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Fjellinjen improves customer service with robots

When toll rates are changed in the toll ring around Oslo, the customer center at Fjellinjen knows that the number of inquiries from customers will increase. One of the measures that was recently introduced is that the customer center has automated the processing of 2,000 e-mails every month – the robots have taken over. This frees up time for customer service to assist more customers, process inquiries faster, and spend time on matters that require individual assessment. The quality of case processing also improves. 

A challenge
Fjellinjen had a general desire to rationalize work processes and offer better and faster customer service. The customer center processes a large number of inquiries every year, and a lot of time is spent for manual processing and updating various systems. When toll rates change, traffic to the call center sees a huge increase. An example from the fall of 2017 saw traffic to the website increase from 4,000 daily visitors to 12,000. Inquiries by phone and e-mail also increased. In order to deal with such traffic fluctuations, new hands were hired at the customer center. In addition, Fjellinjen wanted to find out if any of the tasks that were carried out every day could be handled in a more efficient manner.

Many of the customer inquiries to Fjellinjen result in manual work. They may be simple inquiries concerning orders that need to be investigated and reconciled with older systems without modern interfaces or the possibility of integration with other solutions. A large number of the activities could have been processed automatically, such as signing up and registering new customers and changing vehicle registration numbers or addresses for existing customers.

 

Efficient customer service
Fjellinjen entered into dialogue with EVRY with an open mind and a desire to rationalize the customer interface. Some priorities were already set, including a desire to achieve an immediate effect and a requirement to retain technical knowledge and ownership of the project in Fjellinjen. In other words, outsourcing services was not on the table.

A cross-sectional team was established with a stated goal of finding new solutions for effective customer service. EVRY’s own customer center, which has employed several different technical solutions for automation and efficient case processing, became involved in the project. Under EVRY’s leadership three workshops were held on the areas review, opportunities and solutions. The review of the current situation included a review of tasks and time spent, while an evaluation of opportunities entailed a technology-neutral assessment of alternative solutions.

As the process progressed, it soon became clear that an automation of selected routine tasks would have a significant and rapid impact. It was decided to start a pilot project where software robots would take over defined routine tasks for Fjellinjen’s customer center.
Automates manual work

The robots perform tasks in the same systems as the staff at the customer center and now handle around 2,000 e-mail inquiries every month. The inquiries handled by the software robots concern changes to customer profiles such as updating addresses or vehicle registration numbers and registration of new customers. The technical solution is called Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and is based on software from UiPath. Services related to consulting, quality assurance, workshop management and project management were also a part of the delivery.

Call center manager Richard Vogt with Fjellinjen is very pleased with how quickly the customer center has seen the effect of automation.
- “We chose to start with a pilot to assess possibilities and results. Now the plan is to extend the solution to include more tasks so that we can rationalize further. Our goal is that when all the robots are implemented and the automation is in full operation, we will have automated 50,000 e-mail inquiries a year. This amounts to a third of all e-mail that arrives at Fjellinjen,” Richard Vogt says.

- “With the robots, we are at the forefront of technology, and that’s where we want to be. The customer center aims to provide customers with the best possible service, while at the same time we are rationalizing operations and increasing revenue for our owners. We appreciate the advice we have received in the collaboration with EVRY. We experienced certain minor challenges to start off related to existing systems, but these were handled fast and always with a proposed solution. Now we’re looking at the possibility of continuing and extending collaboration,” Vogt concludes. 

About Fjellinjen

Fjellinjen AS is owned by the City of Oslo (60%) and Akershus county municipality (40%), has approximately 590,000 customer and registers around 113 million toll passes per year. Fjellinjen’s vision is to simplify travel and it is proud to have contributed to the development of the region for 26 years. Many important road and public transport projects in the Oslo and Akershus region are fully or partly funded by tolls. In 2016 Fjellinjen contributed around NOK 2.4 billion to road and public transport projects, funds that have contributed to the new Kolsås metro line and urban development in Bjørvika. All employees of Fjellinjen work in accordance with the principles simple, helpful and correct.