HanPhone:Case Study ─ MTR

HanPhone IVR Helps
Mass Transit Organization Enhance Customer Service Level
Being the sole service provider of underground transportation in Guangzhou, Guangzhou Metro Corporation's information counter is inundated daily with numerous enquiries and complaints majority coming from telephone. The Corporation began in year 2001 to use automatic telephone answering system in responding to the callers. However, the system could only provide pre-recorded messages which were not timely enough reflecting the current train services. The chore of frequent manual recordings for more timely information was found to be overwhelming arduous. The automatic answering system service was eventually suspended in 2004 and all calls were diverted back to information counter again drastically reducing the service level causing more complaints. The organization has been eagerly looking for new Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology to enhance the service level thereafter.

It was determined the new IVR system would deploy the latest Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology to eliminate the chore of manual recordings and the frequently requested train service information could be fed more timely into the system automatically. The new system would also be required to integrate into its existing telephone system such that majority of callers could be handled by IVR while telephone service operators could still be at service when requested for areas unknown to the IVR. It was envisaged the new system would expand the call handling capacity by many folds and be available round the clock. Several IVR system suppliers were subsequently invited to bid for the new system in early 2006. After due consideration of the proposals, The HanPhone IVR proposal from Guangzhou KanHan Technologies Limited was awarded to supply the system in August..

The open web-based and plug-and-play nature of HanPhone IVR allows the telephone call-flow be built in a shortest possible time frame with limited investment which turns out to be the main selection criteria in awarding the contract. In addition, KanHan provides comprehensive post-sale service and training ensuring smooth transition to new system. The system is ready for commissioning in early September less than a month after award of contract.

The initial phase of the new system uses XML and JSP web programming to develop the structure of call flow which takes the form of a web page. To edit the call flow, all the organization need is to amend the content of those web pages. In this sense, it not only reduces staffs' learning time, but also ensures easy management on the system. In addition, a convenient message editing tool is also available for casual user to publish message to the system. The TTS integrated function has altogether got rid of manual voice recording for timely delivery of information.. The system also provides a WEB management interface to allow control features from change of system settings, report generation to voice mail review to be done remotely over web-connected PCs. Last but not least, HanPhone IVR by itself a web application can be easily integrated with the organization's corporate website and business systems to provide new customer support functions over telephone in the future.

The HanPhone IVR provides to the users of the Guangzhou train service a 24-hour enquiry hotline, complaint and suggestion voice mail service which significantly enhances customer service level while reduces staffs' workload at information counter. By incorporating the latest TTS and web technologies, timely information from real-time channels and urgent notices can be made available to callers more conveniently. The new system supports Putonghua, Cantonese and English speech which further widens the scope of service.