Optique Optometrists is an innovative eye care provider set out to provide high-quality eye care services to the average South African at an affordable rate, in its own words providing “a radical alternative solution” to the 75% South Africans that simply can’t afford eye care. With the aim to make eye care accessible and simplified, Optique now boasts 23 branches across South Africa.
Proto is the leader for inclusive chatbots and multilingual contact centre automation in emerging markets. Proto’s AI Customer Experience (AICX) platform is powered by proprietary natural language processing (NLP) for under-resourced and mixed languages. The Proto team has successfully developed novel deep-learning techniques and regulatory partnerships to maximize consumer experience, protection, and lifetime value across 20+ emerging markets.
In addition to needing to increase eye care client bookings, Optique wanted to reduce the amount of time spent by their contact center agents answering repetitive customer queries - all without sacrificing great customer satisfaction.
They needed a scalable, automated solution that would not only sort these concerns, but also replicate the same experience across multiple channels where most of their customers were already engaging them - namely social channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.
Optique had previously used separate contact center software for managing customer support across multiple channels. While this helped consolidate all customer queries from various channels into one dashboard, it still meant significant manual contact work for their contact agents.
With some help from the Proto’s CX team, a Proto AI-powered chatbot solution was implemented for Optique, covering their main issues - namely appointment booking and customer support handling.
The bot was launched in phases with a multi-channel end goal in mind. This saw the launch of their Webchat bot first, intentionally launched at same time as their new website rebranding to try and convert more website visitors into booking appointments, leading to a major reduction in their website bounce-rate as a side effect. The chatbot utilized Proto’s smart webchat popup-message feature, otherwise called webchat “Sneak peek."
In addition to boosting appointment booking, the bot was trained on previous FAQs from social channels to handle customer queries on an automated self-serve support basis.
Following a careful observation of improved performance, the AI chatbot was gradually rolled out to other crucial social channels, namely WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger within the next few weeks. This utilized Proto’s build-once-deploy-anywhere multi-channel approach, leading to similar improvements in customer support across all chat channels. And with all crucial channels covered, Optique now plans to take this improved customer support to a new level by allowing support in local languages in South Africa.
Optique Optometrists CEO Leon van Vuuren said: "Proto’s chatbot gives Optique the ability to answer queries any time of the day or night quickly, as well as assisting patients to book appointments no matter their choice of communication channel. What stood out most engaging with Proto is the support we received every step of the way in our vision of making great customer service a reality."
The automated AI-enabled client support solution delivered noticeable changes relating to direct KPI, but also had positive side-effects on unintended metrics like bounce rates, all within 2 months of deployment.
decrease in website bounce-rate
increase in online appointment booking
daily chats on average
automated query resolution
channels (3 socials, 1 webchat)
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Proto's AI Customer Experience solution updated customer service across Optique's website and social channels. Optique customers can now book appointments and ask questions at any time of day on their preferred channel.
Overall, the AI chatbot helped Optique Optometrists double down on their mission of affordable eye care, helping keep their contact centre operations efficient without compromising on customer satisfaction thanks to AI-enabled customer service automation.
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