Business is booming for the Humm Group, with total transactions up by over 30% in the past year – and with growing demand for products comes growing demand for customer care.

The Humm Group’s contact centres have always been busy, and as the business has kept expanding in recent years, they’ve been looking for ways to maintain great customer experiences without overloading their contact centre team.

“We wanted to get customers to self-serve as much as possible,” says Brendon Clark, Head of Workforce Management and Customer Improvement at Humm Group. “So we went out and did a piece of work with Datacom to evaluate opportunities toward self-serve, and identified that a virtual assistant could be good.”

Emm launched in less than 2 months

Humm and Datacom worked to develop a new virtual assistant (VA), with Datacom drawing on the products and expertise of Cognigy, a market leader in conversational AI automation. The project came together surprisingly fast, delivered in a two-month window after a 12-month review programme.

A screenshot of Humm in action
Emm is helping customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is delivering real impact for Humm.

“I would say within a year we got this up and running – but if we were doing this on our lonesome, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” Clark says.

Cognigy was essential to Emm’s rapid delivery, supported by Humm’s down-to-earth approach and Datacom’s technical expertise.

“With Datacom’s guidance, Humm took a very pragmatic approach to the adoption of Emm by starting with a specific, yet important use case,” says Michael Bradley, Cognigy Regional Director, Australia and New Zealand.

The Humm VA launched in early 2022, with a personality and a name of its own. She’s called Emm, she has a topknot of Humm-orange hair, and she’s helping customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For the first three months after the launch, Datacom and Humm worked in parallel to make sure Emm was a success. By learning from Datacom’s expertise, the Humm team is now able to run the VA successfully.

“We like the approach where Datacom teaches us, we learn and then we take on the role of managing it ourselves, rather relying on a managed service.”

A game changer for buy now pay later customers

The VA answers general customer questions – for example, it can help people open or close an account, and explain fees and charges. It’s a perfect first stop for customers and it’s always accessible. In the third quarter of 2022, Emm averaged over 6,700 conversations each month, and, impressively, understood an average of 94% of interactions.

“The VA has been a game changer, especially for buy now, pay later customers,” says Brendon.

“Our surveys have found customers really appreciate the extended service that answers questions when we’re closed. We get queries through at 10 at night and in the early hours of the morning. And even though we’re still in the early stages with the VA and it only provides general information, Emm has a 50% resolution success rate. We were expecting 30%, so this is really pleasing.”

It also has upsides for those at Humm answering the calls.

“Agents can read what the customers have been discussing with the VA and then go straight to a solution. That’s decreased the average handle time for calls – customers are happier, and agents are happier.”

The next steps: expansion and integration

Emm has been Humm’s first foray into the VA arena, but its success means that the team is looking for ways to make more use of its new VA expertise. Humm plans to roll out a Cognigy virtual assistant to other products across its brands, and aims to integrate its VA so customers can link their chat to their own account. This would allow Emm to answer questions about personalised information like balances and due dates, and it would speed up the admin time for agents when the customer is transferred to the call centre.

“Humm has been able to deliver meaningful results and deliver real impact to their customer experience and contact centre,” says Bradley. “We’re excited to be on the journey with Humm through Datacom and really look forward to watching Emm grow through their digital experience.”

Humm plans to keep upskilling its people on how to get the most from Emm, while also looking at other areas of the business that could benefit from additional automation – and Datacom will provide expertise and guidance every step of the way.

“We plan to constantly develop our internal skills, and wouldn’t be able to do it without Datacom by our side,” says Clark.

“Datacom were amazing to work with – everyone was very accommodating to our needs. I think we might be a tricky customer to be honest! There were a lot of things that we wanted and expected, over and above the normal requirements, and Datacom did everything they could to accommodate us. We have a really solid relationship with Datacom and because we trust them, we use them for multiple things in the business.”

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