Hetal Shah

VP of Product & Operations , Postmates

Supernova Award Category: 

Next-Generation Customer Experience

The Organization: 

Postmates (postmates.com)

The Problem: 

Postmates is transforming the way goods move around cities through their revolutionary urban logistics platform that enables customers to get just about anything from restaurants, retailers and convenience stores on-demand. 

Postmates needed a customer service solution that not only improved their most important bottom line metrics across cost savings, customer satisfaction (CSAT) and operational efficiency, but that simplified the customer experience all together with streamlined, AI-driven technology to meet fluctuating and unpredictable customer demand. 

While most of the food orders on postmates’ platform are placed through their app, millions of orders are still called in via phone for a variety of reasons. In order to meet demand for non-app orders, Postmates leveraged an offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) to place phone orders to restaurants on behalf of customers. However, this proved costly, still required Postmates employees to intervene during call spikes, and led to order errors which impacted customer satisfaction. Specific challenges included: 

  • Increased errors in capturing customer’s orders correctly due to the repetitive nature of calls and noisy restaurant environments 
  • Spikes in demand and unpredictable agent availability resulting in delayed orders
  • Increased costs and inefficiencies in managing the offshore call center
The Solution: 

Postmates replaced the BPO it was previously relying on to place outbound food orders with Replicant Voice. 

Replicant Voice is an autonomous contact center that leverages voice AI to deliver always-on, elastic call center capacity for customer service. Akin to agents, Replicant’s “Thinking Machine” can interact and speak naturally with customers and accurately resolve issues. Replicant Voice is a fully managed service, and it elastically scales to eliminate hold times and manage unpredictable customer demand. It can be deployed in weeks to handle a variety of inbound and outbound call flows, and it integrates with existing contact center and CRM software for deeper automation and customer insights.


The Results: 

After implementing Replicant Voice, Postmates was able to: 

  • Reduce Costs: Save 55% or four million in call-center costs
  • Improve Operations: Reduce spend on FTE resources responsible for managing queue lengths and interventions during increased order spikes alongside costs associated with managing and training the BPO provider
  • Increase Revenue: Increase revenue by eliminating order cancellations caused by order delays from prior call-center inefficiencies after implementing Replicant Voice
  • Improved CSAT: By eliminating order delays and increasing operational efficiencies, Replicant Voice reduced order cancellations and improved customer satisfaction

With Replicant’s autonomous contact center, Postmates can deliver customer service that  scales one-to-one according to demand with 24/7 availability and at 55% the cost as compared to a third-party business process outsourcer (BPO). As a result, Postmates no longer needs to invest in additional call center services to scale customer service or handle unpredictable spikes in demand. Instead, they can rely on Replicant’s Thinking Machine for elastic customer service - customer service that scales to meet customer demand using the  power of voice AI to place outbound orders twice as fast with fewer errors. 

  • 55% reduction in costs: in direct customer service costs as compared to a highly optimized, third party business process outsourcer (BPO) 
  • Higher success rate: in placing orders as compared to  human agents 
  • Higher accuracy: and lower error rates resulting in fewer customers getting the wrong order Increased speed: faster delivery times due to Replicant’s ability to handle any call volume in real time, elastically 
  • Deeper insights: unparalleled visibility into key data; rather than a “black box” Replicant offers aggregate data so Postmates can identify trends alongside a call-by-call summary and transcriptions 
The Technology: 

At the heart of Replicant’s powerful artificial intelligence platform is a neural engine encompassing intent detection and entity recognition, allowing Replicant's AI brain to understand context and respond within a second to have life-like, AI-powered conversations. Replicant understands colloquial speech patterns including slang and accents, has 94%+ inference accuracy, and can understand complex, multi-intent questions allowing it to quickly and accurately resolve customer issues

Disruptive Factor: 

For the first time, Postmates is leveraging innovative technology to fuel the heart of it’s customer service org. Once launched, Replicant’s Thinking Machine ramped up from placing hundreds of calls a day to tens of thousands in less than six weeks and was able to place all food ordering calls in real-time, despite the minute-by-minute fluctuations in order volume, during lunch and dinner rush hours using automation to: 

  • Scale to handle unpredictable call volumes, fluctuating customer demand, and order spikes
  • Accurately intake orders
  • Reduce costs 

Now, with Replicant Voice, Postmates can scale its customer support elastically and 1:1 according to customer demand. This allows Postmates to be more flexible in their planning and rely on AI as a first line of defense for fluctuations in call volumes rather than over or under staffing call centers. Replicant Voice helps to alleviate the unpredictability in customer service while drastically reducing costs and providing deeper visibility into customer data and insights. It’s the perfect partner to agents and is giving more meaning to AI and human collaboration. 

Shining Moment: 

“We faced a pressing need to recreate our call center operations during the [COVID- 19] pandemic. What struck me was how rapidly Replicant surmounted the learning curve with its AI to replace this function. It was by far the easiest technology integration I’ve ever done. We had a fully operational capability in six weeks.” VP of Product & Operations 


About Postmates

Postmates’ mission is to enable anyone to have anything delivered on demand. They’re transforming the way goods move around cities through their revolutionary urban logistics platform that enables customers to get just about anything from restaurants, retailers and convenience stores on-demand.