【Interview】 NTT Group's Contact Centre adopted NICE Nexidia and Enlighten - what issues were resolved?

NTT Marketing Act ProCX Corporation is a company that supports the design of customer experience (CX) by utilizing expertise cultivated through customer engagement and their advanced call center technologies. In October 2021, NICE concluded Japan's first BPO partner agreement with the company, and by utilizing "Nexidia" and "Enlighten" software provided by NICE, NTT Marketing Act was able to develop a Japanese generic model of quality management and a systematic evaluation scheme. Since then, the company has started providing licenses for "ONE CONTACT Quality Management," Asia's first DX platform for contact center quality management in Japanese, which incorporates a generic Japanese model for management and a systematic evaluation scheme. This initiative has attracted a great deal of attention from the industry, winning the "Best in Technology" category at the 2022 Contact Center Awards. Two key personnel from NTT Marketing Act ProCX and the Vice President of Analytics, AI and Digital at NICE talked about the mutually beneficial partnership between the two companies.

Interviewee Profiles
Mr. Hiroyuki Motoki
ProCX, NTT Marketing Act, Inc.
CX Solution Dept.
Head of Management Division, CX Solution Department
Mr. Motoki is responsible for the overall management of the customer service call center. His responsibilities range from quality control to business development.

Mr. Norihiko Shintani
West Japan Sales Manager, ProCX, CX Solution Department, NTT Marketing Act, Inc.
CX Solution Department, West Japan Sales Manager Mr. Shintani is responsible for sales in the West Japan area. He is in charge of outsourcing proposals, launching new jobs, and developing services.

Mr. Philippe Mercier
Vice President, Analytics, AI and Digital Asia Pacific
Responsible for data analytics and AI-related activities in the Asia Pacific region.

From left: Mr Philippe Mercier (NICE Ltd. – Vice President, Analytics, AI and Digital Asia Pacific), Mr. Norihiko Shintani (NTT Marketing Act, Inc. – West Japan Sales Manager, ProCX, CX Solution Department) and Mr. Hiroyuki Motoki (NTT Marketing Act, Inc. – Head of Management Division, ProCX, CX Solution Department)

AI is an effective way to improve response quality while reducing the burden on employees

A year has passed since the launch of ONE CONTACT Quality Management, what are your thoughts on the partnership between NTT Marketing Act ProCX and NICE?

Mercier: At NICE, we believe that we can help our clients increase their satisfaction by utilizing advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence. Our partnership with NTT Marketing Act ProCX is our first BPO partnership agreement in Asia leveraging such technologies. This partnership is very important for us to jointly develop innovative services for new customers.

NICE: It has been a year since Nexidia/Enlighten was introduced, and we believe that our automated quality management process can be used to improve the performance of our contact center agents and achieve better quality management that will increase client satisfaction.

Please tell us about the reasoning behind NTT Marketing Act ProCX's decision to use NICE's solutions

Motoki: In order to increase customer satisfaction, it is necessary for our contact centers to improve the quality of service. However, our company had been lagging behind in quality response efforts, which we considered to be a great challenge. To improve response quality, a supervisor monitors the call operator's response and coaches them based on their performance. As we are short on manpower, this process takes an enormous amount of time. To solve this problem, we resorted to using AI.

Our company has spent more than 10 years building up expertise in customer service coaching. We wanted to create a system to implement our know-how on a larger-scale and in a more uniformed manner by means of AI. In the past, we tried estimating the customer's emotions as an evaluation criteria, as well as other various ineffective AI solutions. After much evaluation, our team concluded that NICE’s Nexidia was the best solution to implement a universal coaching system, so we integrated it.

Shintani: AI and digital tools are now necessary to separate the tasks that people perform from those remedial tasks performed by machines. People have to deal with complex issues and handle difficult complaints. I was wondering if there was a way to help both call agents and their supervisors, and then we were introduced to this system.

My position requires making proposals to customers regarding contact center outsourcing. In this day and age, it is very important to add value to the proposal, rather than just bringing it closer to the customer's desired specifications. I think this system has supported us in that respect as well.

Mr. Norihiko Shintani (NTT Marketing Act, Inc. – West Japan Sales Manager, ProCX, CX Solution Department)

What kind of proposal did NICE make to NTT Marketing Act ProCX to address these issues?

Mercier: We understood that they were facing challenges in managing response quality and wanted to use AI to solve them. When we were approached, NICE Nexidia/Enlighten was already deployed successfully for other customers to improve agent’s behaviors; so we offered to demonstrate those capabilities. After that, NTT and NICE decided to start a great collaboration to improve the ability to coach agents more efficiently.

For the Japanese market, both our companies worked together to create 16 AI models. These models were designed to capture operator behaviors that directly impact the customer's experience. Until now, when we wanted to evaluate call handling, we could only sample a small number of calls and could not evaluate all activities at our call centers. With NICE Nexidia/Enlighten, we could evaluate all calls in a short period of time. Since implementation, we have received inquiries from other customers who have learnt about this partnership and are interested in developing a similar approach.

The more you use it, the more engaged your employees are and the more new insights you gain.

What results have been achieved since the introduction of this new system 1 year ago?

Motoki: We have been in full-scale operation for just over six months. We have 8,000 contact center agents, of which 1,000 have already been introduced to this system. Many of them were at first skeptical if the AI could deliver the same quality as humans, but were pleasantly surprised when they experienced it for themselves. The recognition of AI’s potential in the customer service field is growing. AI evaluation has enabled us to improve overall quality by one point on average, but we would like to make more AI models for continued system improvements.

In the past, instructors had to listen and monitor each call, but since the implementation of the AI model, they are now able to spend more time on coaching. I feel that more time can now be spent on communicating with operators, which improves employee and customer satisfaction.

The contact center customer service agents themselves are highly satisfied with the coaching. In the past, we were only able to evaluate one case per month out of the many customer interaction histories, which sometimes led to doubts. However, this new system evaluates all calls and as a result, strengths and weaknesses are clearly identified throughout the entire process. Weaknesses can be immediately replayed and checked, so it is easy to find which areas need improvement.

Mr. Hiroyuki Motoki (NTT Marketing Act, Inc. – Head of Management Division, ProCX, CX Solution Department)

Mercier: Another benefit is the automation of the evaluation process and the ability to monitor all interactions without human bias leading to increased operator engagement. It is said that it is difficult to reduce turnover in contact centers, however, we believe that the NICE solution helps increase operator satisfaction and lower attrition.

Shintani: Contact Center operations are becoming more remote-enabled and location-independent work. Employee engagement requires human oversight, and while this has worked well in the past because it was on-site, it becomes more challenging when the operations are decentralized. I think that this system is very well suited for remote work.

Another thing that I feel is effective as a sales representative is the order acceptance rate: when comparing proposals that include the NICE solution with those that do not, we get about 20% better results with those that include it.

Mercier: While many other clients would like to incorporate AI into their systems, it may be a challenge for them to create such models, as they may lack the training data and expertise required to successfully create machine learning models. NICE’s solution on the other hand can be implemented quickly and deliver value immediately. As part of our partnership with NTT Marketing Act ProCX, we are considering the development of additional models to address other use cases such as sales effectiveness.

Shintani: The most significant aspect of the partnership between NICE and NTT Marketing Act ProCX is the fusion of advanced technology and operational expertise. AI is a good tool, but unfortunately most people do not know how to use it well. Hence, we have incorporated this AI technology into our operational rules and adjusted it in a way that it can be utilized more effectively. I expect that we will be able to develop more new use cases in the future.

I believe that this solution can provide very high value to customers who want to operate their contact centers with a focus on CX (customer experience) and responsiveness.

Mercier: Exactly as Mr. Shintani said, this partnership has given us the opportunity to further explore new uses for AI based solutions. I mentioned earlier that we have created 16 AI models, and we hope to create many more to gain new insights into the customer service experience.

A Breakthrough in solving problems faced by customer contact centers across Japan!

NTT Group was a "Best in Technology" category winner at the 2022 Contact Center Awards. What kind of response did you receive?

Motoki: How to efficiently improve response quality is a common challenge faced across the entire contact center industry. So I believe that winning this award has allowed us to show a breakthrough in this area, along with the surprise that "This is all really possible!" with this type of AI-based solution.

Shintani: While working to solve our clients' issues, we will also focus on proactive utilization within the NTT Group, and hope to add further case studies to our portfolio.

Mercier: The case for NTT Group is very strong. Other BPOs are also interested. The call center industry is changing, and changes are coming to the BPO business. I believe that the ability to turn data into insights will be a key differentiating factor for BPOs in the coming years, especially for improving customer satisfaction.

Mr Philippe Mercier (NICE Ltd. – Vice President, Analytics, AI and Digital Asia Pacific)

What are your thoughts on the future prospects with this technology?

Motoki: In our contact center operations, we are focusing on improving the effectiveness of our improvements. For this purpose, we are planning to hold an internal "Nexidia utilization contest." The purpose is not only to evaluate but also to explore new ways of using Nexidia. We will also use Nexidia in a type of “customer service agent response” contest. Until now, we have only evaluated call agents by reviewing their customer service interactions. In the near future, we would like to use Nexidia to rate the thousands of operators who have been introduced to Nexidia, and determine who will win the top spot. We would like to share and publicize this kind of initiative in order to gain external recognition.

Shintani: NICE’s solutions will continue to evolve. As it does, we would like to develop our sales and marketing activities alongside those evolving solutions. We would like to strengthen our relationship with our customers by creating added value through this partnership that can solve more of today's needs, such as staffing issues.

Mercier: We have great confidence in our partnership with NTT Marketing Act ProCX. As proof of this, we are investing in the opening of a new data center in Japan, and are looking forward to creating and exploring new market opportunities.

<Products and Services>

NICE Enlighten
AI Framework for Customer Engagement. Accurately and instantly interprets and scores operator actions that lead to improved customer satisfaction for every interaction. Appropriate messages and responses are presented to operators.

NICE Nexidia
Dialogue analysis solution using deep learning neural network technology.

It examines customer behavior at all touch points in the call center to help customers and agents develop better conversations.

ONE CONTACT Quality Management
A contact center quality management platform utilizing NICE Nexidia/Enlighten technology, which incorporates the Japanese generic model of quality management and systematic evaluation scheme developed by NTT Marketing Act ProCX.