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!

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

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