Blog

Welcome to the Creative Virtual blog! Here we cover all of the hot customer experience topics in mobile, social, web, IVR and so much more. We also share company announcements, details about upcoming events and give you a peek into what happens behind the scenes.

Our regular contributors have over 90 years of combined experience specifically with customer engagement, natural language virtual assistants and knowledge management. When you add in the experience of our guest authors and the other Creative Virtual team members who occasionally contribute, there is no better place to get expert insight.

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Breakthrough CX Innovations that Create Customer Delight

30 Mar 2017

customer delight

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

“Customers are increasingly starting their support journeys online and leveraging self-service options, but that doesn’t mean that the need for live agents will disappear. Instead organisations need to implement the right combination of virtual and real support and integrate those channels properly in order to provide personalised and seamless support for customers.”

– Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO, Creative Virtual

On Thursday, 6th April 2017 at 7:00 pm UK/ 2:00 pm ET CRMXchange will host a Tech Tank Roundtable webinar titled Customer Delight: Live Demonstrations of Breakthrough Innovations. The live webcast will feature a panel of industry experts, including Creative Virtual’s Chris Ezekiel, showcasing emerging customer experience solutions that are beginning to impact the contact centre. Read more

From Novelty to Proven Self-Service Tool: Creating the Best Virtual Assistant Solutions

29 Mar 2017

Best Virtual Assistant Solutions

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

When I founded Creative Virtual over 13 years ago, virtual assistant and chatbot software was still very much in its infancy. We were a pioneer in the industry and over the years have played a key role in the development and adoption of this technology. It has been exciting to experience first-hand the evolution of these solutions from being considered a novelty in the early days to now being a tried and tested tool employed by large enterprises around the world for providing digital self-service.

Over the years, the ingenuity and dedication of the Creative Virtual team has enabled us to improve the conversational abilities of our V-Person™ virtual agents through advances in natural language processing and AI. Read more

AI Costs People Their Jobs!!!

24 Mar 2017

AI Revolution

By Mike Murphy, COO, Creative Virtual USA

You’ve seen the “Technologists” and “Futurists” with their neon-framed spectacles warning us that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Revolution is going to put all of us out of work. Well…maybe they were right this time! We saw a couple of big news stories just in the last couple of months…first IBM Watson devoured some poor souls at MD Anderson and PWC, then Facebook lost a few fingers in the chatbot gears. The robots did indeed take some jobs…but not in the way the Futurists predicted. These folks were technology casualties because they were operating under the premise that their technology alone can do great things. Read more

Live Chat vs. Virtual Agents: A Story of Overcoming the Divide to Work Together in Perfect Harmony

10 Mar 2017

live chat & virtual agents

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

In the not too distant past it wasn’t uncommon to come across organisations struggling to decide between using live chat or a virtual agent on their website for customer support. The customer service marketplace took a very polarised view of these technologies with proponents of each making strong arguments for why their preferred solution was the best for cutting costs, boosting revenue and bettering the customer experience. Even today, some companies still view this as an either-or decision: either they give customers the option to get support online from human chat agents through live chat or they provide a virtual agent so that customers can self-serve online through automated chat. Read more

Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Business Disruption

21 Feb 2017

Internet of Things

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) gained a lot of attention last year and are poised to be hot topics again this year. More than just buzzwords, both have been identified as drivers of business disruption in 2017. In fact, many industry experts and researchers feel that IoT needs AI in order to successfully achieve business growth and transformation.

IoT is sometimes referred to as the driver of the fourth Industrial Revolution by industry insiders and has triggered technological changes that span a wide range of fields. In 2015 Gartner forecasted there would be 20.8 billion connected things in use worldwide by 2020, but more recent predictions put the 2020 figure at over 50 billion devices. Read more

Improving the Customer and Employee Experience with Live Chat Innovation

03 Feb 2017

National Innovation Awards Live Chat

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Last year Creative Virtual officially introduced our new live chat product, V-Person Live Chat™, to the market and realised our vision of offering organisations the technology to enable seamless, fully-integrated, end-to-end customer engagement. That was an important milestone for the company, and since then we’ve been proud to see organisations use this technology both as a way to improve their customer service as well as to provide better employee support internally.

This week V-Person Live Chat earned us a spot as a finalist in the UK National Innovation Awards’ Live Chat category. Created by the Directors’ Club United Kingdom, the National Innovation Awards recognise business technology innovations and their impact on customer experience, employee engagement, operations performance, product creation and profitable growth. Read more

CXM 2017: Meeting New CX Challenges in India

26 Jan 2017

smartphone users in india

By Shantanu Purandare, Executive Director, India

According to a recent study, the number of internet users in India is expected to reach 600 million by 2020, nearly double the approximately 343 million users currently. A big factor in this growth is the increasing availability and adoption of smartphones. As the world’s second largest mobile phone market, India is predicted to see a growth from 240 million smartphone subscriptions to 520 million by 2020. With more and more customers becoming digitally connected, companies in India are facing new challenges when it comes to building a happy, loyal customer base.

For this reason, creating world-class customer experiences for digitally inspired and demanding customers is the focus of Customer Experience Management 2017, India’s largest customer experience event. Read more

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Message You

19 Jan 2017

messaging platforms

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

There is an advertisement by an insurance company I’ve heard several times recently in which the announcer is reading ‘A Young Person’s Guide to Adulting’. It starts with the all-important ‘you must wear pants’ and ends with the necessity of having an insurance plan. But it’s the tip shared between those two that caught my attention – you can make calls with your smartphone.

This is, of course, a humorous way of trying to sell insurance policies, but it also hits on an important societal trend that has shifted the way we communicate with each other. Read more

The Future of the Contact Centre

12 Jan 2017

future of the contact centre

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Much has been written over the last several years about Millennials and their customer service preferences. One article I read recently discussed the irony of the millennial generation’s hatred of making phone calls, despite them constantly using their phones. Another credited their digitally native approach to customer service for bringing about better customer experiences for all of us. The fact of the matter is, Millennials and the generation following them, sometimes referred to as iGen, are used to having instant access to information and prefer to find answers on their own rather than interacting with a live person. Read more

CX in 2017: A Tale of Empowered Customers, AI and Self-Service

10 Jan 2017

customer experience

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

For many the end of 2016 couldn’t come soon enough, with the dawn of the New Year bringing a fresh start and a clean slate. Yet, according to Forrester, companies are starting 2017 under attack. While traditionally we would think of this pressure as coming from competitors, today’s organisations are under attack from their customers. Forrester Analyst and Vice President Dane Anderson explains:

“Three years ago, Forrester identified a major shift in the market, ushering in the age of the customer. Power has shifted away from companies and towards digitally savvy, technology-empowered customers who now decide winners and losers.”

For example, Forrester identifies consumers in Asia Pacific as changing along five key dimensions:

  • Increasingly willing to experiment
  • Reliant on technology
  • Inclined to integrate digital and physical experiences
  • Able to handle large volumes of information
  • Determined to create the best experiences for themselves

Forrester has found these key points to explain evolving customer trends and increased customer empowerment. Read more

Providing Both CX Expertise and Technological Innovation

05 Jan 2017

customer experience consulting

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

The customer experience landscape is constantly changing, and perhaps never more so than it is as we enter 2017. In my extensive travels I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of customer experience discussions with professionals from many industries in regions around the world, and they universally are faced with the issue of how to meet increasing customer demands. New advances and innovations in technology will certainly be a key factor in helping organisations rise to these challenges, but is that enough?

There’s no doubt in my mind that the answer to that question is a resounding ‘No’. Read more

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

21 Dec 2016

Merry Christmas

With the end of 2016 nearly here, we wanted to say thank you to all our blog readers, customers and partners for making this Creative Virtual’s best year yet!

It’s been an exciting year for us and the customer service space with a renewed interest in chatbots and virtual agents. From the addition of two new products to our suite of Smart Help solutions to being recognised by The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards to attending a record number of industry events around the world, 2016 has been a year to remember.

On behalf of the entire Creative Virtual team around the globe, we wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Read more

A Look Back: 2016 in Review

15 Dec 2016

2016 in review

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

It’s that time once again to take a look back at the year and marvel at just how much we, our customers and our partners have managed to fit into 11 and a half months. This has been an exciting year not only for us at Creative Virtual, but also for the self-service industry with a renewed interest and media buzz around chatbots. So let’s take a look at some of the highlights of 2016.

This year we launched two new products to the market: V-Person Service Desk™ in March and V-Person Live Chat™ in August. Read more

Technology That Saves Time, the Most Important Resource of All

13 Dec 2016

save customers time

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

As we quickly approach the end of 2016, I’m excited to share the news that Creative Virtual has been recognised with two 2016 Softech Business Awards: ‘Best Self-Service CX Technology Company 2016’ and ‘Most Innovative Enterprise CX Management Solution: V-Person™’! Softech Intl Magazine’s 2016 Business Awards is a new awards programme designed to commend industry leaders who are dedicated to changing their field and fundamentally saving time, the most important resource of all.

For nearly 13 years the team at Creative Virtual has worked to develop, implement and constantly improve our self-service technology. It’s an honour to be called the best and to be recognised for our dedication to innovation. Read more

What to Consider When Deploying Chatbots

06 Dec 2016

chatbot

By Mike Murphy, VP of Customer Success, Creative Virtual USA

Launching a new digital customer service and sales solution can be equal parts exciting and intimidating, especially if your company is new to alternative digital care and sales solutions. But deploying chatbots to lower customer effort and improve the speed at which they can get the help they need isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure an easy, successful chatbot launch:

  1. Build from Customer Conversations, not FAQs

Your chatbot is designed to have conversations with your customers – not to dispense one-sided lectures. Read more

Customer Demands Driving Push for Self-Service in APAC

01 Dec 2016

APCCAL Expo

By Philip Chuck, Territory General Manager, Greater China

Customer experience is a hot topic for organisations around the world, and that’s certainly no different for those in the APAC region. Customers are demanding anytime, anywhere support, and companies are looking for effective ways to meet those demands. This was reflected in our busy industry event schedule here in Hong Kong during November.

At the beginning of the month, Creative Virtual sponsored the Asia Pacific Contact Centre Association Leaders (APCCAL) Expo for a second year alongside our partner Continuous Technologies. Hosted by the Hong Kong Call Centre Association (HKCCA) at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, this year’s event theme of ‘Omnichannel Customer Experience’ really resonated with the APAC contact centre professionals in attendance. Read more

A Chatbot Customer Service Deployment and Results for Large Hotel Chain

29 Nov 2016

hotel chatbot

By Scott Tompkins, Enterprise Account Executive, Creative Virtual USA

Not sure if chatbots are right for you? Those on the fence often find it helpful to see the real world results that other organizations have achieved from using an AI virtual assistant. One Creative Virtual client took a bold approach to chatbot deployment, allowing them to see immediate gains in their digital deflection rate while lowering their expenditures.

The situation before chatbots

The client, a large international hotel company, was looking for a way to make customer service more efficient and free up support staff to handle more complicated matters. Because of the organization’s complexity and many different subsidiaries operating worldwide, they needed an intelligent solution that was capable of handling many different types of problems. Read more

5 Common Misconceptions About Chatbots

23 Nov 2016

chatbots

By Alexandra Clements, Sales Support Specialist, Creative Virtual USA

Any relatively new technology usually comes with many questions. Chatbots are no exception – uncertainty and disinformation about AI virtual agents are abundant, but that doesn’t mean these solutions aren’t valuable.

Here are five misconceptions about chatbots and the real story behind each one:

  1. Your chatbot solution needs to be extremely comprehensive before launch

Many first-time chatbot users make the mistake of limiting the way they deploy their virtual agents. These users believe that an imperfect solution is unacceptable – their virtual assistant must be able to address almost any question or concern before it goes live. Read more

Virtual Agents and Chatbots and Avatars – Confusing or What!

16 Nov 2016

chatbots and virtual agents

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone involved with customer service, marketing, customer engagement or sales who hasn’t heard something about chatbots this year. Along with all the attention and media buzz has come a wave of confusion for the marketplace. What’s the difference between a chatbot and a virtual agent? Should I be jumping on the bandwagon and offering a chatbot on Facebook Messenger? What do my customers actually want from a self-service virtual agent? Are bots just a passing fad for engaging my customers?

If any (or all!) of these questions left you scratching your head, don’t worry.  You’re certainly not alone. Read more

Empowering Call Centre Agents: “If you don’t know, ask Mo!”

02 Nov 2016

call centre

By Rachel Freeman, Head of Operations

“If you don’t know, ask Mo.” This is the slogan I heard repeated by at least one of the very able Motability Operations trainers as they were training a new group of recruits during my recent site visit.

This is not a throw away comment! Ask Mo – the Motability Operations self-help tool used by 200 of their advisor/call agents – is the essential tool for a new recruit as notetaking in training is not encouraged and manuals are no longer distributed. The focus is about “empowerment” to know where to access the knowledge as opposed to making sure that all the knowledge is recalled. Read more