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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C3 London 2018: Redefining customer care with conversational commerce

01 May 2018

conversational commerce

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

On 8-9 May Opus Research will bring their Conversational Commerce Conference (C3) to London. Replacing the Intelligent Assistants Conference held the previous two years, this new event will explore conversational platforms and how organisations can unlock the power of machine learning, natural language processing and intelligent assistance. The conference features interactive panel discussions, industry case studies and networking opportunities.

Coined by Opus Research years ago, the term ‘conversational commerce’ has never been more important in the customer experience space than it is in 2018. Organisations are tackling the challenge of creating conversational engagement with digital customers across a wide range of contact channels. Read more

Mad Dogs and English People Go Out in the Noonday Sun… (and then some!)

26 Apr 2018

2018 London Marathon

By Rachel Freeman, Operations Director

Even 3 full days after London’s “hottest” marathon on record all of our legs still ache a tad. We’re part of those 40,000+ special (stupid?) runners who braved the heat and intense sunshine to conquer 26.2 miles.

Myself, Chris Ezekiel and Maria Ward were at the start line in Greenwich on April 22nd with varying expectations and high hopes for raising money for our selected charities. Whilst our virtual agents speak on behalf of their “owners”, I will not speak for my colleagues apart from that they ran superb runs in adverse conditions and raised money for Jewish Care and Marie Curie Hospice respectively. Read more

Running Towards My Virtual Viewpoint

16 Apr 2018

virtual viewpoint

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

At the end of last year I started writing a regular column for The Wharf News, a weekly newspaper distributed in the Canary Wharf area of London. Aptly titled ‘Virtual Viewpoint’, the column gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts on technology and science. I’m really enjoying writing these columns and looking at the impact technology and science have on our lives and businesses.

I often use my running time to think about my column and how technology is impacting the world – and I’ve had a lot of time to think lately since I’ve been training for the London Marathon! Read more

Alexa, Please Play Music

29 Mar 2018

Amazon Alexa

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Do you say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when you’re talking to a digital assistant like Alexa or Siri? Is it rude if you don’t? Does it really matter?

When I came across an article back in December exploring this topic, it gave me pause. The author, Chaim Gartenberg, argues that even though it doesn’t really matter to digital assistants if you’re being polite – they are just machines after all – that being polite to them helps reinforce positive behaviour. We speak to our devices the same way we speak to real people, in natural language, and so he comes to the conclusion that we should be polite to these digital assistants for our own benefit. Read more

We’ll Spend 1 Billion Years Online in 2018

22 Mar 2018

spending time online

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

It’s certainly no secret that we’re spending more and more time online. In fact, the 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite, published earlier this year, share data showing that the average internet user spends about 6 hours online every day. When you add that up for the 4 billion internet users across the globe, the world will spend an impressive 1 billion years online this year!

Nearly a quarter of a billion new users came online for the first time last year, bringing the total internet users to 53% of the world’s population – up 7% from 2016. Read more

Overcome Language and Culture Barriers with Chatbots

13 Mar 2018

Asian Financial Forum

By Philip Chuck, Territory General Manager, Greater China

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend the annual Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong with our partner HKT. The forum brought together some of the most influential members of the global financial and business community to discuss developments and trends in the dynamic Asian markets.

The two-day forum featured over 100 international speakers sharing insights into the event theme “Steering Growth and Pioneering Innovation: Asia and Beyond”. On Day 2, HKT sponsored a session on “Business Transformation along Your Belt and Road Journey”. This session discussed megatrends in global business development and how companies can accelerate their growth in overseas and mainland China markets through transformation and the effective use of various infrastructure and ICT services. Read more

What Goes Around Comes Around: A look at customer sentiment and intent

07 Mar 2018

customer sentiment

By Rachel F Freeman, Operations Director

I’m delighted that one of the main reasons why I started working in this industry 18 years ago (eegad!) has re-surfaced as a credible and viable objective to move ahead with conversational flows that also provide a profitable punch: customer sentiment.

During the first wave of all things cool and nifty on the web – when website stickiness and brand promotion online was first and foremost – a virtual assistant was often deployed to assist a marketing campaign and answer “silly” questions about random topics that might have little to do with the brand. So long as the virtual assistant (always with an avatar) was presented in a branded UI, then the key was to keep a customer on the page and enable the engagement to be about whatever the user wanted. Read more

Chatbots in Action – Creative Virtual at CCW 2018

13 Feb 2018

contact centre chatbots

By Björn Gülsdorff, Chief Business Development Officer

The end of February is Call Center World time, Europe’s biggest “international conference and trade show for innovative customer dialogue”, now in its 20th year. (Congratulations!)

Whilst chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) made it to the stage last year already, they have now become one of the major topics of the show and I am excited to have three speaking slots with our partner sogedes.

Excited and a little bit nervous: Since last year, the AI hype cycle is said to be past the “peak of inflated expectations” and having started the descent into the “trough of disillusionment”. Read more

Supporting Customers and Employees in the Digital Age

25 Jan 2018

digital experience

By Liam Ryan, Sales Director

Every organisation is going through a digital transformation, particularly in regard to their customer and employee experiences. Virtual agents and chatbots are ideal for supporting both digital customers and employees with a reliable and consistent self-service option that also helps reduce support costs and improve efficiency.

At Creative Virtual self-service solutions are our specialty, and we’re honoured to be named ‘Best Self-Service Solutions Provider 2017’ by Corporate Vision Magazine’s UK Corporate Excellence Awards 2017. For over 14 years we’ve delivered bespoke virtual agents and chatbots designed to provide a quick, easy way for users to get information and troubleshoot issues. Read more

[Meet the Team] Maria Ward: From Virtual Agent Customer to Partner to Expert Member of the Creative Virtual Team

23 Jan 2018

Maria Ward

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Creative Virtual is one of only four companies in London to be recognised by The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in the category of Innovation in 2017. The company was selected for this honour not only for our innovative technology, but also because of the hard work and dedication of our global team. Creative Virtual’s experienced, expert team is what sets the organisation apart from others in the industry. As part of the five-year celebration of our Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, we’re talking with some members of the Creative Virtual team about the technology, their involvement in the industry and what winning this award means to them. Read more

CX in 2018: Digital Transformation Means Combining Humans and Chatbots

17 Jan 2018

Digital Transformation

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

For years there was much more talk about digital transformation than any actual changes for many organisations, but that’s starting to change. More and more digital transformation projects are getting off the ground, and 2018 will be an important year for understanding the reality of the changes needed and putting plans into action.

During a recent roundtable event Econsultancy found that for many, digital transformation programmes are all about survival. Organisations are ‘trying to disrupt ourselves before being disrupted by others’. There is a fear of being made obsolete and digital transformation is a way to head off bankruptcy, particularly for those already struggling or less profitable than their competitors. Read more

Navigating the Chatbot Confusion in 2018

04 Jan 2018

navigating chatbot confusion

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

The new year is here, and with it has come much of the confusion from last year about chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) and how it all fits with your organisation’s business goals. It’s easy to get swept up in the media hype. For some that means approaching chatbot and virtual agent projects with inflated expectations, and for others that leads to a scepticism about it all being a passing fad.

At Creative Virtual, we’ve always taken pride in the relationships we’ve built with our customers, guiding them through best practices for implementing this technology and keeping their solutions successful year after year. Read more

Happy Holidays to You!

21 Dec 2017

Happy Holidays!

As we look to the end of 2017 and the start of a new year, we wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all our blog readers, customers and partners for being a part of this amazing year!

Being honored with The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Innovation 2017 has made this a history-making year for us at Creative Virtual. A special thank you to everyone who celebrated with us and sent kind words of congratulations! 2017 was full of other record-breaking achievements as well – participating in industry events in 11 different countries, deploying virtual agents and chatbots in a record number of new languages, having a record-breaking number of registrations for our annual Technology Innovation Showcase webinar. Read more

[Meet the Team] Antoinette Berns: Supporting a Company Culture that Encourages Innovation and Positivity

19 Dec 2017

Antoinette Bern

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Creative Virtual is one of only four companies in London to be recognised by The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in the category of Innovation in 2017. The company was selected for this honour not only for our innovative technology, but also because of the hard work and dedication of our global team. Creative Virtual’s experienced, expert team is what sets the organisation apart from others in the industry. As part of the five-year celebration of our Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, we’re talking with some members of the Creative Virtual team about the technology, their involvement in the industry and what winning this award means to them. Read more

A Look Back: 2017 in Review

14 Dec 2017

2017 in review

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

The end of 2017 is quickly approaching and so, as has become our tradition, it’s time to take a look back at Creative Virtual’s year. To say this has been an exciting and busy year for us, our customers and our partners would be an understatement! 2017 will go down as one of the most important years in Creative Virtual’s history, so let’s take a look at some of the year’s highlights.

qa-smallBy far our biggest company announcement came in April when we were officially recognised as the winner of The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Innovation 2017! Read more

It’s Time to be Realistic about AI, Chatbots and Live Chat

12 Dec 2017

AI hype

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Recently I had the opportunity to present a webinar with Engage Customer titled ‘AI, Chatbots and Live Chat: Separating Truth from Myth’. I’m sure we can all agree how hot the market is for all things artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and live chat at the moment. It really is exploding out there! We’re also seeing a lot of confusion, false claims and inflated expectations. My goal during this webinar was to separate the truth from the myth by showing some real-world customer examples and, through a series of live demonstrations, share best practices in deploying chatbots and human assistance for customer support. Read more

AI, Chatbots & Live Chat: Separating Truth from Myth

28 Nov 2017

AI & chatbot truth

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

“Industry analysts are predicting a huge increase in the number of customer interactions that will involve technologies such as machine learning applications and chatbots over the next five years. Smart organisations are already setting themselves apart from their competitors by incorporating chatbots and virtual agents into their customer support strategies to meet the expectations of digital customers.”

-Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO, Creative Virtual

Everywhere you turn, there seems to be another article pushing artificial intelligence (AI) or another analyst forecasting an increase in machine learning to improve customer experience and engagement. But, if you feel like the hype doesn’t always match up to the reality, you aren’t alone. Read more

[Meet the Team] Rebekah Needham: Deploying Virtual Agents and Chatbots Around the World

22 Nov 2017

Rebekah Needham

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Creative Virtual is one of only four companies in London to be recognised by The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in the category of Innovation in 2017. The company was selected for this honour not only for our innovative technology, but also because of the hard work and dedication of our global team. Creative Virtual’s experienced, expert team is what sets the organisation apart from others in the industry. As part of the five-year celebration of our Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, we’re talking with some members of the Creative Virtual team about the technology, their involvement in the industry and what winning this award means to them. Read more

A Tale as Old as Time: Striving for the Best Customer Service

21 Nov 2017

digital customer service

By Rachel F Freeman, Operations Director

Every year across sectors, buzz words crop up, trends start and people look to see what is or isnt the next best thing on the market – whether it be an innovative piece of machinery, the next best app, an idea to revolutionise the way we operate in a work space or indeed what we eat in order to be more efficient and focused (does a group huddle or corporate run before indulging on beetroot and chia seed smoothies sound familiar?).

Ideas keep coming, which is wonderful, and in the world of technology it is imperative to keep things fresh and dynamic in order to be responsive to the ways of the marketplace. Read more

Good, Better, Best. How Does Your Self-Service Rank?

14 Nov 2017

best self-service

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”

I have very distinct memories of my mother repeating this saying to us kids when we were growing up and, in a classic ‘I’m turning into my mother’ moment, found myself saying it to my niece a few weeks ago as well. I think we can all relate to striving to be our best and the great feeling of having someone else acknowledge our hard work to get there. Creative Virtual takes great pride in the self-service technology we provide, and so it’s an honour to be named Best Self-Service Solutions Provider – UK by the 2017 TMT Technology Awards. Read more