Phonebot "Kolumbus" assists with travel enquiries

Holidays are possible again - but what risks do the DKV tariffs that include cover abroad actually cover with regard to Corona? In order to cope with the flood of telephone enquiries, another phonebot at ERGO in Germany was created in record time: "Kolumbus".

No matter how many calls come in: A phonebot accepts them all, even in parallel - and already helps many callers comprehensively. And if a request is too complex for it, it transfers the call to a human colleague - without them being blocked by the sheer number of calls and the customer having to wait too long in the waiting loop.

This very purpose was also the motive for developing "Kolumbus", DKV's new phonebot: "In our weekly specialist status call on health insurance in the Customer Service Centre, we noticed that customers on the phone recently had a particularly large number of questions on foreign travel health insurance regarding certificates, travel warnings and benefit issues - mostly in connection with Corona," says a colleague from the Customer Service Centre. Enquiries that were also more similar than usual. For comparison: While there were about 600 calls on a typical day in May, this number increased to far more than 1,000 during the holiday season.

Go-live after only one week

As a spontaneous countermeasure, the department not only decided to give the colleagues in the telephony department more information powers so that fewer calls would have to be forwarded internally - it also approached ERGO's Voice & Conversation unit with the idea of another phonebot. The ninth within ERGO in Germany, by the way.

"As we were able to build on existing know-how and proven solutions such as the DKV Phonebot, everything went very quickly," explains Sven Vanoeteren, Voice User Experience Lead Designer: the Customer Service Centre designed the announcement text on Monday, 5 July, the Central Control Unit took care of the routing of the calls - and on Thursday, four days later, "Kolumbus" already went live on the DKV customer service line 0800 3746-444. Since Monday, 12 July, the new colleague has also been there for customers on the international service line 0800 358-3746. Incidentally, the phonebot does not introduce itself by name on the phone - a survey showed that our callers are more pleased when it comes straight to the actual question.

Customers, employees and ERGO benefit

The bottom line is that our colleagues from the Customer Service Centre, together with the voice experts, have developed and made available a solution to an acute problem within just one week - a win-win-win for customers, our colleagues and ERGO alike.

In the next few days, it will now be a matter of evaluating the work of "Kolumbus". Not only on the basis of the number of calls he takes - but also with regard to how many of the customers want to be connected by him.

Text: Florian Ansorge / Ingo Schenk

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