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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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

The Race to Game Day: Creative Virtual USA Takes on Extra Life 2016

20 Oct 2016

Extra Life

By Eileen Stall, KB Manager, Creative Virtual USA

While the team here at Creative Virtual USA has been focused on finishing the year strong, we are very excited to take a timeout for Extra Life! For those of you who may not have caught our blog post or live stream last year, Extra Life is a 24-hour gaming marathon which has been raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® since 2008. What makes them special? Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Read more

The Role of AI in our Commercial Future

18 Oct 2016

Social Robotics & AI

By Liam Ryan, Head of Sales

Back in 2001 I had the privilege of meeting Professor Noel Sharkey when he was a judge and I was a contestant on Robot Wars. Fifteen years later, I again had the pleasure of speaking with him when Creative Virtual sponsored the Social Robotics & AI conference. Noel and Creative Virtual’s Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel, were just two of the industry experts that presented as part of the event held at Oxford Brookes University in September.

This was the first year for this conference which aimed to unite the scientific community, business leaders and builders of human capital to discuss the role of AI in our commercial future. Read more

Ground-Breaking Technology That Improves the Way You Do Business

12 Oct 2016

2016 Technology Innovator Awards blog

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

2016 has been, and continues to be, a big year for us at Creative Virtual. Today I’m proud to share the news that we’re the recipient of two 2016 Technology Innovator Awards: ‘Most Innovative Customer Engagement Platform’ and ‘Best for Virtual Agent Technology’! Acknowledging that technology has revolutionised the corporate landscape, Corporate Vision’s 2016 Technology Innovator Awards recognise and reward the individuals, departments and firms behind the ground-breaking developments that change the way we do business for the better. This is the second year Creative Virtual has been recognised in multiple categories.

The customer experience landscape is constantly evolving, and I feel strongly that if vendors in this space aren’t continuously innovating they aren’t doing their job. Read more

3 Examples of How Automated Chat Agents Create an Effortless Customer Journey

11 Oct 2016

automated chat agents

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

Some organizations still view their customer communications in a linear fashion, with a definitive start and end point. But as thought leaders like McKinsey and others have pointed out, customers today often have a much more dynamic journey while researching a sales decision or requesting support. There are several reasons automated chat agents are the perfect complement for these complex customer pursuits.

  1. Automated chat agents are unstructured

Automated virtual agents don’t require customers to read a menu and try to decide which category their problem fits into. Customers don’t have to listen to a phone recording to select the proper department or option. Read more

#CXDay: Bridging the Gap for Great Customer Experiences

05 Oct 2016

Ravine Flyer II

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Happy CX Day! Today marks the 4th annual CX Day, a global celebration of great customer experience and the professionals who make it happen. There’s no escaping the fact that customer experience has become a key factor in customer purchasing decisions, often even outweighing price. And to say that delivering a positive experience can be challenging is certainly an understatement!

I was recently reading a blog post from Gartner about improving the customer experience by creating bridges between silos of engagement (more on that later), and it brought to mind a story about Waldameer Park, a small, family-run amusement park along the shores of Lake Erie in the US. Read more

The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards: Local Boy Makes it Big!

04 Oct 2016

The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards 2016

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Back in July we received the exciting news that Creative Virtual had been shortlisted for The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards, a new awards programme celebrating the hard work and ingenuity of companies in Canary Wharf, in the category of Medium-to-Large Business. On my walk back to our offices after my interview with the judges, I was reminiscing about the Wharf, growing up on the Isle of Dogs and starting the company here nearly thirteen years ago. It all made me feel like my own ‘hometown kid does good’ story!

Last week Liam, our Head of Sales in the UK, donned his tux (a little reluctantly!) and joined me for the glittering black tie dinner and awards ceremony at the Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf. Read more

It’s Time to Celebrate Customer Service Week

03 Oct 2016

Customer Service Week

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Happy Customer Service Week! Today starts the annual week-long international celebration of the importance of customer service and the role it plays in successful business practice. This week we recognise all the hard work customer service professionals do to serve and support customers on a daily basis. Every good customer service professional knows that if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will – and that someone else is going to be your competitor.

Delivering excellent customer service and support is a team effort, from employees that interact with customers face-to-face to live agents working in the contact centre to those responsible for developing and maintaining self-service solutions. Read more

Messaging Apps: Over 3 Billion Users and Counting

29 Sep 2016

SMS and messenger apps

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Times are a-changin’. After a transatlantic phone call with me several years ago, my now 94-year-old grandfather marvelled to my parents about how clear the line was and how easy it was to understand what I was saying. It was nothing like the international calls he used to get from his sister many, many years earlier! Compare that with the expectations of my 4-year-old niece. I recently had to explain to her what a payphone is (or was!). For her, it’s normal to be able to FaceTime with me even if we have the Atlantic Ocean between us. Read more

6 Foolproof Customer Engagement Strategies Using Chatbots

28 Sep 2016

Chatbot customer engagement

By Frank Schneider, VP of Sales, North America

Since the rise of AI applications in the business world, chatbots’ influence on customer engagement has been a hot topic. Enterprises using or considering AI virtual assistants must have an effective plan for improving customer engagement.

Below are a few tips to help your virtual agents create a first-class customer experience.

  1. Start with mobile

Many large, older organizations make the mistake of believing that their virtual assistants should be configured first and foremost for desktop use. However, Google announced in 2015 that mobile had surpassed desktop in search traffic in several large countries. Read more

It’s Time to Embrace Digital Channels and Build Smart Help

27 Sep 2016

Executive Interview

By Patrick Gallagher, Managing Director ANZ & North Asia

In my over 30 years of involvement in contact centres, IVR and customer experience applications, I’ve experienced companies investing millions in their contact centres to provide support to customers calling to purchase, enquire, complain, apply or seek assistance. Traditionally this has been the ‘tried-and-tested’ option as companies continued to invest in their contact centre in order to build their customer support capability. But, as customers have moved to digital channels, this approach is no longer enabling organisations to meet their customers’ expectations.

I drew on this experience in my recent Executive Interview with CRMXchange to discuss the growing popularity of online self-service and ensuring customers can resolve issues with minimal effort. Read more

Mission Accomplished: Our 10k for RSPCA

22 Sep 2016

2016 RunTen

By Maria Ward, Account Manager/ Knowledgebase Engineer

We did it! I’m proud to report that on Sunday, 18th September Alessandro, Tracey, Chris, David, Jeff, Kristina, Andre, Rachel and I completed the RunTen 10k in support of RSPCA!

Race day finally arrived after all our training and preparation, and we’d arranged to meet in Richmond Park at 8:15 am. Everyone had their own personal goals in mind, and I was no different with a goal of finishing in under 50 minutes. I was beginning to feel a little nervous!

After some mandatory photos, we joined the queue for the start of the race. Participants were set off in batches of around 50 to avoid overcrowding and this worked really well.  It meant there wasn’t the usual start-of-race scramble. Read more

5 Overlooked Benefits of Personalized Virtual Agent Software

20 Sep 2016

Personalized Virtual Agents

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

Everyone knows that virtual agents are an excellent customer service resource. A top-notch AI virtual assistant can reduce the load on your support staff, keep your branding consistent, and help prevent tickets from getting escalated to higher levels.

Yet there are some benefits of a virtual agent chatbot that aren’t as obvious. These lesser-known benefits can bring greater success and higher performance to several facets of your business.

  1. Speed of resolution improves

Over the years, the abilities of AI virtual assistants have gotten closer to the intelligence of live agents. It’s much easier for chatbots to resolve a larger scope of issues, which historically would otherwise have to escalate to a human agent. Read more

Running Through the Pain: Our 10k for RSPCA

14 Sep 2016

Creative Virtual's 10k for RSPCA

By Maria Ward, Account Manager/ Knowledgebase Engineer

On Sunday, 18th September 2016 a 10 member team from Creative Virtual will be running the London Duathlon RunTen in support of RSPCA. I’ll be joining David, Laura, Kristina, Alessandro and Chris (pictured above modelling our official running kit!) and Rachel, Jeff, Andre and Tracey in the 10k taking place in beautiful Richmond Park, the largest of London’s eight Royal Parks. We’ve all been training over the past few months, taking part in our Wednesday Running Club when we can, and fitting our own runs into busy schedules while also working on our fundraising efforts. Read more

5 Questions to Ask About Digital Customer Service Improvement Plans

13 Sep 2016

Digital Customer Service

By Scott Tompkins, Enterprise Account Executive, Creative Virtual USA

Of the many opportunities provided to the business world with so many digitally connected consumers, some of the most exciting are in the realm of customer service. Digital tools allow us to serve customers better than ever before – as long as you choose the right solution and engage the right experts to help deliver on its promise.

If you’re considering implementing a new digital customer service improvement plan, ask a provider the following questions to gain a clearer sense of how they can help you take better care of your customers:

  1. What’s the expected cost per resolution?
Read more

Smart Help, Digital Customer Experience and AI: A Week of Events

08 Sep 2016

smart help, digital CX and AI

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Next week will be busy for the Creative Virtual team as we take part in five different events around the world. From the largest Digital CX event in North America to a world-first conference investigating the science of AI and its impact on business to industry events hosted by two of our partner companies, our schedule includes a little something for everyone. Read on for more information on each. . .


INTERACTIONS APAC 2016, Gold Coast, Australia

On 13-15 September, we’ll be exhibiting for a second year at Interactive Intelligence’s annual INTERACTIONS APAC conference. This event, being held at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, will connect attendees with customer experience leaders and experts through visionary keynotes, actionable learning sessions and networking opportunities. Read more

A Vision of Seamless, Fully-Integrated, End-to-End Customer Engagement

23 Aug 2016

V-Perston Live Chat

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Today is a truly momentous day, and a very proud one, for all of us at Creative Virtual. Our vision has always been to offer organisations the technology to enable seamless, fully-integrated, end-to-end customer engagement, and to back that technology with the experience of an expert, knowledgeable team. Once we established ourselves as independently recognised leaders in the virtual customer assistant (VCA) space, we underpinned all our channel support with our critically-acclaimed V-Portal™ (knowledge management, workflow management and business intelligence) platform. Today we realised our vision with the official launch of our newest product: V-Person Live Chat™. Read more