Celcom partners Microsoft to enhance customer service
By Kiranjit Kaur Sidhu June 5, 2018
- Ink MOU on technology, SMEs, workplace solutions and recruitment
- Investment above US$251,175 to enhance digital customer experience
IN AN effort to achieve its digital transformation goals, Celcom Axiata Bhd is working together with Microsoft Malaysia to enhance customer service. On June 1, Celcom introduced its two virtual agents powered by Microsoft’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.
As a technology company, the managing director of Microsoft Malaysia, K. Raman said, “Our investments in AI have real world impact to create a more inclusive and accessible world, solve problems and help improve how we live.”
Both companies also took the opportunity to ink a memorandum of understanding announcing a strategic partnership comprising of four key pillars namely: Use of Emerging Technologies, Joint Go-To-Market for Small Medium Businesses, Modern Workplace Solutions and Joint Recruiting Activities.
In addition to providing a wider repertoire of digital solutions to their business customers and staff through this partnership, the companies also hope to collaborate in attracting digital talent.
“While most companies out there are competing against each other to hire digitally-skilled people, we want to work together with Microsoft by organising hackathons and drawing in talent,” says Celcom Axiata chief executive officer Michael Kuehner.
Partnership brings virtual agents to life
Named Clive and Emma, the customer service virtual agents are said to have a personal and humanised touch in conversing with consumers. Integrated with natural language processing capabilities, the companies hope to offer a more natural chat experience instead of static and pre-scripted interactions.
“Clive and Emma will be able to meet the needs of today’s customers, who are becoming more tech savvy, and give them the best response possible at any time, wherever they are,” Kuehner says.
Although Celcom did not provide an exact figure of its digital investment, the chief customer service and experience officer of Celcom, Rene Werner confirmed that the amount is within the range of RM1 million to RM5 million.
However, he adds that it is only an initial investment which will be added to as the digital journey progresses. “As we scale up, we will add more functionality and elements,” shares Werner.
As of now, the virtual agent service is available in English and a combination of Bahasa Malaysia and English but Celcom hopes to expand to more local languages in due time.
Addressing concerns of job displacement among Celcom’s customer service agents as a result of this technology, Werner allays fears and says no downsizing will occur. “As a result of our growing customer base in the past few years, we have hired more and more staff to meet demand. This technology will allow them to focus on more challenging enquiries and problems.”
Sharing the reason behind the names of the virtual agents, Werner says, “The name Clive is actually personal to us as it is derived from Celcom Live.”
As for Emma, he shares that the name ‘Aisyah’ was initially chosen for a more localised flavour but was then replaced. “Our team decided that Emma is a more modern local name that would appeal to our customers,” says a smiling Werner.