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.

And don’t forget to subscribe below to get all of our new posts delivered straight to your Inbox!

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

Attention Marketers: You Could Learn Something from Your Customer Support Colleagues

09 Aug 2016

self-service research

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

“The data is clear: B2B buyers prefer do-it-yourself options for researching products and services prior to purchase. By a factor of three to one, B2B buyers want to self-educate rather than talk to sales representatives to learn about your offerings. The vast majority of B2B buyers will eventually connect with sales when necessary – they just want to be left alone while they do their research.” *

It’s certainly no secret that today’s customers are increasingly turning to low-friction, low-effort self-service options for information and support. But what about B2B buyers? In their recent report How Self-Service Research Changes B2B Marketing, Forrester Research points out that the self-service behaviours we’ve learned as digital consumers are translating over to the approach B2B buyers are taking to make their purchasing decisions. Read more

The Charity Run Season: Our 10k for RSPCA

02 Aug 2016

10k for RSPCA

By Alessandro Giordo, Junior Developer & Support Technician

There are a few months a year in the UK when the sun gets slightly bolder, the city comes to life, and the running shoes come off the shelves. Charity runs, once a complete novelty, are now one of the highlights of the warmer season. There seems to be an unexplainable charity run craze sweeping throughout Europe and the world. Here at Creative Virtual we do not only feel it in the air, but are also inspired to take part and understand why we love them so much.

It is for this reason that we will be participating in RunTen, the London Duathlon’s 10k, on 18th September 2016 to raise money for RSPCA. Read more

Is Your Organization Mature Enough to Implement Chatbots for Customer Service?

26 Jul 2016

Blog Post 6 Is Company Mature

By the Creative Virtual Team

The recent development of AI platforms has brought with it lots of uncertainty. Many companies believe that artificial intelligence tools could help their business, but are unsure if their organization is sophisticated enough to implement such a solution.

While there are some prerequisites for implementing an AI-based virtual assistant in your organization, the barrier to entry is much lower than many believe. As technological developments make AI more advanced, they also make solutions like V-Person™ more accessible to businesses in every industry.

Artificial intelligence for self-service support: past vs. present

When artificial intelligence virtual assistants were in their earliest stages, they required a significant investment of time and capital. Read more

Do Bots and AI Anger Customers? A Balanced View

26 Jul 2016

bots and AI

By the Creative Virtual Team

There’s a widely held belief in the customer service field that bots and artificial intelligence are loathed by customers. Horror stories of unresponsive automated phone menus and clumsy voice recognition float around the web, leading some companies to believe that only human support agents will work for their customers.

How true is this idea? To find out, we need to consider the most fundamental elements of any customer support event.

The premise of automated chat agents annoying customers

Some believe mistakenly that artificial intelligence doesn’t yet have the ability to really understand what a person needs to solve their problem. Read more

Debunking the Myth that Digital Customer Solutions Seem Labor Intensive and Costly to Maintain

26 Jul 2016

Quick Solution

By the Creative Virtual Team

Any company considering a new system that will bring about broad changes to their operation has to think about cost. A valuable business platform has a labor and capital cost involved to install and maintain the system: V-Person™ is no different. However, our solution has a few important characteristics that help you keep maintenance costs lower than you might think.

Data Tracking and Analytics

The key to getting better at a high-volume activity like customer communication is tracking and analyzing data. Our V-Portal™ platform features a powerful reporting functionality that can track metrics like:

  • Call deflection
  • First contact resolution
  • Conversion rates
  • Customer satisfaction levels

You can also use V-Portal’s reporting system to determine which questions or concerns are most common. Read more

The Contact Centre in its Current Form is Finished

21 Jul 2016

contact centre

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Recently I presented Creative Virtual’s fourth annual Technology Innovation Showcase with CRMXchange. As I mention every year, this is one of my favourite webinars to do because it’s mostly live demonstrations with very few slides. Seeing the technology in action is the best way to understand how your organisation can implement these solutions to improve your customer experience.

This year’s webinar, Combining the Virtual and the Real for Customer Engagement Success, focused mostly on bringing together virtual agents and live chat. I started my presentation with some recent statistics from Forrester showing the growing usage of virtual agents and live chat. Read more

How does V-Person™ compare to the latest AI media hype?

20 Jul 2016

AI Hype

By the Creative Virtual Team

If there’s one thing media outlets love reporting on today, it’s artificial intelligence. Activities ranging from defeating chess masters to driving cars without human input are hailed as the next frontier of technology, or the downfall of humanity, depending on who you ask.

All the media bluster about the innovative things that AI can do ignores one key element for enterprise clients: customer communication. Our virtual assistant customer service solution learns how to talk to customers and solve their problems while also taking into account the context of each interaction.

The lost art of AI conversation

Artificial intelligence from companies like Google and IBM has made headlines for doing things like painting, researching diseases and analyzing the work of famous artists and athletes. Read more

Can V-Person™ customer support platform integrate with existing business databases?

20 Jul 2016

V-Person integration

By the Creative Virtual Team

Yes. Our solution was not designed as a platform to operate separately from your other business systems. Instead, we created our virtual assistant with the ability to draw on other tools being used by various departments across the organization. Not only does this make the implementation of your virtual assistant much easier, it enhances the customer experience in a few important ways.

How our self-service customer support solution integrates with other knowledge sources

One example of AI knowledge integration is the practice of uploading content to an artificial intelligence entity so that it can incorporate the information in its day-to-day activities. Read more

Does V-Person™ Customer Service Technology Self-Learn?

19 Jul 2016

self-learning

By the Creative Virtual Team

Artificial intelligence is a popular technology, used today for everything from diagnosing breast cancer to completing levels of Super Mario World. A big catalyst in the advancement of this technology is the concept of self-learning, which allows AI to autonomously improve decision-making to achieve desired outcomes.

Self-learning is a valuable component of our V-Person customer engagement solution, but it alone doesn’t make our platform a cutting-edge tool for customer service.

Why self-learning is not the ultimate goal for customer experience solutions

Customer service platforms are designed to do just that: serve the customer. Self-learning technology in fields like art and music is free to continuously iterate upon what it has learned, which makes it possible for AI to paint and create music. Read more

The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards: An East End Boy Does Good

13 Jul 2016

Canary Wharf

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

I enjoy hearing uplifting local success stories in the news. Since receiving word that Creative Virtual is shortlisted for The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards, I’ve felt a little like my own ‘hometown kid does good’ story. An East End boy takes a chance starting his own London-based company, distributing a technology that was still very much in its infancy at the time. Fast forward twelve and a half years and that organisation, now a successful world-leading business developing its own industry-changing technology, is being recognised by an awards programme celebrating the hard work and ingenuity of companies in Canary Wharf, on the Isle of Dogs – the place where it all began for Creative Virtual. Read more

Innovation Showcase to Explore Live Chat and Virtual Agent Best Practice

06 Jul 2016

CRMXchange Technology Innovation Showcase

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Live chat and virtual agents are quickly gaining popularity with customers as their preferences shift towards online support options. According to Forrester Research, customers turn to self-service and digital channels for service because they “offer the least amount of interaction friction”. Forward-thinking organisations are not only acknowledging this customer service trend, but also taking advantage of the powerful combination of virtual and real support.

On Tuesday, 12th July, Creative Virtual Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel, will explore this emerging trend as part of CRMXchange’s Technology Innovation Showcase webcast series. His presentation, titled Combining the Virtual and the Real for Customer Engagement Success, features live demonstrations of current implementations and a look into the technology powering these solutions. Read more

Facebook Messenger, Chatbots and the Opportunity for Customer Engagement

30 Jun 2016

Facebook Messenger

By Alessandro Giordo, Junior Development & Support Technician

When Facebook announced chatbots I went crazy and tried so many different platforms for building one. Being a Developer, I opted for ‘geekier’ versions of it using NodeJS and Python, but I have to say the possibilities are endless. Working with one of the world leaders in virtual assistants and artificial intelligence allows me to spend time exploring this new trend and experimenting with the possibilities.

There are many useful bots that I regularly employ to help me in my daily life routines, and there are others that I talk to once and never again. Read more

Upcoming Webinar: Innovations and Trends to Enhance the Customer Experience

08 Jun 2016

customer experience

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Personalised, consistent and accurate engagement anytime, anywhere – customers expect it but many companies struggle to deliver it. With customer experience being a significant driver in customer loyalty and buying decisions, organisations need to find a way to meet these expectations at a cost that makes business sense. In CRMXchange’s upcoming Tech Tank webcast, Innovations and Trends to Enhance the Customer Experience, the roundtable speakers will show how organisations of all sizes are taking advantage of cost-effective innovations and techniques to deliver consistently satisfying customer care.

Chris Ezekiel, Creative Virtual’s Founder & CEO, will join the roundtable to give live demonstrations of how companies are currently using our innovative Smart Help solutions to offer 24/7 easy access to information and support across contact channels. Read more