AskVodafone is an internal knowledge platform of Vodafone to which more than 8,000 call center agents have access. When a customer calls, the entire knowledge portal has to be searched for the right hit based on the search term within a very short time. The previous system was getting on in years and was no longer up to the demands of the call centers.
The task was to significantly optimize the existing search and extend it with additional functionalities. For example, the search should be easier to use through the use of facets and an improved suggestion system, and help to reduce the call center agents' processing time.
In particular, the new solution should offer the possibility of a role-based search, so that depending on the role of the call center employee (mobile or fixed network), only search results relevant to him are displayed.
Furthermore, in addition to the pure search result, further suggestions on related topics regarding the search or, if available, on the contract and device of the caller were to be displayed. The exorbyte project of optimizing the search on AskVodafone was embedded in an overall redesign of the intranet website.
Due to the experience with the exorbyte solutions used in the company and of course the existing site license, the order was placed directly with exorbyte. Andreas Vieth, Product Manager Search, Content & Knowledge Management at Vodafone: "Due to the long lasting and successful cooperation with exorbyte, it was logical for us to continue this also with the modernization of the AskVodafone portal and to develop synergies between this and the exorbyte search on the Vodafone website."
The convenient search for call center agents and web users
Behind the search bar works matchmaker, the error-tolerant search technology from exorbyte. The crawler integrated in matchmaker regularly crawls around 25,000 knowledge websites and then indexes them for the search. A special exorbyte extension of the crawler makes it possible to index selected areas of the pages as separate entries. This increases the data quality and thus enables the call center agent to directly find the most relevant results. The editorial team of the AskVodafone portal has the possibility to add facets to the content in a very flexible way. This allows the user to quickly narrow down the set of results to filter out only those that are relevant to the specific query.
The updated portal now enables users to find the information they need with fewer clicks. On the one hand, this saves them a great deal of time in day-to-day operations, and on the other, the quality of the qualified search results increases significantly.
More than 8,000 call center employees place up to 50,000 search queries on the AskVodafone platform every day. For this purpose, more than 25,000 Vodafone intranet pages are crawled daily by the exorbyte solution and made available to the system in valuable data. The system's fail-safety is also taken care of. For this purpose, there are two servers on which the search runs. The load is distributed equally and in case of a failure of one server the second one answers all queries. This architecture can be expanded at any time if necessary, for example if the number of requests increases.
The special technical attraction in this project: the site search could be built on Vodafone's existing eCommerce search solution. It provided the basis for a very user-friendly search, which supports the user with helpful facets.
In addition to the classic search features mentioned above, exorbyte also supports the content management system of the knowledge portal with some features, such as the display of role-specific or content-related content. Furthermore, the transparent search algorithm and the resulting predictable search ranking helps the knowledge editors to create their content in a search-optimized way.
The organizational challenge was that the target systems were not available until late. This meant that even for technical development, various workarounds had to be used, for example, to obtain test data. "Due to the tight schedule, a high degree of flexibility was required in implementing the solution. This was achieved through very closely coordinated collaboration and short communication channels with the team on the customer side. We managed to realize the go-live including the entire redesign of the intranet website in only 4 months," says Jonas Vollmer, project manager at exorbyte.
We have now been live since the beginning of July 2015 and the first reactions to the new AskVodafone show us that the effort was worth it. The technology is working flawlessly and requests via the platform are being processed in higher quality and quantity. At this point, it is worth mentioning the close, collegial and above all productive cooperation with the exorbyte team. In addition to very good results, the atmosphere among all project participants, i.e. the CMS developers, the content editors and us search administrators, was also excellent.
// Andreas Vieth, Vodafone Germany
Headquartered in Düsseldorf, Vodafone Germany is Germany's leading integrated telecommunications company with 45 million customers, 11 billion euros in revenue and 14,000 employees. Vodafone Germany is the largest national company in the Vodafone Group. The Group operates its own mobile networks in 26 countries and maintains partner networks in a further 55 nations.