85% chatbot automation saves customer service team 330 hours per month

Varma's chatbot Helmi, built on the LeadDesk's platform gives customers 24/7 access to customer service, provides 85% automation for their customer service team. Helmi allowed Varma to reallocate their customer service professional’s time to focus on more complex tasks as a direct result of chatbot automation.

Results in Brief

400% increase in chat opening hours

Helmi the chatbot allowed Varma to serve customers via chat 24/7.

330 hours saved per month

As a result of chatbot automation, two customer service agents moved to more demanding positions in Varma.

85% chat conversations fully automated

In past six months, Varma's chatbot deflected nine percent more conversations from 76% to 85%

The Background: About Varma

Varma is a pension insurance company. They invest pension contributions for their 900k customers, have paid out €5.9b in pensions, and currently have a 12% return on investment. Their mission statement begins with “You will receive a pension” and they complete their vision by saying “We support you in a world that’s going through incredible change.”


The Need: Serve Customers More Effectively With Chatbots That Automate Common Issues 24/7

Varma uses live chat on their website and, in 2017, identified that their support agents spent a lot of time on recurring issues asked by their customers. In the interest of improving customer experience and alleviating menial tasks for their support agents, Varma wanted to:


  • automate frequently asked questions
  • free up customer service agent time for more demanding customer issues
  • extend service hours
  • increase customer satisfaction

Solution: easy-to-use LeadDesk chatbot with advanced language skills

Varma evaluated the chatbot options on the market and, for 2018, chose to implement a LeadDesk chatbot in their chat to resolve recurring issues automatically and to provide a 24/7 service to their customers.

LeadDesk offered a number of distinct differentiators when choosing a suitable chatbot provider: it integrates fully with giosg, Varma’s live chat provider; and it fully supports developing chatbots for the intricate Finnish language. “LeadDesk is easy-to-use, can be deployed quickly and does not require technical skills,” adds Tiina Kurki, Senior Vice-President, Pension Services and IT.


After a training period with their LeadDesk customer success manager, four of Varma’s customer service agents became bot whisperers and built their chatbot, Helmi, teaching her for about one day per week.

Two years on the job, Helmi is a part of the customer service team, and even has a place on the Org chart. Each week, all answered questions are reviewed and new answers are taught on a continuous basis. Bot whisperers now typically use only a few hours per week on maintaining Helmi.

"LeadDesk's chatbot is easy-to-use, can be deployed quickly and does not require technical skills."

Tiina Kurki Senior Vice-President, Pension Services and IT

The result: Helmi saves time and changes the nature of phone service

Before Helmi went live, Varma’s customer support team wanted to ensure that she could solve as many frequent issues as possible immediately. They compiled a list of 200 issues to teach Helmi and were able to hit an average of 60% automation in the first six months.

As Helmi interacted with customers more, the bot whisperers discovered 100 more common issues to add to her skills and now has an average 85% automation rate. Helmi’s knowledge takes into account the complexities and richness of the Finnish language.

Helmi’s ability to solve a vast number of pension issues or questions has resulted in more informed customers.


In numbers: Helmi the chatbot over 24 months



“Our LeadDesk chatbot, Helmi, complements our customer service department,” says Tiina Kurki, “the quality of our telephone customer service has changed; common issues are reduced, while calls requiring human expertise are dominating.” 

Varma’s customer service team has become far more efficient since the introduction of Helmi. As a direct result of LeadDesk chatbot automation, they have been able to reduce their customer service team by two members, moving them to other, more demanding positions within the company.

Customers have also been pleased with the answers received from Helmi; “as a rule, really good feedback, and we must consider many of our customers are from a generation more used to phone calls than chat boxes on websites,” Tiina adds.


Future Plans

In December 2019, Varma piloted with a chatbot-only approach in their work pension customer service, without having the option of transferring to a customer service agent. Before the pilot they ensured:

  • that Helmi could answer most questions on her own (79% of all chat conversations)
  • to add more answers to Helmi so that she could serve a wider audience


After completing the pilot, Helmi’s automation rate had increased to 85% as she had been taught to resolve more issues in the first answer to the customer, i.e., a higher first response resolution rate. 

Varma’s team also found that that customer service agents are happier from the increased responsibilities given to Helmi, and that customers did not notice a difference in the customer service they experienced, with the chatbot-only approach and no live chat backup.

They will be studying the results and examining possible future options for chatbot automation through 2020.

About the contributor

Tiina Kurki works as Senior Vice-President, Pension Services and IT at Varma. 

She’s a member of Varma’s Executive Group since 2012. 

You can reach out to Tiina via her personal LinkedIn.

Feel free to try out Varma’s chatbot on their website.

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