Telstra builds ACE chatbot for its field technicians

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Telstra builds ACE chatbot for its field technicians
Credit: Telstra

To quiz internal contact centre and knowledge base.

Telstra has created a chatbot for its technicians in the field that enables them to live chat with contact centre agents and draw upon data held in a central knowledge management system.

The telco provided a more complete picture of digital transformation efforts aimed at helping its field force technicians in a blog post and white paper published Thursday.

It has previously used a US-based Microsoft conference to outline some of the platforms and custom apps it has put in place for technicians under its transformation effort.

It has now revealed several other elements, including its use of a Panviva knowledge management solution that “hosts digitised work instructions”.

“Technicians can call up the specific details they need without trawling through thousands of documents,” Telstra said.

Data and documents held in Panviva can be accessed either via a dashboard or a chatbot called ACE.

The dashboard provides technicians “access to accurate customer information and service performance insights in one centralised location,” Telstra said in its white paper.

“This dashboard includes live and historical performance data, customer information, outage information and suggestion actions,” it said.

“For example, technicians are now able to see the past 10 days’ history of speed performance, noise margin fluctuations and congestion. They can also see the live difference between Telstra and NBN network performance. 

“These insights enable the [technician] to identify patterns and problems and make quick and accurate fault diagnoses. 

“Technicians also have visibility of the customer’s service and contact history. Such visibility is important to avoid repeating steps with the customer or asking them for information they have already provided.”

In its blog post, Telstra provided more detail of the ACE chatbot, which appears to have gone live quietly in July last year.

“The ACE chatbot combines powerful automation with live chat to speed up routine tasks and serve relevant information to technicians while they are on customer premises,” Telstra said.

“For example, technicians can reset passwords in one minute via ACE while also better managing the face-to-face relationship with customers.

“ACE [also] provides technicians with a wealth of data visualisations which enable them to see a number of metrics including response times and helps them better plan resources according to need.”

Telstra said the ACE chatbot “is being used more than 2000 times a day” by field technicians.

The telco has about 5000 technicians.

Telstra also revealed that the number of custom apps built using Microsoft’s no-code PowerApps platform has increased since first being discussed at the end of last year, now numbering 20.

The latest app built helped Telstra make damage assessments of its infrastructure in the wake of bushfires.

“As fire attacked the Australian bush, we needed a way to capture fire damage details from the field to target our recovery resources, and for insurance purposes,” Telstra said. 

“This app was quickly deployed and allows any of our field teams to lodge a site report, which is added to an hourly-updated database, with maps and photographs, to give us a clear picture of the situation.”

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