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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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

Why Self-Service Has Become an Imperative Despite the Obstacles That Block It

26 May 2016

Argyle

By Karen McFarlane, Marketing, Americas

On April 6th, Creative Virtual USA joined over 150 customer care executives at the Argyle Customer Care Leadership Forum in New York City to discuss how the challenges of the current economic landscape are forcing organizations to examine and reduce costs and why the need for a customer-first approach is more important than ever. A core part of this discussion revolved around the growth of self-service channels, which is supported by analyst research predicting that by 2017, over 2/3 of all customer service interaction will no longer require the support of a human.

With customers practically begging for self-service, we wanted to see what other executives thought about implementing self-service channels and the biggest obstacles they are facing. Read more

IAC London 2016 Day 2 – Innovation and Inspiration in the Intelligent Assistants Field

03 May 2016

Intelligent Assistants Conference 2016

By Rob Foster, Junior Knowledgebase Engineer & Andre Matthews, Knowledgebase Engineer

Day 2 of the Intelligent Assistants Conference burned just as brightly as the first. If you haven’t yet read our colleague’s blog on the first day of the event, you can find it here.

Darrius Jones, AVP of Enterprise Innovation at USAA, started proceedings by giving us some insight into upcoming virtual solutions in the mobile banking sector. In his keynote presentation “This is Our Moonshot”, he assured us that virtual assistants (VAs) have come a long way from the chatbot toys of yesteryear, and people are trusting VAs more and more with handling information about their lives. Read more

IAC London 2016 Day 1 – Pioneering the 4th Industrial Revolution

27 Apr 2016

IAC London 2016

By Gianandrea Gaetani, Junior Knowledgebase Engineer

With all the talk revolving around the convergence of Artificial Intelligence, the present and future implementations of Intelligent Agents, Robotics, identity and biometrics, quantum, nano bio tech, and 3d printing, the Intelligent Assistants Conference held in London on the 26th and 27th of April left participants debating where we all stand in tech matters. Is it too soon to talk about the 4th Industrial Revolution just yet?

Whether we want to believe it or not, businesses today are left to navigate the chasm in an ever changing digital world. Digital and biological worlds tend to get closer with every passing year and static businesses and websites seem to be coming alive through the implementation of Intelligent Assistance. Read more

IAC London 2016: Helping humans harness the power of intelligent assistants

25 Apr 2016

Intelligent Assistants Conference London 2016

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

For the first time Opus Research is bringing their Intelligent Assistants Conference to Europe. IAC London 2016 is being held 26-27 April at Grosvenor House in London and will be co-located with Intelligent Authentication Conference 2016. The Opus Research team has put together an impressive agenda of expert panel discussions and keynote addresses focused on the conference theme of ‘helping humans harness the power of intelligent assistants’.

Creative Virtual is proud to be an event sponsor of IAC London 2016 and to have both our CTO, Peter Behrend, and our Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel, speaking as industry experts. Read more

Knowledge Management + Virtual Assistants = Award-Winning Contact Centre Solutions

19 Apr 2016

The Forum's Customer Strategy and Planning 2016

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

In 2015 Motability Operations, a long time Creative Virtual customer, was recognised with the Innovation Award for Sustainable Culture as part of the Customer Contact Innovation Awards presented by The Forum. The judges selected Motability Operations because “their approach to knowledge management builds trust and supports effective conversations, getting it ‘right first time’, optimising call length and – above all – helping advisors give customers confidence.”

This year, The Forum has generously invited Creative Virtual to their annual flagship Customer Strategy and Planning conference, which culminates with the Customer Contact Innovation Awards gala dinner. Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO, will present a lunchtime showcase to demonstrate the technology behind Motability Operations’ award-winning approach to knowledge management. Read more

Don’t be a Robot: Are Instant Replies Always Best?

31 Mar 2016

don't be a robot

By Alessandro Giordo, Web Developer and Support Technician

I’ve always loved the interaction between human and machine. No wonder I’m a Developer, used to communicating every day with computers and programs using their language, or mine.

When I started using online chats and support chats, I also started wondering about having a computer on the other end “talking”, creating a feeling like it’s a real person answering your questions.

The line between a robot and a human being is quite clear still in many areas, although we have come very far from even a few years ago. There are ways of masking the feeling of artificiality, and I’m here to talk about some of them which can be a reality today. Read more

The Smart Machines are Coming! Are You Ready?

29 Mar 2016

smart machines in banking

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

“Smart machines offer huge potential benefits to early adopters within financial services, even with regulators barring banks from some use cases. CIOs must proactively prioritize potential investments in smart machines and begin pilots in 2016.” *

Everything seems to be getting smarter these days – our phones, our TVs, our watches – and now even our banking experience. In their recent report Where Banks Can Use Smart Machines, Gartner Analysts Tom Austin and David Furlonger explore the impact six smart machines (smart vision systems, virtual customer assistants, virtual personal assistants, smart advisors, other natural-language processing technologies and smart campus infrastructure) will have on financial institutions during the next few years. Read more

It’s Time to Talk About the End-to-End Digital Employee Experience

15 Mar 2016

service desk virtual agent

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Talking about the end-to-end digital customer experience is nothing new. Over the past several years we’ve seen organisations take on the challenge of how to serve highly connected, always on customers. While this has certainly not been an easy undertaking, companies are now understanding the importance and necessity of providing customers with a complete digital experience and are embracing it throughout the organisation as a key part of their overall customer experience strategy.

What has been missing from this conversation for many organisations has been the end-to-end digital employee experience. The good news is that recently this has started to change, and I’m seeing a real maturity happening within organisations. Read more

Is Your Customer Support Team Turning into the Working Dead?

09 Feb 2016

contact centre working dead

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Recently I read an article discussing the effect multichannel support is having on customer support professionals. Balancing a heavy workload, which is only predicted to increase in 2016 as multichannel support grows, has made the risk of burnout a huge challenge for the industry. With burnout comes less satisfied and engaged team members and, ultimately, a greater turnover of support staff. So what can organisations do to lighten workloads and reduce the risk of their support team turning into the working dead?

Implementing self-service solutions that are easy for customers to use and access is a great first step in reducing your contact centre’s workload. Read more

Virtual Agents and Human Agents Join Forces for Customer Service in 2016

21 Jan 2016

call center agent cartoon

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

The New Year is here, and with it the much anticipated 2016 predictions, outlooks and trends for just about every industry and field, including customer service. With customer service a key part of the overall customer experience, every organisation should be keeping an eye on developments in the space and evaluating which can help improve support for their existing and potential customers.

Analyst Kate Leggett shared five of her top trends to watch this year in her blog post Forrester’s Top Trends for Customer Service in 2016. Trend number one should come as no surprise: Companies will make self-service easier. Read more

I Have Live Chat. Why Do I Need an IVA?

19 Jan 2016

By Karen McFarlane, VP of Marketing (Americas)

Great question and glad you asked! The answer is quite simple. To start, think about why you employed live chat in the first place. Was it to:

  • Reduce volume to your contact center?
  • Provide online customer assistance?
  • Increase customer loyalty and reduce barriers to engagement?

All of the above reasons have significant monetary benefits – reduced costs, higher retention, increased sales – and demonstrate that live chat is a wise investment. In fact, a Forrester survey showed that “44% of respondents said that having a live person answer their questions while they were in the middle of an online purchase was one of the most important features a website could offer.” This is a great stat., but how can you make live chat work better? Read more

5 New Year’s Resolutions That May Not Have Made Your List

14 Jan 2016

By Karen McFarlane, VP of Marketing (Americas)

As you start implementing your 2016 plans, don’t forget that you already have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal that you need to consistently nurture – your customers. They are your single most important marketing tool and no amount of money can equal their impact. With customer service being called the new marketing, it’s imperative that organizations not only understand how customers currently engage with their brand, but also how customers want to engage going forward. To help you with this thought process, I propose five New Year’s Resolutions to add to your list. Read more

Opportunity for Retail Banking Solutions in 2016

12 Jan 2016

BAI Opportunity for Solutions Providers

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

In December BAI Banking Strategies published an Executive Report examining the coming year for the retail banking sector, and found the general outlook to be a combination of optimism and uncertainty. While this report focused mainly on the US, I know many of the challenges and opportunities identified will resonate with other financial organisations around the world as well.

I had the pleasure of contributing to one of the articles in the report, ‘Opportunity for Solutions Providers in 2016’, which takes a look at the trends and developments vendors are seeing as we enter the new year. Read more

A Next Generation Digital Solution for Retail Financial Services

07 Jan 2016

Digital Customer Experience Transformation

By Liam Ryan, Head of Sales

We’re excited to share news of our partnership with Atos to deliver Digital Customer Experience Transformation (DCXT), a next generation digital solution for retail financial services in EMEA. The solution is designed to enable Banks, Wealth Managers and Insurers to attract, keep and grow the value of their customers with a class-leading customer experience platform and intelligent decision support to help them better manage their financial affairs.

Atos selected Creative Virtual as a leader in virtual assistant technology to join them and two other companies, Backbase and Envestnet | Yodlee, as partners in this ‘as a service’ solution. Read more

Customer Service for the New Millennium

23 Dec 2015

people-office-group-team (2)

By Christian Evans, Junior KB Developer (Americas)

No matter where you look, you can’t avoid the buzz about the seemingly alien Millennials. This is the group of people born somewhere between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s, coming after the Gen X and the Baby Boomers who just can’t seem to understand them. What makes them so different from their predecessors is a strikingly different world view, and it’s something worth paying attention to as they outnumber the Baby Boomers by nearly 8 million people.

What does this mean for the customer service industry? It means that expectations are changing and companies would do well to try and keep up. Read more