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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What’s the Point of Contact Deflection?

18 Jul 2017

contact deflection

By Björn Gülsdorff, Head of Business Development

Contact Deflection – is there a reason why so many companies have this as an objective? Well, our clients tell us what their goals and pain points are, but I can’t help thinking that treating one’s contact centre as a cost centre is past its prime. Also, if you want to make money, contact with your customers is a good thing. At least, that was my theory.

I was therefore quite happy to be able to speak in front of the Call Center Verband (Call Centre Association) in Halle, Germany, as well as meet the European customer service directors of the Deutsche Telekom AG at their gathering in Budapest. Read more

Infographic: Are Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence Threats to Your Contact Centre?

13 Jul 2017

AI threat to contact centre infographic

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Some academics and experts are warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) – predicting everything from a huge loss of jobs to the end of the human race. At the same time, industry analysts are predicting significant increases in chatbots and virtual agents in the customer service space. So what does this mean for your contact centre? Should you approach chatbots and virtual agents as threats? Are contact centres about to become completely automated?

Check out the new infographic below for a realistic overview of the impact AI, chatbots and virtual agents are having on the contact centre. Read more

“Keeping it real with chatbots” – Impressions from the Chatbot Summit

11 Jul 2017

Chatbot Summit Berlin

By Björn Gülsdorff, Head of Business Development

“Your talk was the most down to earth”, an attendee wrote me via the event’s messaging app after I had delivered my keynote “A Hybrid Approach to Machine Learning” at the Chatbot Summit in Berlin.

Now, is that good or bad for a keynote? Shouldn’t I have been breath-taking or ground-breaking or both – instead of down to earth?

Gaging by the talks we had later at our booth, it was a compliment. Creators of chatbots, as well as potential buyers, were happy to see a way out of the current AI craze where unsupervised machine learning seems to be the one and only solution and the power of the human brain is overlooked – and which requires enormous amounts of groomed, relevant data. Read more

AI, Chatbots and the Threat to Your Contact Centre

27 Jun 2017

live chat customer support

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Warnings abound about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) and smart robots, with industry and academic experts such as Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates expressing concerns about everything from a huge loss of jobs to the end of the human race. Yet in a recent interview with the BBC, Garry Kasparov, chess grandmaster and keynote speaker at last year’s Social Robotics & AI conference, said this:

“Intelligent machines will not make us obsolete but our complacency might.”

So, should we be worried about intelligent machines taking over the world and triggering the end of life as we know it? Read more

Calling All Chatbot Enthusiasts to Berlin!

20 Jun 2017

Chatbot Summit

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Chatbots will take centre stage – along with the Development & AI Stage and the Product & UX Stage! – in Berlin next week at the Chatbot Summit. In its second year, the summit will bring together industry experts, established vendors, new start-ups and chatbot enthusiasts for a day of keynote presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities on Monday, 26 June 2017.

Creative Virtual is pleased to be a sponsor of this year’s summit and to have Björn Gülsdorff, our Head of Business Development, joining the list of esteemed event speakers. Björn’s keynote presentation, Enterprise Chatbots: Taking a Hybrid Approach to Machine Learning, is scheduled for the afternoon on the Development & AI Stage. Read more

APPEX Omnichannel Takes Home Top Catalyst Honours at TM Forum Live! 2017

06 Jun 2017

TM Forum Live! 2017

By Liam Ryan, Head of Sales

Enhancing the omnichannel customer experience should be a goal of every company, but we all know how challenging this can be when it comes to the reality of designing and implementing a consistent and seamless experience. That’s why at Creative Virtual we’re excited to be participating in the APPEX Omnichannel Catalyst as part of TM Forum’s Catalyst Project. And we’re proud to share that the project recently took home the ‘Outstanding Performance’ award in the Customer Centricity & Analytics stream of the Catalyst Program at TM Forum Live! 2017 in Nice, France!

First, a little about TM Forum and the Catalyst Program. Read more

Team Animal Takes on the British 10K for RSPCA

25 May 2017

Creative Virtual Running Club

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

On Sunday, 9th July 2017 a five-member team from Creative Virtual – Rachel, Tracey, Alex, Kristina and myself – will dust off our running shoes and take part in the British 10K to raise money for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). With only about 6 weeks to go until the race, we’ll be stepping up our training and our fundraising efforts. Here are some thoughts on the upcoming run from Tracey and myself:

Tracey running the 10KTracey says: “This will be my third time participating in a 10K. Well, I say participating because with time it’s now better for me to walk than to run because my knees just can’t handle the extra pressure of running. Read more

Conversational Commerce for Demanding APAC Customers

23 May 2017

HKCCA International Symposium

By Philip Chuck, Territory General Manager, Greater China

Effortless, Accurate, Seamless, Effective. When it comes to customer service, this is what customers expect. Yet putting the right technology, process and people in place to delight customers presents challenges for companies. This sparked insightful discussions during the 2017 Hong Kong Call Centre Association (HKCCA) International Symposium on 28 April.

One hot topic was the growth of conversational systems – chatbots and virtual assistants – in Asia Pacific. Creative Virtual Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel, addressed this in his presentation titled Taking Your Contact Centre into the Future with EASE. He talked about the changes contact centres need to make to meet customer expectations, including best practices for bringing together chatbots and virtual agents with live chat. Read more

Creative Virtual Continues 2017 Digital CX Road Tour – Chicago and Now Indy!

18 May 2017

CX event

By Christina Wilson, Director of Customer Success, Creative Virtual USA

May began with several of our Executive team members traveling to Chicago for the Argyle CX event last week. This was our second time attending the event and again, we were not disappointed by the success we found in the numerous conversations that took place. This year we had the opportunity to Sponsor the event and had the privilege of hearing a great panel that also included one of our very own, Frank Schneider, VP of Customer Experience Solutions. Simultaneously, our sales team attended the Forrester Digital Transformation 2017, also in Chicago, to pick up strategies on innovation and growth in the digital enterprise. Read more

The Era of Intelligent Assistants is Here

10 May 2017

Intelligent Assistants Conference

By Laura Ludmany, Knowledgebase Engineer

As an introduction of the Intelligent Assistants Conference held in London on the 4th and 5th of May, Dan Miller and Derek Top of Opus Research agreed that the era of intelligent assistants, chatbots, and AI has arrived. The biggest catalyst of this was Facebook, when its Messenger platform was opened to chatbots and virtual assistants in 2016. Since then, millions of chatbots can be found on that platform.

In the professional field – in which we tend to use the terms intelligent assistants and virtual agents – machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) are basics. Read more

Creative Virtual’s Annual Digital CX Executive Roundtable Continues Tradition of Connecting Digital Transformation Peers

09 May 2017

Digital CX Roundtable

By Rick Hancock, Enterprise Account Executive, Creative Virtual USA

People were laughing, telling stories, sharing real world experiences amongst their peers at last month’s Creative Virtual 3rd Annual Digital CX Executive Roundtable in NYC.

Tuesday, April 18th kicked off the two-day event. Attendees met at an exclusive cabaret performance that brought us all back to the fun of the Prohibition era. Delicious “in theme” cocktails were delivered to your seat, at pace, in between each skit, which certainly helped get the party started quickly. The cast were very talented Broadway performers who put on an incredible up-close and personal show for us all. Read more

IAC London 2017: Real use cases and best practices for natural language intelligent assistants

27 Apr 2017

intelligent virtual assistant

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Chatbots continue to be a hot topic for customer service and marketing with more and more organisations beginning to realise the potential benefits of automated conversational systems. The best way to learn about this technology, how it can be implemented and its place in the future of customer experience is to engage with companies already using it and industry experts. Opus Research’s Intelligent Assistants Conference (IAC), returning to London for a second year, offers the opportunity to do just that. The conference will feature a series of keynote addresses, expert panel discussions, case studies and networking opportunities. Read more

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Innovation 2017

21 Apr 2017

The Queen's Awards for Enterprise: Innovation 2017

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Today, on the Queen’s birthday, I’m thrilled to share the news with the world that Creative Virtual is the winner of The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Innovation 2017! Receiving the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is an incredible and humbling honour for the entire Creative Virtual team as well as a wonderful recognition of the innovation we deliver to our customers every day.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the UK’s most prestigious business award for British companies. It recognises UK businesses for outstanding commercial success in four categories, including Innovation. The Innovation Award has been made to Creative Virtual for V-Person™, our virtual agent technology, and V-Portal™, our knowledge management platform. Read more

The Future of CX in Asia Pacific: Effortless, Accurate, Seamless, Effective

19 Apr 2017

Hong Kong Call Centre Associations

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Customers in Asia Pacific are more empowered than ever before and are demanding effortless, accurate, seamless and effective service experiences from companies. Organisations need to move away from the traditional model for call centres that is no longer serving customer needs, and embrace a new approach that enables tight collaboration between the contact centre and digital channels.

This will be the focus of my presentation at the upcoming Hong Kong Call Centre Association (HKCCA) International Symposium being held on 28 April. Creative Virtual will be sponsoring the annual conference alongside our partner company Continuous Technologies International Ltd. Read more

Evolving Customer Expectations and the Contact Centre

11 Apr 2017

live chat customer support

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the contact centre in its current form is finished. The traditional model for call centres and contact centres is no longer providing the service experience that customers want. This was one of the key themes of CRMXchange’s recent Tech Tank Roundtable, Customer Delight: Live Demonstrations of Breakthrough Innovations. I had the pleasure of joining other industry experts from Aspect and inContact to share new customer experience solutions that are impacting the contact centre.

So, what do today’s customers want? First, they want organisations to offer support on digital channels. Read more

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