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Customer serviceFebruary 3, 2020

DEFRA Microchip Database Reduces Support Enquiries by 22%

Product used: FAQ chatbot.

Our client is Microchip Central, a DEFRA-compliant pet microchip database. Their business operates as an e-commerce store selling microchips and storing pet keeper details relating to the microchip number.

The client’s customers typically belong to one of four groups:

  • Pet breeders, specifically dog breeders who are legally required to ensure that pets they sell are microchipped and registered on a DEFRA-compliant database.
  • Microchip implanters, who may also be pet breeders and are trained to implant and register microchips.
  • Vets, also responsible for implanting microchips and in most situations, registering the microchips on a database.
  • New owners, who are ultimately responsible for their pet being microchipped and registered to their name and address.

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The problems

44% of UK households own a pet (source), all with different knowledge of the microchipping law and IT literacy to fulfil their obligation. Adding to this the multiple customer types involved in the process of purchasing, registering or updating information relating to a microchip, it proved difficult for our client to deliver relevant information to each customer type.

As a result, inbound enquiries surged to over 100 enquiries per day, 23% of which fell outside 9am-5pm working hours.

A customer service team with just two employees struggled to keep up with enquiries, with an average enquiry taking 7.35 minutes to resolve.

Customer knowledge is also an issue for the client; customers falling under the 'new owner' category, for example, are less likely to have the understanding of how to register or transfer a pet into their details, or keep their details up to date.

27% of enquiries related to new owners wanting to understand the process of transfer a pet’s microchip record into their name and address. As a result, the information available to them through the website was squandered.


The solution

Our primary goal was to reduce the number of inbound customer enquiries by making the website better equipped for self-service.

Where customers still need to speak with the service team, we wanted to supply the team with the customer’s information to improve their ability to assist the customer. The customer’s user ID, microchip number, and brief explanation of the enquiry, for example, would help the service rep understand the customer’s situation without taking the time to ask themselves.

Finally, the solution must be available 24/7. Many of our client's customers enquire outside of typical working hours, so customer service is most needed at these times.

To solve these issues, we created a customer service chatbot capable to answer queries around the clock and present the relevant information in a digestible format. This chatbot helps both time-restricted and less informed customers gain product knowledge at a time which suits them.


The outcome

The chatbot, loaded with an extensive knowledge base, answered customers 24/7 and managed to reduce our client’s customer service workload.

12 weeks after implementing their chatbot, our client found a 22% reduction in enquiries hitting the customer service team’s inbox.

38% of chatbot enquiries were asked outside the 9-5 working hours and staggeringly our client experienced a 11% increase in revenue during this time of the day. These incredible results only encouraged our client to dig deeper.

Nick Brummitt, founder and CEO at Microchip Central, says:

We were shocked by the results we experienced with the chatbot approach. Not only did the number of enquiries drop, we also noticed an 11% increase in revenue during out of hours, when our chatbot is most active.

What next?

The data presented following the chatbot’s initial launch unearthed new and interesting challenges.

For example, some topics need different answers depending on the type of customer (breeder, vet, owner, or implanter). How can we serve these four distinct customer types with the same level of accuracy?

To solve this new challenge, we will create in-depth conversational paths for each target customer. We will make clever use to conversational trees and natural language processing to drive the conversation and assist the user, rather than relying on them to provide all the information.

Gathering data to identify additional challenge like this is a foundational part of our proof of concept chatbots; learn, tweak, and adjust in real time.

Is your customer service department struggling to keep up with demand? Talk to one of our experts to find out how a chatbot could help.


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"ubisend can be relied upon to provide clear and accurate communication, no question is considered ‘too small’ and all questions are answered in a timely, accurate manner."

Chris Amos, project manager at Archant Limited