Challenge

MRS BPO fields calls at all times of day, attempting to accommodate the needs of its many customers. Resolutions require efficient handling of unique scenarios, but human agents were not always immediately available to assist a customer.

Transformation

MRS implemented IBM Voice Gateway and IBM Watson Assistant software to create a voice agent, Adam, that customers can chat with over the phone. Adam is a trailblazing conversational IVR that needs no human supervision in order to complete transactions, answer questions and redirect customers.

Results

100% reduction in wait times

from 1.5 minutes per call to zero minutes

90% greater call capacity

without additional agents

20% greater revenue per call

vs. human agents

Putting customer service first

MRS BPO continually seeks cutting-edge technologies that it can employ to enhance operations and service. To that end, Chief Innovation Officer Michael Meyer launched a project to bring voice recognition technology to the company's customer interactions.

Meyer and Lead Solutions Architect Alex Pettit developed multiple prototypes of virtual call-center agents, which they named Adam. But these early iterations encountered many difficulties. They could not distinguish many words, and they were not prepared to handle a myriad of typical customer service situations. Ultimately, the prototypes' inability to filter background sound from foreground sound rendered the technology unusable. “There were many preliminary iterations of the virtual agent project that we declared failures," says Pettit. "Failure, however, was our biggest advantage. The Adam we have today was the product of learning from mistakes, ignoring negativity, and remaining on the bleeding edge of technology." For the next generation of the project, Meyer, Pettit and team sought a more advanced voice recognition technology.

An industry expert once told us that we would not be able to capture payments using a virtual agent over the phone. We have been doing that, and more, for over a year.

Alex Pettit, Lead Solutions Architect, MRS BPO, LLC

Lifelike conversations without human error

Once MRS engaged the IBM Watson platform and began to utilize its IBM Voice Gateway and IBM Watson Assistant solutions, the potential impact on Adam became obvious to Meyer and Pettit. Virtual agents based on Voice Gateway software handle payment calls, execute rules-based responses to simple or complex requests, and provide natural responses to many questions, such as, “Who is MRS?” and “Why are you calling?” 

But MRS continues to iterate and improve the solution. "Adam exists in an agile technology environment," explains Meyer. "We are always learning from his daily interactions and adding more intelligence and capabilities into him." Put simply, Adam only ever makes the same mistake once. 

We’re constantly finding more ways to make use of IBM Watson to help add to every facet of Adam. It truly is revolutionary technology and allows us to reach a level of customer experience that is unheard of. That’s a huge win for all of our customers and clients.

Michael Meyer, Chief Innovation Officer, MRS BPO, LLC

Enhanced service and greater business results

Jeff Freedman, CEO of MRS, says, "Through Adam, customers are accomplishing many of the same tasks only live agents could address in the past. Furthermore, customers are no longer waiting in long queues for an agent to become available, or limited to calling during normal business hours. When customers engage Adam, they do so by speaking naturally. There’s no need to listen to menu options and repeatedly press numbers on their keypad."

And Adam's impact extends beyond the calls that Adam itself handles. Because Adam handles 17 percent more calls with engaged customers than the company's human agents can, those human agents are now spending 35 percent more time conducting outbound calls and 43 percent more time helping customers with complex requests.

Further, the ability to eliminate human error from collection creates a consistently compliant workplace. Increasingly more corporate clients of MRS are deciding to use the IVR solution to improve call compliance, customer experience, and gross collections. Freedman adds, "Adam’s ability to understand and complete tasks, while handling large volumes of calls, has created operational efficiencies and helped significantly increase recoveries to levels we have never seen previously."

In the debt collection industry, Adam is the first-of-its-kind, fully functional, conversational IVR, with a proven track record of success. This ground-breaking technology has literally transformed our collection operation.

Jeff Freedman, Co-CEO, MRS BPO, LLC

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About MRS BPO, LLC

MRS BPO, LLC is a financial services company specializing in accounts receivables management. Technology and advanced solutions development are at the core of the MRS culture and mission. Founded in 1991, MRS has a Fortune 500 client base, and serves seven vertical markets, with three offices across the U.S.