Domestic & General is the UK’s leading specialist warranty provider for kitchen appliances, boilers, and consumer electronics. It offers peace of mind for over 16 million customers in the event of unexpected failure or faults with protected equipment.

Introducing the Chatbot

In early June 2017, Salmon’s Innovation team, met with D&G to investigate how emerging technologies could be utilised to improve customer experiences and save money. D&G recognised the call centre as an area where improvements could be made to enhance the overall experience. Salmon designed a chatbot to utilise D&Gs existing systems and improve the online claim journey. The chatbot is a computer-generated program that acts as a personal assistant, by conversing with consumers in a fraction of the time it would take a human.

Powered by Artificial Intelligence, the D&G chatbot uses natural language processing through a chat window. This recreates the same online journey that a customer receives through the ‘My Account’ section on the website, via an instant, responsive chat window. It also improves on the lengthier customer journey of logging into ‘My Account’, providing a plan number, and filling out several form fields to then progress to claim.

How it works

In a simple chat window, customers are asked questions that match the fields on the front-end of the website, including: “what is your plan number and appliance model number?”; “when and how did your appliance break?”; and “what problems are you seeing?”. The chatbot then provides the customer with an engineer’s availability so they can choose which day and time they want to book a repair. Simultaneously, it creates a booking on D&G’s back-end ORBIT system that can be amended or cancelled.

The design and development of D&G’s chatbot is based on technology that leverages the IBM WebSphere Commerce platform on the back-end. On the front-end, the chatbot uses Google’s natural language processor, Dialogflow. Dialogflow converts text that the customer types in the chat window into something that can be understood by D&G’s API. Every question can be entered in hundreds of different ways, so Dialogflow is programmed to understand the intent of the question, allowing the claim to be booked and organised.

D&G held a series of meetings with Salmon over a 6-week period where the chatbot was developed and improved based on D&G’s feedback. This provided D&G with the opportunity to populate a roadmap and become more forward-thinking about how to deliver the chatbot.

So far, the POC chatbot has been a resounding success, with D&G seeing positive improvements in customer satisfaction and a saving in terms of the number of calls taken. D&G plans to operationalise the chatbot in 2018.

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The team at Salmon has helped us turn a nice idea into reality - we had been considering using AI, and Salmon brought this to fruition, giving us something to touch and feel very quickly. Salmon is helping D&G to be more forward thinking and futuristic in our outlook, a place we need to be in today's competitive digital world.

Ben Rees

Head of Digital Delivery, Domestic & General

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