Mitsubishi Chemical Systems, Inc. is a IT company that builds a common infrastructure for the entire Mitsubishi Chemical Group, Japan's Leading chemical company, and has supported the optimal infrastructure operating system used by about 520 group affiliates fo the last 50 years.
Mitsubishi Chemical Systems, Inc. is developing a new system of support services for group affiliates by introducing Allganize's AI chatbot called "Alli" for customer support.
I interviewed Nishiyama in charge of chatbot service who works in the customer support department of Mitsubishi Chemical System, Inc. ICT infrastructure division.
Q: Please tell me about the business details of Mitsubishi Chemical System, Inc. and your role.
Mitsubishi Chemical System, Inc. operates a helpdesk service to support the general operation of terminals, software, and business systems for approximately 40,000 employees of the Mitsubishi Group's affiliates. I belong to a team that plans and stabilizes new support services from a UX perspective regarding helpdesk services. In a word, I am the main person in charge of the chatbot service.
Q: What made your company introduce the AI chatbot?
The Mitsubishi Chemical System, Inc. Helpdesk receives about 5,000 inquiries every month. In the past, answers were sent via the phone or e-mail. Not only did we spend a lot of time responding to too many inquiries, but we also saw more customers waiting. To solve this situation, we decided to introduce an AI chatbot.
Frankly speaking, before introducing Alli, we attempted to introduce another AI chatbots as a trial. The chatbot also had many functions but the response accuracy was not as high as expected despite it took a lot of time and money. This caused the operation department could not use it efficiently. As a result, the usage rate is getting lower and it didn’t meet the expectation.At that moment, the newly introduced chatbot was Alli from Allganize.
The professional support from an Allganize representative and high usability to respond to large amounts of FAQs are the key reasons why Alli was introduced.
Q: Could you tell me the starting point of using Alli?
A partner's contact introduced Alli to us. Of course, we reviewed other AI chatbot tools as well. What was good about Alli was the professional and various support provided by the Allganize representative. It was good that the contact thought of the services we wanted to deliver from the same perspective and suggested the best way to implement them. Another good point was the high usability.
At first, I felt burdened with the need to register 4,000 FAQs but also felt that Alli was a service that allowed me to do what I wanted right away because there was no limit to the number of FAQs I could register and the number of types of answers for the questions was freely changeable.
I also felt that it was easy to write a scenario. I remember that I didn’t get used to it at first and asked the contact for some help whenever I got in trouble. Now, I feel comfortable enough to set it up on my own.
Additionally, I remember being surprised that the exact answer was given immediately during the chatbot test. I was very impressed that Alli reflected the contents out of Q&A registered in my answer immediately.
The accuracy of the answers has increased to more than 75% since its introduction.The increase in the percentage of Alli users has made a positive change in help desk operations.
Q: What has changed in particular since the introduction of Alli?
Alli was placed on the groupware and helpdesk portal to encourage employees of the group's affiliates to ask questions freely. Right after the introduction, I remember there were many employees who thought, "There's something new!" or "Should I try it?". Now, many employees are actively using Alli because it provides answers better than expected. As proof of that, the rate of usage is so high that 5,000 inquiries are made every month through chatbots.
Q: When did you feel fortunate to have Alli?
To give you a case of how we got a lot of help, we can take the in-house system update work as an example.We always create a separate guide page when updating the system and many inquiries have been made directly to the helpdesk. However, by installing Alli on the information page this time, the basic question was set up for the chatbot to answer. This dramatically reduced the number of simple questions about the updated system and resulted in only complex and technical questions coming to the helpdesk. It's also a moment when I felt fortunate to have Alli.
Q: How was the reaction in the company after the introduction of the chatbot?
The employees are amazed by Alli's performance every day. In addition to a fairly high response rate of over 75%, some categories have 100% accuracy. This high response rate is drawing great attention in the company. What I remember is that when I reported the results of the operation to the company, CEO was surprised and gave a good opinion. Currently, various ideas such as how to use them in the future are also being presented and this makes me realize that expectations for chatbots are increasing through Alli.
We used the chatbot character 'An-chan' to promote the use of in-house chatbots.
Q: Can you tell me the secret of operating chatbots?
The chatbot of Mitsubishi Chemical System, Inc. has a character called ‘An-chan’ that is central to the promotion of the chatbots usage. Even if a chatbot is introduced, it may be difficult to use it for the first time, so we have devised the following methods to increase the utilization rate and help users feel fun about the chatbot.
· Update An-chan's character image monthly by applying seasonal costumes or effects
· Change the design by setting the color of the chat screen according to the season
· Complete An-chan's self-introduction FAQ
· For example, for Halloween events in October, if a user puts the question 'Trick or Treat', the chatbot will be able to answer it.
Additionally, we share small topics about chatbots and An-chan through Microsoft Teams every week. Each time we upload it, we receive enthusiastic responses from employees of the group's affiliates.
I can feel that An-chan is becoming a popular character in the company and I am also having fun operating it.
Q: How was the support provided by Allganize when it was introduced?
Even before the introduction, Allganize was thinking about the challenges of Mitsubishi Chemical System, Inc. together. They even suggested the appropriate chat flow and the ideal types of the FAQ that we wanted.
Even after the start of operations, various professional support was provided. The quick response to requests and the customer's constant consideration led to trust in the company.
Telecommuting is now a daily routine and chatbots are like ‘colleagues sitting next to each other.’
Q: Tell me about your future prospects.
At Mitsubishi Chemical System, Inc., telecommuting has become a basic form of work. Compared to when it was natural to go to work, employees can't ask the person next to you lightly. Chatbots are perceived as employees like the colleagues sitting next to them.
One challenge, however, is that phone calls to the helpdesk are still not significantly decreasing. For this reason, we will focus on how we can reduce the number of phone calls to the Helpdesk, including adding technical FAQs to Alli.
To achieve this, we should expand the scope of support while maintaining the current response rate, introduce real-time consultant chat and plan flexible expansion and linkage of support for Alli and phone calls. And I think Alli is a service that can conduct all of this.
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