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Vodafone receives RPA accolades at 2020 AI Breakthrough Awards

26 Aug 2020

Vodafone has been recognised for its innovations in robotic process automation at this year’s 2020 AI Breakthrough Awards.

The Awards, which celebrate achievements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), includes categories such as robotic process automation (RPA), business intelligence and analytics, robotics, virtual reality, biometrics, gaming, and several others.

The Robotic Process Automation Innovation Award recognises how a company applies innovative problem solving to offer a better customer experience.

Vodafone New Zealand head of digital tools and service COE, Mark Fitzgerald, says the company has been exploring how technology can enhance the customer experience and enhance productivity.

Vodafone is recognised for its work programme within its customer operations team, in which 58 robots worked over a one-year period to identify and fix potential customer issues. The robots have been deployed to:

  • Activate phone numbers for large businesses: Using AI tools to provision bulk lots of mobile numbers (MSISDNs) for large Enterprise and Government customers to save time and reduce mistakes. Previously one agent could process 70 numbers in one day - while a robot can transfer thousands overnight as well as check for duplicates or errors.
  • Offer online credit payments: An automated process was developed so customers could process credits owing via an online form, which is faster and reduces the margin for error.
  • Check the ‘do not reply’ inbox: Despite coming from a ‘donotreply’ email address, approx. 5,000 emails each week are sent to unmonitored email accounts. Using AI, a robot was built to do keyword searches to identify a range of common customer issues and solve them proactively.

“Our RPA Squad has been incredibly effective in identifying and resolving reoccurring customer issues - while also reducing time-consuming, data-heavy tasks to free our teams up to focus on solving the more complex customer problems that really need human intervention,” says Fitzgerald.

“An added bonus is AI-powered robots can process complex data sets overnight. By building these robots, our tech teams estimate they have saved an estimated 160,000 hours to reassign to other more complex tasks.”

Other winners in the robotics process automation category include Blue Prism (Award for Best Robotic Process Automation Company), and Ripcord (Best Robotic Process Automation Solution).

Vodafone New Zealand has also been named as a finalist in the CX Awards 2020 Best Use of Technology to Revolutionise CX category. 

Vodafone partnered with IBM in a year-long project to implement AI and automation technologies. IBM is also a finalist in the ‘Best CX Partner (Technology or Advisory)’ category for its work.

“Over the past year, we’ve been incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies from IBM within our customer-facing and back-end network operations to provide an enhanced experience for New Zealanders,” says Vodafone New Zealand operational support and automation manager Amy Oding.

“It’s great to see this customer-focused innovation recognised in these awards and we’re grateful to IBM for their support in enabling this solution. We’re continuing to foster our passion for future innovation by growing predictive network operations and strengthening our team’s AI capabilities.”

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