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MultiChoice hastens call centre automation with AI-powered chatbot

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Pay-TV operator MultiChoice is accelerating the automation of its customer experience, introducing an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot, the Ultimate Master of Information (TUMI), to answer customer queries about products and services.

TUMI, an in-house creation by the MultiChoice team, interacts in real-time with customers in an online or text-based conversation.

The company says TUMI has advanced natural language capabilities, which means the bot can recognise user questions and provide responses with information related to DStv products and services.

MultiChoice says TUMI, launched on 5 May, can clear decoder errors, check balances, reconnect products, make payments, manage holiday home viewing and change viewing packages.

“TUMI is an evolutionary leap in our service capability. Born and developed right here in Africa, TUMI is a tangible manifestation of our commitment to innovation. This is not innovation for its own sake; the focus is to continue to grow our capacity to give our customers an excellent service experience,” says MultiChoice SA CEO Nyiko Shiburi.

“Thanks to TUMI, MultiChoice is in-step with international technology and customer-service trends. TUMI places us at the forefront of customer interaction, providing DStv subscribers with another channel to connect with us.”

MultiChoice adds TUMI is constantly learning and evolving, which means more functionalities will be added over time through feedback, and customers can also help the bot to learn.

Further, the company says, if TUMI is unable to help customers resolve their queries, they will instantly be transferred to a knowledgeable customer service representative for further assistance.

“TUMI currently lives on the DStv Web site and in time, it will live across MultiChoice’s digital ecosystem on DStv Now (Web site and app), Showmax (Web site and app), and Facebook Messenger. TUMI will also act as a concierge to onboard new customers to MultiChoice online-only service, DStv Streaming.”

The enhanced call centre automation comes after the pay-TV company realigned its customer service delivery model, which saw 2 194 of its customer care employees within the call centre and walk-in centres being retrenched.

At the time, MultiChoice said the realignment was in response to the changing behaviour of its customers, who are increasingly moving away from traditional voice calls and visits to walk-in centres, and adopting new self-service and digital technologies to engage with the company.

“This has not been an easy decision to make but, in a business driven by advancing technologies, we must continue to drive efficiencies, yet be agile enough to adapt to evolving customer needs to ensure we remain relevant, competitive and sustainable,” said Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO.

“We must act decisively to align to the change in customer behaviour and competition from OTT [over-the-top] services because if we don’t reposition now, we run the risk of being completely misaligned and we put everyone’s jobs at risk.”

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