PLDT Inc., the largest, fully integrated telecommunications company in the Philippines, has selected Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) to improve the digital experience and customer service it provides to its 3.3 million broadband subscriber households. The new service provides real-time, contextual responses to an average 12,000 users a day, freeing up staff to spend time on the more complex customer enquiries, thereby boosting satisfaction levels and enabling PLDT to become more cost-efficient. 

With ongoing social distancing and businesses operating remotely, PLDT’s mission – to keep families and businesses connected – has never been more important. To continue delivering smooth and rapid access to its leading digital and entertainment services around-the-clock and provide a superior customer experience, the company wanted to transform its customer service delivery. This is also part of the company’s broader strategy to keep its leadership in the country amidst intensifying competition in the local market. To help achieve this goal PLDT turned to Oracle Digital Assistant, which provides a new level of AI-powered customer service.   

Customer-driven upgrade 

“Digitizing our customer service touchpoints is an essential part of our thrust in creating great customer experiences through leading edge technology that enables seamless transactions.  We will never stop evolving as our vision for the future is one where all Filipinos are digitally-empowered,” said PLDT Chief Revenue Officer and Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio. 

“The Oracle Digital Assistant has helped us provide customer service in real-time, reducing the time it takes for customers to get what they want and helping us be better able to handle large volumes of customer queries, and do so more cost efficiently,” said PLDT first vice president and commercial operations head Marco Borlongan.

Time is Crucial

Prior to the integration of ODA into the PLDT customer service process, PLDT’s Call Centre fielded all inbound calls and inquiries around a diverse range of areas. Now for many of the more standard and simple requests such as ordering, reconnecting, paying bills, checking for new products and services and logging repair requests, customers are now able to receive help more quickly, as the PLDT Home Digital Assistant automatically addresses the query. This has resulted in a significant drop in the average response time to as little as one to two minutes. 

Crunching the numbers

Already, 20 percent of the total customer interactions across all channels – social media hotline, SMS and email – are handled in real-time by the PLDT Home Digital Assistant. For those queries originating on social media, a large bulk of private messages on Facebook are handled by PLDT Home Digital Assistant alone, with the more complex issues filtering to staff.

The Digital Assistant has also proven itself capable of scale. In its first few hours after going live, it responded to around 1,800 unique visitors, and since then, has been serving an average of 12,000 users per day.

PLDT plans to expand the use of the digital assistant to a broader range of customer service channels. The goal is to extend the coverage to include most of their customer touchpoints, allowing the company to also handle a broader range of queries and ensure that no customer query or feedback is being missed.

“5G introduces a number of innovative and disruptive networking paradigms, many of which had not been applied to mobile networks in the past. We are delighted to advance our relationship with PLDT even further as it transforms its business to offer greater digital offerings to customers and accelerate its ability to innovate,” said Mina Lim, Managing Director of Oracle Philippines. “Oracle Digital Assistant will enable PLDT to handle the associated increase in customer communication effectively and gain valuable customer insights to achieve a superior level of digital customer experience continuously and consistently.”

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