Active Ava – how a chatbot was born

How Active Ava took the stress out of a post pandemic avalanche of enquiries

The Covid-19 pandemic turned the leisure sector on its head. Complete shutdown was then followed by a cautious re-opening with extensive precautions to ensure the safety of those heading back to the gym or their favourite fitness class.

But the pandemic had another side effect – a huge increase in questions and enquiries from members and customers.

Active Tameside was no different. They were experiencing increased pressure on phone lines with call centre and reception staff fielding more calls than ever before, risking service levels in centre, as a lot of time was being eaten up on fielding questions and requests.

What set Active Tameside apart was the solution they sought to solve the dilemma, and that’s where our Cornerstone ChatBot came to the rescue.

Alleviating concerns about cost and feasibility

Senior leaders at Active Tameside had already considered a chatbot solution from another provider but had some serious concerns about cost and feasibility.

Our partnership with Active Tameside is a long-term success story, we’ve been involved strategically in many aspects of their marketing and operations for more than eight years. Given the close relationship that we have created, coupled with the confidence Active Tameside have in our ability to deliver, they asked if we had a more cost-effective way forward.

Indeed, we did.

Active Tameside felt the solution we offered would work well and wanted to know more. We took time to carefully map out the potential scope and specifications our ChatBot would need, ensuring clarity was there from the outset before the project began. The client was pleased with our proposal, timeline and cost, and approved Cornerstone to work with them on creating their bot.

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Our service spans concept to launch

As a digital marketing agency, our ChatBot service spans concept to launch and includes:

  • Onboarding workshop – we spent time with Active Tameside to understand every aspect of the business and the queries and problems our ChatBot could solve. We collected literally thousands of pieces of information, likely queries and interactions with end customers to fuel the bot’s ability to respond.
  • Set-up and testing – after onboarding, our digital team started to form the user journeys and responses, building the bot from the ground up. We mapped out every possible user journey, which was followed by rigorous testing by our digital team.
  • Client testing – we provided Active Tameside with a staging site with the challenge to try and break it by posing complicated queries. They even incentivised testing with members, so we had real-life member data to consider.
  • Client training – we then trained the staff in all they needed to know; and we are always on hand for any ongoing training needs.

After several months of careful planning, information inputting and bot training, not to mention some industrial strength user testing, our ChatBot was nearing launch, but there was something missing. A name!

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Adding the human touch where it’s needed

Our ChatBots are fully customisable with avatars, language settings and branding. (We also make sure it is GDPR compliant.)

Our PR and creative teams set to work on finding a suitable name – and Active Ava was born with a persona / avatar, to give the bot a more friendly, personable feel that reflected Active Tameside’s values and tone of voice.

From there, Active Ava was launched, being integrated into the Active Tameside website, as well as being integrated into a live chat function we also provided.

While our ChatBot is fully automated, we can build live chat into our service. We’ll set up our ChatBot to answer customer questions as much as possible until it gets to a point where they can choose to start a live chat with a member of a customer service team.

With everything up and running, we supply monthly reports outlining training delivered to the bot to keep the information it provides up-to-date and an analysis of any trends in user behaviour. We also provide a report on related data like the number of chats, displayed greetings, or post chat survey results.

Results that speak for themselves

Since launch, there have been 43,271 chats between Active Ava and members of the Tameside community.

For when LiveChat agents are offline and Active Ava hasn’t been trained to respond to a query, users can submit a ticket. Since launch, there have been 882 tickets solved with a 79% ticket satisfaction rate, meaning that even when your contact or customer service team are offline, customers still receive a productive experience.

More generally on site, since the launch of ChatBot, session duration is down 3.77% with key events increasing by 29.8%, suggesting that users are finding answers and achieving their end goal quicker thanks to ChatBot.

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A bright future for Active Ava

As you’ve just read, Active Ava has been a resounding success for Tameside, reducing calls and enquiries, allowing staffing pressures to be alleviated and customer service and satisfaction to be vastly improved.

(Gill – could you ask Lee / Elliot for this information please)

Active Ava is due to be integrated into Active Tameside’s social media channels soon, with further enhancements such as online payments being explored.

Our ChatBot can be integrated onto any website and across the web, from Facebook Messenger and Slack to Zendesk and Zapier, which gives it the ultimate power to be applied web wide.

If you would like us to supercharge your customers’ online experience whilst driving efficiency with a Cornerstone ChatBot get in touch below.

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