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Answering to the hands-free farmer: How Farmlands pioneered Amazon Connect for Kiwi agritech

Hands-free, Bluetooth-savvy and constantly on-the-go, New Zealand’s farming community is demanding a ‘digital touch’ as part of the services they seek out.

Farmlands, one of New Zealand’s largest cooperatives and top 20 companies by turnover, has taken heed of the increasingly busy and digitally-connected farmer, and now its market-leading investment in sophisticated telephony systems is paying off.

Partnering with contact centre specialist Digital Island (part of Spark Business Group), Farmlands is one of the first adopters of the Amazon Connect omnichannel communications technology within New Zealand’s agriculture sector. Since the January 2022 deployment, the cooperative has enjoyed a faster and more seamless customer experience.

Farmlands needed flexible new working arrangements for its nationwide customer advisors, to enable them to work from anywhere during lockdowns, and a tool to convert customer call sentiment into actionable insights that improved experiences for on-the-go farmers.

“Such digitisation made sense, given that farmer safety – which is linked to on-farm efficiency– could be ensured through hands-free technology for prompt communication with Farmlands while still tending to animals and physical work,” says Graeme Wilson, Head of Customer Experience, Farmlands.

Since deploying Amazon Connect, Farmlands has experienced a significant uplift in customer resolution, with an 81% First Contact Resolution rate that signals the large majority of customers now reach the right person first time.

Wilson says empowering call customer advisors and customers through the seamless omnichannel platform provides powerful insights that can be converted into customer satisfaction and help to rapidly identify where to focus efforts to improve customer experience.

“Amazon Connect allows us to quickly identify call trends and review customer sentiment so we can respond in near-real time and fix any issues the system detects, whether that be a fuel outage, billing issue or a request for local support. This reduces agent workloads by front-footing any issues via the Interactive Voice Response, which can answer questions that typically need human interaction.”

As a result, average wait time for October 2022 was only 40 seconds, with an abandonment rate of 9%.

“These time-saving efficiencies have also liberated the Customer Hub Team to add even further value to our shareholders through lead generation, which has grown more than 300% since the beginning of 2022, enabling longer and more meaningful conversations and the automatic population of customer details for quick and easy reference.”

Wilson says integrated platforms like D356 allow customer voicemails or call transcriptions to be tagged to a customer’s profile and overall ecosystem, which helps Farmlands to understand its customers better, leading to a more intimate partnership.

“Around 96% of specialist cases in a monthly period were resolved in less than the expected time frame.

“It’s not about pivoting our entire offering, but when you have a good omnichannel solution – such as Amazon Connect - that constantly incorporates micro improvements each week, those time savings accumulate and customers finish their interactions feeling more satisfied, with greater pace and efficiency.

“There’s still a lot more we want to do with an intuitive platform like Amazon Connect, and we look forward to continue working with Digital Island on finessing our offerings and ushering in best-in-class systems with leading technology partners.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about Digital Island’s Amazon Connect capabilities, you can find more information on their website.