Michael Ringman

Chief Information Officer, TELUS International

Supernova Award Category: 

Next-Generation Customer Experience

The Organization: 

TELUS International (NYSE and TSX: TIXT) designs, builds and delivers digital solutions for global and disruptive brands. We provide strategy and innovation, next-gen technology and IT services, and CX process and delivery solutions to support the full lifecycle of our more than 600 clients’ digital transformation journeys and enable them to more quickly embrace digital technologies to deliver better business outcomes and fuel growth. We work with our clients to shape their digital vision and strategies, design scalable processes and identify opportunities for innovation and growth. Over the last 15 years, we have built comprehensive, end-to-end capabilities with a mix of industry and digital expertise to support our clients in their CX and digital enablement transformations.

The Problem: 

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery services saw a huge spike in demand and the client highlighted in this submission is a large US-based multinational delivery services company. Alongside the spike in demand, TELUS International’s client also saw an increased demand for support and customer service inquiries - which inevitably led to longer wait times, in addition to the more complex inquiries customers had as they navigated through an already stressful landscape. 

To better support its frontline team members, TELUS International used this opportunity to enhance the client’s knowledge base (KMS) search engine with the integration of an internal Agent Assist chatbot to streamline the employee experience for ease of navigation and utilize AI and machine learning to give agents direct access to vital information to better serve their customers.

The Solution: 

In order to create a faster and more seamless customer experience, TELUS International identified that updating the client’s KMS system with a chatbot for our agents would be the most effective course of action to simplify and streamline the system while enhancing its speed and ease of navigation.

Updating the KMS system with an AI-powered chatbot to auto-feed responses to team members would have far-reaching effects to quickly help customers. On the backend, TELUS International utilized articles from within the KMS to continuously train the chatbot with the top call queries and then conducted extensive testing to ensure it was easily providing agents with accurate information in a timely manner.

The Results: 

Following the launch of the Agent Assist chatbot, team members were able to obtain vital customer information in a fraction of the time of the original KMS systems. This instantly had a positive impact on both customer satisfaction and team member engagement - a more streamlined and effective process for agents and faster, more efficient handling times for customers. 

In today’s age, consumers expect customer service to be quick and to the point but if agents do not have the right tools or information, the customer experience may suffer, as well as the brand’s reputation. By equipping agents with the tools needed to provide a superior customer experience, the client is now able to put its best foot forward with every customer interaction. 

Additionally, many people value the human connection in customer experiences. With the addition of the right digital tools, agents are better enabled to build a personable relationship with customers simply by having more time to connect with them, alongside access to a surplus of accurate and up-to-date information provided with the Agent Assist chatbot.


TELUS International had two pilot groups (tenured and new hires) that leveraged the chatbot and two control groups (tenured and new hires) that only used the KMS during a three-month pilot to test the effectiveness of the new Agent Assist solution. 

The differences in search time-savings and Average Handle Time (AHT) were significant, going from an average effort of 120 seconds with the legacy KMS to an average of 13 seconds with the Agent Assist chatbot. AHT was also consistently lower for both pilot groups as compared to the control groups.

Moreover, TELUS International randomly selected four agents (two tenured and two from a new hire group) to perform mock calls in seven different scenarios utilizing the legacy KMS vs. the Agent Assist chatbot for direct comparison. The Agent Assist chatbot results were promising with an AHT reduction between 13% - 15%, supported by annual cost savings of over $375,000.

The Technology: 

The product created was the Agent Assist chatbot, a personalized assistant that listens, learns and supports frontline team members via AI and machine learning during customer interactions to enable a personalized, effortless and seamless customer experience. Innovative features range from real-time shortcuts, proactively providing frontline employees with accurate information and shortcuts, and smart search - enabling agents to easily find information specific to the context of their search.

Disruptive Factor: 

The Agent Assist chatbot has challenged the status quo of the customer experience by empowering companies to improve their employee experience as the technology handles administrative tasks. For example, the chatbot has reduced manual supervision by leveraging automated assistance to limit the number of ad-hoc employee and supervisor interactions and improved frontline proficiency and accuracy through real-time error identification - reducing the average handle time for interactions. 

However, it does not stop there, the Agent Assist chatbot also offers suggestions for verbiage for frontline employees, which is often leveraged when nuanced language is required, as well as multilingual interactions. The chatbot is constantly evolving with new technologies and based on both customer and employee feedback as it is an essential tool in offering a positive, uniform experience no matter how large or small the client may be.

Shining Moment: 

At TELUS International, we are most proud of our corporate culture. This is something we have consistently been proud of and invested in, but its power was exemplified over the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our human-centered, data-driven team, we shifted to a remote working model and continued to support each other using the virtual tools in our toolbox. Despite the distance, we saw our engagement score rise by 100 basis points and our volunteer hours exceed those of 2019.

About TELUS International

TELUS International (NYSE & TSX: TIXT) designs, builds and delivers next-generation digital solutions to enhance the customer experience for global and disruptive brands. The company’s services support the full lifecycle of its clients’ digital transformation journeys and enable them to more quickly embrace next-generation digital technologies to deliver better business outcomes.