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MultiChoice pioneers omnichannel support in South Africa to achieve a 95% customer satisfaction

MultiChoice pioneers omnichannel support in South Africa to achieve a 95% customer satisfaction

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MultiChoice Group (MultiChoice) is an entertainment powerhouse and is Africa’s leading media company. The company is passionate about telling stories that are rooted in the unique cultures of the countries it broadcasts in. Through a combination of services including direct to home satellite television, digital terrestrial television and online video entertainment, it uses the power of storytelling to enrich lives. Roland Naidoo, Head of Operations, MultiChoice, tells Intelligent CIO Africa why the company teamed up with Freshworks to enhance its omnichannel customer service and experience.

Roland Naidoo, Head of Operations, MultiChoice

MultiChoice views itself first and foremost as a customer experience organisation. Today, the company serves around nine million customers in South Africa and over 21 million customers across the African continent.

Getting to the heart of great customer experience

At MultiChoice, everyone, right from the group chairman to the call centre executive has customer experience on their minds. Over the last five years, the company has been on a continuous improvement journey to improve its customer support capabilities. “We had to differentiate between customer service and customer experience,” explained Brendon Emmanuel, Senior Manager – Programme Management, MultiChoice. “These two terms are used interchangeably but are fundamentally different. With customer service, the customer expects you to know how to do your job. Customer experience (CX) means that we go one step beyond what the customer expects. We ensure that the customer journey is simplified, that they don’t have to repeat themselves and that their issues are proactively addressed.”

The team at MultiChoice posed a very straightforward question to itself: “What can we do better for our customers?” Ultimately, the answer to this boiled down to providing its customers with the same experience across all customer service channels – in other words, delivering an omnichannel experience.

Roland Naidoo, Head of Operations, MultiChoice, said: “My team and I realised that when a customer contacts an agent, whether it’s a human or digital interaction, they’re looking for consistency, a quick turnaround time and the right answer every time. Omnichannel was the best way to achieve this.”

Building a seamless omnichannel support journey

MultiChoice has been a true visionary in leading the charge for omnichannel support. It was, in fact, one of the earliest adopters of omnichannel on the continent. When evaluating solutions that could bring its vision to life, the team had clear expectations. The company needed a platform that could: consolidate each of the multi-channel touch points into a fully integrated channel agnostic helpdesk, track the entire customer journey so that the agent could gain a 360-degree view of the customer, easily integrate with all other platforms and tools already in use so employees didn’t have to jump between tools to answer a query and offer a simple, intuitive user interface (UI) at a cost-effective price.

According to MultiChoice, Freshworks’ impressive suite of solutions made it a clear winner. The company now uses Freshdesk Support Desk, Freshdesk Messaging and Freshservice to link every stage of its customer support journey. Naidoo, who was awarded the Global Change Architect of the Year award for pioneering innovation in CX, believes that this omnichannel view has been critical in preemptively engaging with customers and resolving issues before they even crop up.

“The omnichannel journey is not a simple or easy one to conceive and execute. The great thing about this collaboration is the flexibility of Freshworks to adapt to the MultiChoice journey and co-create the customer roadmap. The team not only sells customer experience but lives it. We have been able to achieve an incredible amount in very short spaces of time, pulling everything together into one customer service view with Freshworks and being able to integrate with just about any other service capability,” said Naidoo.

Consolidating every stage of support within a single UI

The MultiChoice team’s goal from day one has been to create a single UI that provides the customer’s details and history, allows agents to perform transactions and ultimately solve the issue within a single dashboard. To that effect, it has brought its existing telephony solution and queue management system (Qmatic) within Freshdesk. T.U.M.I. In addition, the team’s in-house AI-powered chatbot, is integrated with Freshdesk so that agents can view a customer’s entire history of conversations within the tool. In the back end, Freshdesk is integrated with the customer relationship management (CRM) to enrich the database. Internally, Freshdesk and Freshservice have been linked to enable agents to escalate tickets to various departments if needed.

So, what does this integrated setup look like in action? If, for example, a customer who has been disconnected is contacting the support team, the AI pseudo-prediction model deciphers that the customer probably wants to know how much to pay, when to pay, or when they’re going to be reconnected. The prediction model is integrated with Freshdesk and offers these insights to the agent, along with the customer’s billing history and due date. Within Freshdesk, the agent can see if the customer has interacted with them at any other touchpoint. If the customer has sent an email and raised a ticket through a walk-in at the store, the agent can merge both to avoid duplication. In cases where it’s out of the agent’s capabilities to help the customer, the ticket gets escalated to Freshservice and routed to the concerned department. Once that department resolves the ticket, it is reflected within Freshdesk and the communication is sent out to the customer.

Delivering customer delight across channels

The omnichannel ecosystem has delivered real tangible results for MultiChoice in five key areas:

First-contact resolution: Since switching to omnichannel, first contact resolution increased from 69% to 94%. The MultiChoice team has invested heavily in creating a Natural Language Understanding system to ensure that agents are well-trained. Agents also have access to an agent assist tool that can provide them with the most suitable solutions for a customer’s query. “This approach isn’t document heavy,” Naidoo said. “It’s not a knowledge repository per se, it’s simple, interactive and gives you the right answer every time.”

Average handle times: The average handle time has improved by around 10%. One of the features that contributed to this achievement is the ability to group tickets based on the issue. Citing an example, Emmanuel explained that: “When it’s raining, most of the tickets that are raised are about signal issues. The service desk team receives it as a single ticket. When they solve it, they solve all 50 or so tickets in a single shot.”

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores: Faster resolution times and accurate responses have led to a steep improvement in CSAT. The average CSAT now stands at over 95%.

Support channel distribution: Opening up a wider range of support channels has led to a higher adoption in more cost-effective channels. “Around seven years ago, call-centres accounted for around 80% of all incoming queries. Today, it’s actually swung the other way and 80% of queries come in through digital channels,” observed Naidoo.

Proactive issue resolution: Every single ticket that comes in is tagged and categorised based on different phases of the customer journey. “The categorisation of ticket properties helps us gain a bird’s-eye view of which part of the journey our customers face the most issues in. For example, is it the exploration phase, the payment phase or the support phase? This allows us to identify recurring issues and solve problems before they happen,” added Emmanuel.

The MultiChoice team attributes these impressive results to two things: the maturity of Freshworks’ solutions and the customer-first philosophy of the organisation. “We don’t believe in tech for tech’s sake,” Naidoo pointed out. “For us, it was about understanding the common thread between what our customer needs, what our agents need and what our business needs. We were then able to customise and configure Freshworks’ solutions to set up technical instances that could really wow our customers.”

The future of customer experience

MultiChoice continues to be a trailblazer in delivering superior customer experience. For its next chapter, the company plans to go deeper into AI and bot assistance through predictive customer engagement. Emmanuel said: “This will help us tap into real data sources to quickly and efficiently expand our support operations, while keeping an eye on future growth opportunities.”

“The omnichannel experience for us has been a revelation. We don’t see it as multiple channels, we see it as a single channel located in different places. This helps us provide consistently high-quality support at every customer touch point,” said Naidoo.

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