of how a simple piece of technology can change an outcome,” said Stephens. “This functionality has reduced inbound e-mail contacts to agents by 10%, enabling staff to devote that time to answering customer contacts on other channels, and improving our efficiency and response time.”
New Zealand Post decided to use chat as the main communication channel due to the growth of customers using online self-service. Oracle RightNow Chat Cloud Service provides a much faster response time than traditional phone calls by allowing customers to instantly chat through an online portal.
“It takes two seconds, on average, to answer a chat request compared to 22 seconds for a phone call,” Stephens said. “The call-to-chat-ratio is one call to every three chats, so chat is a very effective channel for communicating with customers.”
“With Oracle RightNow and our single view of customer records, we’ve been able to further reduce the handling time for each chat from eight minutes to six minutes.”
By implementing Oracle RightNow, New Zealand Post can see real-time information about each communication channel’s performance, not just specific interactions, for example, customer wait times and handling times for phone calls or online chat. This view enables New Zealand Post to quickly allocate its workforce to serve high-traffic channels as needed and streamline staff scheduling to address predictable contact peaks and troughs.
“One of the most exciting things about Oracle RightNow is that it allows us to measure social media interactions, which we could not do before,” Stephens said. “Now, we can record contact data, such as how many e-mails we received and how long it took us to answer each one. We can see peak times for specific media usage, identify a customer’s contact preferences, and develop service benchmarks based on staff response time.
“We have a real-time view of the customer experience. Information about when and how customers contact us, and the effort required to service those contacts enables us to predict workflow requirements and allocate staff accordingly,” Stephens said.
The ability to monitor social media interactions through Oracle RightNow Social Monitor Cloud Service helps New Zealand Post respond nimbly to inquiries and customer comments made on social media channels, such as Twitter.
“With real-time social media monitoring, we can identify any mentions of New Zealand Post and, where appropriate, respond and resolve the issue. For example, we can engage with customers on Twitter and communicate to a large audience,” Stephens said.
“It’s a great opportunity to solve issues and reach out to our followers and their followers, which is often thousands of people. So, not only is this great for customer experience outcomes, it helps with our reputational management.”
Oracle RightNow solutions help New Zealand Post better understand customer needs and increase strategic opportunities. It can now collect customer intelligence, such as surveys or call center staff feedback, and respond faster to customer needs with increased flexibility.
For example, New Zealand Post’s new YouShop service provides a shipment service for New Zealand residents who purchase items online from a United States (U.S.) retailer that does not deliver overseas. YouShop provides a U.S. address for the item to be sent to, and then delivers it from there to New Zealand.
“We found that customers who use YouShop didn’t want to call us to arrange the post or delivery; they wanted to stay online to complete the entire transaction through Oracle RightNow’s chat service. Understanding how customers prefer to contact us and how they use our channels is helping us to tailor our products and solutions to meet customer needs,” Stephens said.
“We’ve also found that Oracle’s new technology is helping to drive new innovation throughout our business. With YouShop, we experienced a 300% increase in mobile logged-in visits, so mobile functionality and expertise is a huge focus for us—so much so that we’re now investing 30% of our staff resource into mobile channel development.
"Oracle RightNow chat service and social media functionality enables us to interact where online shoppers like to play, and helps us gather insight for further innovation. For example, we are trialing another innovative service called ParcelPod. ParcelPods are lockers for self-service parcel collection for customers who aren’t always home to receive parcels, or can’t have them delivered to work or their apartment. ParcelPod provides an accessible and convenient option for parcel delivery, and Oracle RightNow has helped us develop this concept.” Stephens said.
Implementation was a collaborative process involving the Oracle RightNow project team, Oracle partner Datam, and New Zealand Post.
In mid-2011, New Zealand Post started the build process for the Oracle RightNow implementation. This phase involved six months of requirements gathering and system development prior to deployment. An internal project team worked closely with an Australia- based Oracle RightNow project team that traveled to New Zealand for the final stage of the project. New Zealand Post, working with its implementation partners, then trained 150 system users to ensure rapid adoption and jumpstart proficiency.
“We were comfortable with Datam, and we were comfortable with the Oracle RightNow project team. We agreed on requirements and worked toward them together to deliver a highly successful outcome,” Stephens said.
Datam, a New Zealand Post Group subsidiary, has been the exclusive reseller and partner for Oracle RightNow in New Zealand for the last 10 years, and was involved with developing key customizations across the project. The responsible business unit within Datam is now an Oracle Partner called “CX Applications & Consulting”, and sits within New Zealand Post.
“Datam understands the post business and the customer-centric flexibility delivered by Oracle RightNow, which was invaluable to our implementation,” Stephens said. “Datam played a vital role as the key translator between the business and Oracle RightNow.”