Friday 29 November – also known as Black Friday – will see e-commerce levels in Ireland reach the stratosphere and ahead of this parcel giant DPD has introduced a new AI chatbot called Barry to help consumers to keep their cool.

DPD Ireland is the largest courier company in Ireland and is a subsidiary of DPD Group which is owned by La Poste, the French Postal Service with an annual turnover of €7.3bn, 38,000 employees and operations across Europe.

With the growth in online retail, deliveries to homes have increased substantially. To handle the growth in its business, DPD has invested heavily to increase parcel handling capacity and will handle in excess of 22m parcels this year.

“We needed a Brexit bot to answer common questions on Brexit which would reduce the volume of queries to the call centre”

DPD Ireland has implemented chatbot solutions that integrates with the company’s digital transformation platform as well as the company’s critical solutions.

From Black Friday to Brexit flextension

“We wanted to use this investment for technologies to make our contact centre run more efficiently by reducing handling call centre time and moving frequently asked questions away from live agents to conversational interfaces,” explains Maeve Dwyer, Head of Customer Service at DPD Ireland. 

“We needed solutions that would allow customers to get access to delivery information and change their delivery details without having to wait for a customer services team member to become available and that would allow for 24 x 7 support for customers.  In addition, we needed a Brexit bot to answer common questions on Brexit which would reduce the volume of queries to the call centre.” 

DPD appointed TEKenable, a Microsoft Gold Partner, to build the chatbots.

TEKenable built the UI (user interface) and integrated it with the Microsoft Cortana Intelligence platform to provide the AI engine and integrated it with DPD’s ERP (enterprise resource planning) and Cention contact centre systems to both query parcel data and transact with the customer.

 ‘Barry’ was the chosen name for the bot and TEKenable used LUIS, Microsoft’s machine learning based service, to build natural language into the chatbot.  Additionally, they used Microsoft Azure Bot Framework which allowed them to speed up project delivery.  Barry is available on the DPD website.

“Barry the Chatbot is allowing us to deliver consistent, personalised service using technology to interact with customers as well as providing them with immediate assistance thus improving customer service and reducing costs,” concludes Maeve. “Barry understands the nuances of customer communications and interacts with the appropriate response, context and personality required. The Brexit Q and A bot is reducing the volume of queries to the DPD call centre.”

Barry has handled in excess of 25pc of the pre-Barry call centre volumes since its inception improving customer service and freeing human agents for higher value conversations.

Main image: Inside the DPD depot in Athlone

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 30 October, 2019

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