Welcome to issue #34 of our recently launched Q&A series, Startup Spotlight.
This series is all about diving into the world-class technological innovation conducted by exciting startups. Getting to grips with the technology, the mission, and even the stories behind them.
In each edition we sit down with a different startup founder, leader, or operator in an easily digestible conversational style Q&A format.
Today we interviewed Patrick Coleman, CEO of QStory, to find out more about the pioneers of Intraday Automation.
- 🦾 Using tech to create a better everyday life for customer service professionals
- 📈 Doubling profits during the pandemic
- 🗣️ Why customer feedback matters
QStory is revolutionising the way contact centres operate. In simple terms, they are the missing link between plans and reality.
Think of it like this… typical Workforce Management planning processes make contact centre staff available to customers by creating detailed schedules, but QStory have dived much further ahead.
Their Intraday Automation Platform manages contact centre staffing in real-time: driving efficiency, a happier workforce and better customer experience.
QStory’s trailblazing tech automatically drives real improvements in productivity, staff satisfaction and customer experience.
With the help of QStory’s AI powered automation , contact centres can boost productivity to a new level, employees are empowered and in control of their own work life balance and customers experience an all-round better service. It’s next-level innovation.
QStory have made ground-breaking headway in the world of contact centre management, but what makes them unique?
How have they tackled the challenges they’ve faced so far?
And finally, where next for QStory? Lets find out.👇
What is the mission of your company?
To make contact centres across the world Employers of Choice - attracting and retaining the best customer service talent for future generations to come.
How are you using technology to help solve that problem?
Traditionally, contact centres have been very restrictive working environments -
The prevailing attitude has always been “We’ve made the best possible schedule plan for all staff, so stick to it!”. This was mostly driven by the difficulty involved if one wanted to change these complex plans...
QStory’s Intraday Automation (IDA) can understand real-time agent supply and customer demand, so that schedules and ways of working can be adapted on the day to actual conditions quite easily. We can know instantly if a break move or a last minute holiday request will impact service levels and also automate all the admin and processing of schedule changes and absence.
As a direct result, businesses can now offer agents far more flexibility and empower them to control their own schedules through an app.
In addition, and providing a significant boost to efficiency and staff skills, by understanding when agents would be waiting for calls (idle time), QStory presents Opportunities to Team Leaders who can use that time for training and coaching, giving agents more personal development - at no extra cost to the business.
It’s converting waste time into productive time!
What's your unique selling point?
Well, first of all we’re the only company in the world that predicts when there won’t be enough work for the staff in the call centre, and automatically finds a good use of their time! That’s pretty unique.
Unlike Workforce Management systems (WFM, the tools all contact centre use for scheduling staff) which create schedules in advance of operations, QStory’s Intraday Automation algorithm processes thousands of calculation and options in real time (i.e. during the day of operation) so that contact centres can optimise performance on the day, whatever happens.
For example, if agents are late or absent, or a particular department is very busy - QStory can move agents between queues, move offline work to quieter periods etc.
Triple win: Win|win|win
QStory is unique in that it benefits colleagues, customers and the company.
- Drives agent engagement and improve employee net promoter scores (E-NPS), by improving flexibility and work/life balance through our amazing (unique) ‘zero-delay’ AI powered self-service
- Improves customer experience because agents receive more training and development, which improves morale AND increases their ability to help customers the first time they get in contact
- Increases profitability as offline work is carried out during Predicted Available Time (PAT, which would be idle time without QStory) rather than having to hire additional staff so that people could leave the phones to get trained
What have been the greatest challenges to date?
Taking a new disruptive and transformational product to market is just plain hard. People doubt what you say can possibly work: we all naturally think “surely the big companies would have built this already?”
Another challenge is that companies don’t want to be the first to try you: it can be so frustrating when they say “But please keep in touch when you have a few users we can visit”
If you keep trying you’ll definitely find some brave “early adopters” who get it, and are willing to give you a chance: just be prepared for it to take twice as long as you think, and make sure you have enough cash for that.
Covid was a challenge because the businesses that we were speaking to suddenly became focused elsewhere, handling the huge internal challenges of getting their staff to work from home. This made QStory a priority for our existing customers, as they recognised we could support them to shift to hybrid working and manage their workforce more effectively. But for most, it meant we had to stop trying to sell to new customers for a year until things calmed down.
Luckily we had a lot of projects to deliver during that time, so our revenues doubled.
We’re incredibly agile and about 80% of the functionality roadmap is developments based upon customer suggestions. So we quickly developed features to help customers during the pandemic, such as managing agent location for when a reduced number came back to the office.
What major milestones have you achieved, and what's next!?
- we’ve built tools that allow us to integrate with pretty much every system in a contact centre! That’s incredibly important, and I believe unique to us.
- we’ve perfected our algorithms to not only cope with the most complex contact centres, but to do it so quickly our calculations take place thousands of times per shift.
- We’ve achieved amazing adoption of our smartphone app by contact centre staff: over 95%, on their personal phones!
- We’ve delivered astonishing results to large sophisticated customers who really thought they were already very productive
We’ve also gained several awards including:
The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 award
Frost & Sullivan Product Leadership Award (Global Workforce Automation & Intraday Automation Market)
Numerous (Professional Planning) Forum Partner Awards in collaboration with our customers.
Next up we’re looking forward to expanding into new sectors of the customer service market, and we are in the final stages of our entry into the huge US market!
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