Have you ever been one click away from shelling out $100 or more for concert tickets only to abandon your shopping cart? You really wanted the tickets, but there were one or two questions nagging at you. It’s almost midnight and there’s no customer support available, so you close the browser and head to bed.
Ticketmaster has partnered with Inbenta specifically to help folks like you get all the information needed to complete the ticket purchase and go enjoy that concert. Phil Jennings, Ticketmaster International’s Vice President of Contact Centres, knows you want a quick, consistent way to get answers and he knows you don’t like calling customer support or hunting around through FAQs.
That’s where self-service technology comes in. At this year’s Intelligent Assistants Conference in New York, hosted by Opus Research, Jennings showcased the Inbenta solution used on their international site in Turkey. Ticketmaster’s business model is a perfect use case for intelligent assistants (aka virtual agents). Since they sell tickets to highly popular events, and since those tickets can sometimes sell out in under an hour, Ticketmaster’s customer support structure has to handle dramatic spikes in customer requests.
To offer customers spike-proof digital self-service, Ticketmaster Turkey uses Inbenta’s intelligent assistant solution. Inbenta leverages its proprietary semantic search engine to retrieve answers from a comprehensive knowledgebase built using Ticketmaster’s information. What makes the Ticketmaster implementation even more intriguing is the use of Inbenta’s avatar technology.
If you’re in the process of a making a ticket purchase and you need questions answered, you click the very visible “Need help?” link at the bottom right of the screen and in walks Veronica, Inbenta’s animated avatar. Veronica is a conversational agent that you talk to by entering questions into a text box. She uses Inbenta’s natural language processing engine to comprehend your question and provide links to all the most relevant answers. You never have to leave the web screen you’re on.
If you’re on the website during normal business hours and Veronica doesn’t have an answer, she can hand you off to a live customer care agent. The human agent can see what you’ve already asked Veronica and easily pick up the thread. Human agents can even leverage the Inbenta semantic search engine to aid them in quickly finding answers to customer questions.
How important is the actual avatar to the self-service experience? Jennings doesn’t have hard data yet to support his theory, but he thinks the avatar creates a more engaging interaction for the customer. The avatar certainly draws attention. One of Jennings’ primary goals is to reduce customer effort, and the avatar is a step in that direction.
The data that Jennings does have shows that since implementing the technology, the number of people who engage with the avatar and then proceed to complete a ticket purchase is going up. This result is leading to an overall uptick in conversion rates. To ensure the system is always getting better, Inbenta’s solution captures data on the backend for Ticketmaster’s team to analyze. This information helps the team understand which questions Veronica isn’t answering well enough, so they can add information to make her smarter.
Jennings said in his talk that businesses are under increasing pressure to service customers digitally. With Inbenta’s intelligent assistant and avatar technologies, Ticketmaster is doing its best to stay ahead of that pressure and reduce customer effort. It will certainly be interesting to observe how Inbenta’s conversational avatar technology evolves and how savvy organizations like Ticketmaster leverage it to drive customer value.