March 31, 2022 – dtac’s Call Center has recently undergone several improvements as part of its commitment to digital transformation, improved customer experience, and digital inclusion. These improvements introduce AI technology and automations where relevant, while continuing to highlight the need for meaningful, human interactions between diverse customers and call center agents.
Virat Jaruchoktaweechai, Head of Customer Call Service Division of Total Access Communication Plc or dtac, said, “Customer service plays an enormous role in business growth. As the frontline of customer service, dtac’s Call Center has rolled out three strategies – automation, human-to-human interactions, and digital inclusion – to meet the needs of an increasingly digital and diverse customer base.”
For starters, the dtac Call Center has developed an AI-powered agent assistant that helps staff pull up relevant customer information with speed and accuracy. As a result, service efficiency has increased by 15%. In addition, the dtac Call Center has also raised its quality of service through an omnichannel call center model, interacting with and helping customers across multiple convenient touchpoints such as SMS, Line, and Facebook Messenger.
Mr. Virat continued, “Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic prompted the dtac Call Center to revolutionize how it operates, moving from a traditional on-premises model to completely virtual, allowing our staff to work from home in accordance with safety and safe-distancing measures, while also ensuring high rates of customer satisfaction.”
The systems for dtac’s virtual call center were developed in collaboration with the Technology Group in October 2019, a few months before Covid-19 hit Thailand. The company fully supports staff with all related equipment, such as laptops and internet services via WiFi dtac@Home. This virtual set-up also allows staff members to work collaboratively and seamlessly with each other, just like they would on premises, through dtac’s Conference system.
Although technology is playing an increasing role in customer service, call center representatives are a vital part of the customer experience and provide meaningful, human-to-human interaction.
According to dtac’s internal data, the top three types of inquiries that call center representatives receive are balance checks, internet package purchases, and complaints and information requests. With its new technological advancements, dtac’s new AI-powered system handles simple inquiries, while human staff engage with more complex questions and complaints. Human and automated services work together to deliver a better customer experience and increase work efficientcy.
Finally, to achieve its digital inclusion mission, as outlined in the company’s vision, dtac has introduced more and more inclusive services to better serve all customer groups. Back in 2015, for example, dtac set up its first call center for the blind, employing 15 visually impaired staff, who have since become permanent staff. More recently, during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis in 2021, the call center leveraged its expertise in a collaboration with Siriraj Hospital, the country’s oldest and largest medical center, to help vulnerable patients access telemedicine services.
Today, the dtac call center can support customers in English, Chinese, Burmese, Cambodian and – starting in 2022 – Thai sign-language. The deaf call center is a collaboration with the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and the National Association of the Deaf in Thailand. The association recruited capable and passionate talent from the deaf community while dtac provided call center agent training as well as set up a fully-functioning call center system.
“The recently-opened sign-language call center is a challenging task as the world of those living with hearing impairment is more complex, and involves high rates of illiteracy. However, we’ll continue to direct the utmost effort to serve them and bring them closer to economic opportunities and social and digital inclusion,” added Mr. Virat.
Communication is Key for Deaf
Withayoot Bunnag, President of the National Association of the Deaf in Thailand, said “Thailand has approximately 400,000 people who have hearing impairment, which can be divided into two groups. One group is those with congenital hearing loss caused by genetics and certain infections during pregnancy such as rubella. The other group comprises those who have become deaf due to accidents, as well as those who struggle to hear below 20 decibels. The numbers of the latter group are soaring.”
In other words, people with hearing impairment or deafness face difficulty in communication. This can impact their access to education and learning formal sign language. Presently, Thailand has a total of 21 schools for the deaf nationwide. Moreover, with a high of cost of education, only a handful of hearing impaired people have bachelor’s degrees, leading to limited employment options. Unemployment rates are high among Thailand’s deaf community, and those who are employed work as vendors, teachers, and blue-collar workers.