Six out of six ain’t bad

Natural language has been hitting the headlines recently and not all of it due to Siri. My current favorite is an internet lie detector that hopefully one day will help check facts in articles. However, like with so many technologies, it’s finding the commercial element that will ultimately determine whether you’ll remember it in two years time or whether it joins the likes of Sinclair C5, Digital Audio Tape and Apple’s Lisa.

Using NLI as the underlying technology that allows online virtual assistants to demonstrate intelligent humanlike behavior has long been the basis to improve online customer satisfaction, understanding customer queries and responding with meaningful, accurate answers.  But what of the commercial model?  Well by diverting a proportion of the queries that would otherwise have been answered by live agents – typically between 25- 30% – higher volumes of queries can be handled by the same number of service agents, delivering a compelling ROI and improving customer service by providing instant, online answers to queries.

So when, in the last few weeks, Artificial Solutions and its customers entered six awards, both the technical and commercial models were already well proven, helping them gain a clean sweep of finalist positions – Best Web Customer Service Category at the Contact Center Awards 2011, Best Use of Technology at the European Customer Service Awards, Best Web and Social Media Solution at the CRC Best Technology Awards, Best Process Improvement Category at the British Quality Foundation (BQF) Achievement Award, Special Award for Innovation at the North of England Excellence Awards and Best Application of Technology at the UK Customer Satisfaction Awards.

Key to Artificial Solutions’ recognition in these awards has been the staggering results that its intelligent virtual assistants have been able to achieve by significantly improving customer service, whilst lowering costs. For example, Telenor Sweden’s “Emma” was developed in response to a rapidly growing network and a need to provide 24/7 online support.  “Emma” is now Telenor’s busiest customer service agent, automatically answering nearly five thousand questions every day.

Another award-winning online virtual assistant powered by Artificial Solutions is “Marta”, who resides on MásMóvil’s website providing information on products and services such as contract rates or promotions and also provides technical support. Using natural language interaction to interpret customer requests, Marta correctly answers over ninety percent of the questions asked by users.

And of course, The Co-operative Banking Group’s Teneo-based internal advisor – christened “Mia”, has enabled their contact center staff to answer calls up to sixty-five percent faster!

With these kinds of return on investment results I am absolutely certain that whilst some NLI applications may not have the commercial model thought through to make them an enduring success, the use of NLI-based online virtual assistants for customer service, sales and mobile applications will continue to go from strength to strength.

And judging by the accolades, others agree too – after all six out of six ain’t bad!

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