#CV10Years – A Day in the Life of a Junior Administrative Assistant

By Lucy Hamilton, Junior Administrative Assistant

Just call me Lucy of all trades, master of all! My job title might officially be Administrative Assistant, but on any given day I need to wear what sometimes feels like a million different hats. From office manager to travel agent to receptionist to meeting coordinator, I do it all. It’s my job to provide support for the operations, technical, sales and marketing teams and keep the London office running smoothly.

Lucy & her Minstrels to the rescueA typical Monday morning is kicked off with a pit stop at the local Tesco for milk and a feeble attempt to resist the chocolate aisle. Christmas is coming? Bring in some Galaxy Minstrels. Devoured the last of a colleague’s baked goodies last Friday? Galaxy Counters.  Accidentally left a co-worker off the recipient list of the Tube strike email? Magic Stars should do the trick. Sorted.

Sitting down at my desk with a coffee and donning my rather unattractive glasses marks the start of the work day- after all, how else am I going to follow how Jeff’s weekend was from the other side of the room? (Note to self: time to schedule an eye test!)  The first things I see in front of me are sticky notes – my desktop window is covered with them. Meeting reminders, birthdays, upcoming events, you name it they’re fighting for attention in various sizes, colours and fonts. A quick click with the mouse to make them disappear and I am able to remember that I actually once had a desktop background. Next in my morning routine is logging on to Skype – my gateway into this global company. It’s not unusual for me to be simultaneously holding conversations with Avinash in Mumbai, Björn in Germany and Jimmy sitting across the office (face-to-face is so passé!) at some point during my day. Then, of course, it’s on to my email Inbox to tackle all the new questions and requests. Six months into this job and the inevitable transition into a multitasking mastermind is more or less complete – as long as I remember to change my Skype status to ‘AFK’ when wandering off to make a round of tea and coffee!

Lucy gives the thumbs upI have to admit that the favourite part of my day is Nathalie’s legendary capsule coffees. If she’s in the vicinity of the kitchen area I can guarantee eye contact and a hopeful look in her direction – regardless of whether Skype is going wild or I’m currently on hold with a supplier to request an upgrade.

The perfect way to deflect an unwanted sales call? I’ll let you know when I find out. Do we have any writing pads left? Now that I can help you with! We work hard in the office but have a lot of ad hoc fun too – much like the MSN phenomenon in 2003, we still manage to take a childlike delight in enlightening each other with recently discovered Skype emoticons.

Of course the best part of the job has got to be that after settling in you realise that you know exactly who to go to with things, even if that person is five hours behind in the USA. With so many time zones it feels like Creative Virtual is always moving, and this is the kind of company I’ve always wanted to work for.

#CV10Years – A Day in the Life of a Junior Knowledgebase Engineer

By Peter Studd, Junior Knowledgebase Engineer

If you’re thinking ‘what exactly is a Knowledgebase Engineer’, don’t worry. You aren’t the first one to ask me that question. In a nutshell, I program Creative Virtual’s virtual assistant implementations to understand natural language queries. Much of my work is done within V-Portal™, our platform designed specifically for the creation, updating, testing and deploying of virtual assistants. On a typical working day you will find me sitting in front of my computer focused on making updates to the natural language conditions of one of our projects.

I plan my day based on taPete hard at worksks my colleagues assign to me within V-Portal and from special requests sent through email. For each update on my list I must open the correct recognition within the knowledgebase, then inspect, test, alter and create the corresponding natural language conditions. Some of you may think this sounds like a boring, tedious job, but in reality creating new condition strings or updating old ones is a great job. It involves a great deal of creativity and problem solving – it often feels like doing word puzzles. It’s like no job I have ever done before and offers great job satisfaction.

The work I do helps to make our virtual assistants more effective at answering users’ questions – be that by adding new content or by refining existing questions and answers. For example, it’s possible for similar questions to be confused with each other. By producing and reviewing transcripts and reports that show user inputs, I can check if the virtual assistant is providing the best answer available in the knowledgebase and fine tune existing conditions to improve the system. When I’m not working on big updates, I will take on smaller tasks such as amending content categories (for organising the knowledgebases and reports), updating answer texts and any links they contain, and running reports.

Having involvement with several different customer projects means I am always kept busy, and we all work together to prioritise workloads and meet our clients’ requests within the agreed deadlines. Creative Virtual has a really great team, and since starting last August I have received lots of training and support from my colleagues in person in the Bristol office, as well as from those based in London and colleagues overseas.

Working as a Knowledgebase Engineer isn’t my first job, but it is by far the one I enjoy the most. I love the challenge of working with the natural language conditioning of the virtual assistants. It’s exciting to be a part of Creative Virtual’s 10th Anniversary celebrations and to know that even the smallest of my daily tasks helps our customers reach their goals of providing their customers with a positive service experience.

#CV10Years – The Faces Behind the Magic

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

In the first post of our #CV10Years blog series, Founder & CEO Chris mentioned a special anniversary gift presented to Creative Virtual team members and partners as a token of appreciation for helping the company reach our tenth anniversary. As you probably guessed from the photo in that post, this gift was a Creative Virtual branded fleece! We thought our gift (which has been referred to by one employee as ‘that sweet wearable’ and recently received a string of compliments from a flight attendant) would be the perfect excuse to pose for some photos and give you a peek into the people behind the Creative Virtual magic.

Ten years ago this blog post would have featured only a few smiling faces sitting in one tiny office in London. Today we’re sharing photos of just some of our team members and partners from locations spanning the globe! In fact, some members of the team are still waiting on delivery of their fleece due to paperwork issues out of our control, so there will be plenty more photos to come.

We’ve also started photo albums on the Creative Virtual Facebook and Google+ pages where we will regularly add photos of the team wearing our fleeces (of course!) doing what we do when we’re not on the clock—us on our travels, us with local landmarks, us participating in hobbies, us with our family and friends and pets. You never know where we might turn up next.

And now, without further ado, it is my pleasure to present the faces of some of the people who have contributed to and continue to play a part in the success of Creative Virtual!

The Creative Virtual Team

#CV10Years – We’re Recognised for Innovation

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

One of the biggest highlights of 2013 (a year of lots of exciting milestones) for Creative Virtual as a company was winning a Silver Stevie Award in the category of Most Innovative Company of the Year in Europe. If you missed our big announcement, you can read the press release here and Founder & CEO, Chris’ blog post here. Or better yet, watch this video of Chris accepting our trophy at the awards gala in Barcelona in October.

Lots of organisations throw the term ‘innovation’ around, claiming to have innovative products and ground-breaking solutions even when their offerings are anything but. For us, innovation is not something we take lightly—developing and implementing truly innovative, cutting-edge technology is what we’re all about at Creative Virtual and something we’ve taken great pride in for over ten years. To win this award as part of the 10th Annual International Business Awards was a huge honour for us all.

Winning this award isn’t the only time we’ve been recognised for our innovation. In recent years we’ve also been shortlisted for an Econsultancy Innovation Award in the category of ‘Innovation in Customer & User Experience’ as well as selected to participate in the Innovation Showcase at BAI Retail Delivery.

In January of this year our technology was acknowledged again, this time as part of the 8th Annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. We have been named finalists in two categories, ‘New IVR or Web Service Solution’ and ‘Sales or Customer Service Solutions Technology Partner of the Year’, and will find out if we’ve won Gold, Silver or Bronze at the Awards Gala on 21st February.

#CV10Years – V-Person™ Goes Dutch

By Erik Braun, Director, Benelux

In December 2012 Creative Virtual launched Ask Sabine, a virtual assistant for Dutch bank NIBC Direct. This was a significant event for two reasons: this was the first deployment for our newly established Creative Virtual Netherlands office and it was the first non-English implementation for the company, with the virtual assistant interacting with users in Dutch.

NIBC Direct

NIBC Direct takes great pride in providing superior customer service to their customers, and has found that Ask Sabine extends that high level of service to their website. Since implementing their V-Person, the organisation has routinely experienced 30% call deflection from their call centre and reports positive feedback from customers utilising the 24/7 self-service solution.

Another highlight for Creative Virtual took place in November 2013 when Sabine Struijk, Client Contact Manager at NIBC Direct, joined Anne Westerhof, Knowledgebase Engineer at Creative Virtual, and me for our first-ever Dutch webinar. For Dutch readers who missed the live event, you can view the webinar recording on-demand.

To learn more about Ask Sabine, read our official announcement here. You can also download NIBC Direct’s Customer Success Story in English or in Dutch.

#CV10Years – Celebrating our 10th Anniversary!

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

10th Anniversary Cake

Happy 10th Anniversary Creative Virtual! When I founded Creative Virtual just over ten years ago, I could only dream that the company and our technology would have come this far by 2014. It is an exciting and momentous milestone for me personally and for all our employees and partners around the globe.

Another recent milestone for us was hosting our first-ever Global Partner Meeting at Creative Virtual’s headquarters in London last month. It was a thrill for me to stand in front of a full room that first morning and welcome attendees representing eight different geographic regions to what has become a landmark event in the company’s history. During the second day of meetings, the group took a break from the scheduled sessions and discussions for a 10th Anniversary celebration—complete with a delicious cake and a few photos.

Celebrating 10 Years

Representing 8 geographic regions (L-R): Patrick, Shantanu, Berndt, William, me, Richard, Erik, Miguel

There is no doubt that without a dedicated and intelligent team of employees and partners, Creative Virtual would not be celebrating a tenth anniversary. From the development of innovative technologies to the implementation of bespoke customer solutions to the management of day-to-day operations, each person contributes to the success of our organisation. As a thank you and token of appreciation, every team member was presented with a special anniversary gift. Keep your eye on our blog and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to see more about that gift (although you may be able to make a good guess based on the photo above!).

You can read our official anniversary announcement here.