New York and Moscow ranked best for smart contact centres

7th December 2018 Jonathan Andrews

Moscow and New York make the best use of new technologies in their city call–or contact–centres, finds a new study.

The Moscow IT Department conducted the study on contact centres in 20 cities including Hong Kong, New York, Moscow, San Francisco, Toronto, Barcelona, and London. The analysts studied the best practices in digital technologies introduced and applied when communicating with residents.

The study analysed seven different smart technologies including robot operators, big data analysis, emotion recognition, voice biometrics, video calls with sign interpretation, AI-based optimisation, and omnichannel approaches (synergy between mobile applications, social networks and video calls).

New York and Moscow use six of these technologies while Hong Kong uses three.

“What is trending is of course everybody is trying to be cost-effective and save money in their contact centre services,” Eldar Tuzmukhametov, Head of Smart City Lab, Moscow City Government, told Cities Today. “That is why everybody is working on further optimisation and broadly implementing robotic operators and neural networks.”

Moscow developed its own AI-based virtual assistant in 2014. It handles 838,000 calls per month and, according to the city’s IT department, reduces operators’ workload by 40 percent. Prior to a call, the robot has citizens’ data ready. This data includes age and gender, usage of city apps, requested documents status, fines and debts owing.

Andrey Belozerov, Strategy and Innovations Advisor to CIO of Moscow, added that the study sheds light on the importance of smart technologies when communicating with residents.

Here in Moscow we are dedicated to further embracing AI technologies in our contact centre,” he said. “Our AI-based virtual assistant works around the clock every day and this is something that a human cannot achieve. We aim to disengage human operators from easy routine tasks and let them work with more complex issues.”

Tuzmukhametov said that the city is working to implement video calls with sign language as an alternative channel of communication for people with hearing and/or speech limited capabilities.

What cities are using

New York: Since 2018, some of the calls to the NYC311 city contact centre are handled by a virtual operator based on IBM’s Watson system.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s 1823 call centre uses a semantic analysis system which allows to identify patterns of behaviour and the preconditions of residents’ complaints.

London: London’s Talksafe uses an advanced voice biometric technology that is able to identify residents by analysing over 100 unique characteristics of their voices.

Barcelona: Barcelona’s 010 Service uses Atento technology which allows determining how satisfied the customer is with the service provided.

In order to evaluate cities’ performance, the analysts additionally created qualitative and quantitative KPIs including service level, customer satisfaction, first contact resolution, call handling time, time to answer, number of lines, average number of calls per day, number of requests per year, number of requests per citizen per year, and number of employees.

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