A Chatbot Customer Service Deployment and Results for Large Hotel Chain

By Scott Tompkins, Enterprise Account Executive, Creative Virtual USA

Not sure if chatbots are right for you? Those on the fence often find it helpful to see the real world results that other organizations have achieved from using an AI virtual assistant. One Creative Virtual client took a bold approach to chatbot deployment, allowing them to see immediate gains in their digital deflection rate while lowering their expenditures.

The situation before chatbots

The client, a large international hotel company, was looking for a way to make customer service more efficient and free up support staff to handle more complicated matters. Because of the organization’s complexity and many different subsidiaries operating worldwide, they needed an intelligent solution that was capable of handling many different types of problems. They turned to our V-Person™ platform for help achieving these goals.

The chatbot solution

Creative Virtual’s chatbot solution was deployed across all 12 of the company’s subsidiary pages. Our virtual agent (VA) replaced their “Customer Care” page that included phone numbers, live chat information and FAQs. The knowledgebase has grown from 250 solutions to just over a 1000 in 18 months. Digital containment hovers around 80% meaning the end user didn’t ask for a phone/live chat and they also didn’t select “I need to speak with someone”. Creative Virtual’s VA is currently available in their web and mobile channels with multi-language capabilities.

How their AI virtual assistant launched

Instead of waiting and slowly releasing their chatbot to the public in small increments, this company took a bold approach – they deployed the AI virtual assistant on every page of every hotel brand and took a broad approach, asking the customer what they needed before suggesting any information. They took away links to other forms of support through phone and email.

In a worst-case scenario, the bot could provide the phone number for a support line if it could not answer a customer’s question. Initially, the bot was set up to answer between 50 and 75 specific inquiries – not a huge amount when you consider the size and scope of the company. Other companies in their position might have deployed chatbots much more slowly, using them for one specific purpose or waiting a long time to launch across the enterprise.

What were the results?

Immediately after launch, the company experienced a digital containment rate of 40%. Shortly after, it climbed to 60%, later maxing out at an impressive 80% containment. The company also reported that they could reduce their customer service spending by 30% soon after deploying the chatbot solution. By analyzing chatbot interactions, the company could identify key areas of improvement and iterate to continuously improve the virtual assistant’s value.

Conclusion

Chatbots can have an immediate impact on your customer service performance and spending – if you allow them to. Instead of waiting to deploy your chatbots in a more restricted way, model the approach of this client and allow your bot to handle as many customer interactions as possible. This will improve your digital containment rate and give you more data to make your chatbot even more successful.

5 Common Misconceptions About Chatbots

By Alexandra Clements, Sales Support Specialist, Creative Virtual USA

Any relatively new technology usually comes with many questions. Chatbots are no exception – uncertainty and disinformation about AI virtual agents are abundant, but that doesn’t mean these solutions aren’t valuable.

Here are five misconceptions about chatbots and the real story behind each one:

  1. Your chatbot solution needs to be extremely comprehensive before launch

Many first-time chatbot users make the mistake of limiting the way they deploy their virtual agents. These users believe that an imperfect solution is unacceptable – their virtual assistant must be able to address almost any question or concern before it goes live.

This approach will delay your ROI and stifle your virtual agent’s ability to reduce your customer service load. Prepare your chatbot for the most common, easily deflectable issues and then allow it to “self-correct” by racking up conversations and improving answers based on that data.

  1. Your chatbot should be loaded with knowledgebase data and product info

It’s certainly important for your AI virtual assistant to speak intelligently on your company and its offering. Your chatbot needs to have a baseline level of knowledge in order to successfully answer customer questions.

But improving its ability to hold conversations is exponentially more important than loading it up with knowledgebase articles. Configure your chatbot solution based on real conversations with customers – agent chat transcripts, phone logs, etc.

  1. An AI virtual assistant can function with 100% independence

Despite what you might see in the media, no chatbot or AI solution should be allowed free reign to interpret and understand human interaction on its own. Earlier this year, Microsoft attempted to launch a completely independent Twitter bot named Tay. The results were horrific, and the bot was quickly taken offline.

Tay is just one example of a broader point – your AI chatbot needs to have input from a real person to ensure that it stays on track and doesn’t have an embarrassing malfunction. Human input will also help ensure the AI virtual agent is learning about the most relevant customer service issues, based on previous conversations.

  1. Chatbots are just another knowledgebase for customers

It’s true that chatbots can be an excellent source of answers on a variety of important subjects relating to your business and its services. But you also have to consider the benefit of an AI virtual assistant as it relates to accessibility. Not only is a chatbot an easy way for customers to learn, it allows them to get answers around the clock, on whichever channel is best for their needs. A customer could send a text message inquiry on Christmas morning, and they would still get an immediate response from a chatbot.

  1. AI customer service solutions only affect customer service costs

Many companies considering chatbots believe they will only see benefits in the customer service department – less strain on staff, fewer calls and email inquiries, etc. However, a good chat bot solution will also be setup to proactively upsell and cross-sell, which can boost sales and recurring revenue. A properly calibrated chatbot will also improve customer satisfaction, since people will be able to get instant answers from your company whenever they want.

Don’t let misconceptions surrounding chatbots prevent you from enjoying a healthy ROI and an improved level of customer satisfaction in the experience. Creative Virtual’s V-Person™ solution was created to immediately improve customer service performance metrics and make customers feel better about interacting with you. With over 50 Million conversations and 80+% digital containment, Creative Virtual’s V-Person solution is Easy to Access across all channels. It is uniquely Conversational, Intelligent, and always improving the customer journey.

 

Virtual Agents and Chatbots and Avatars – Confusing or What!

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone involved with customer service, marketing, customer engagement or sales who hasn’t heard something about chatbots this year. Along with all the attention and media buzz has come a wave of confusion for the marketplace. What’s the difference between a chatbot and a virtual agent? Should I be jumping on the bandwagon and offering a chatbot on Facebook Messenger? What do my customers actually want from a self-service virtual agent? Are bots just a passing fad for engaging my customers?

If any (or all!) of these questions left you scratching your head, don’t worry.  You’re certainly not alone. Even industry analysts and experts have taken a second look at how they view and talk about this technology. A new whitepaper, aptly titled Virtual Agents and Chatbots and Avatars – confusing or what!, acknowledges this confusion and sets out to demystify the names, uses and future of digital customer engagement tools. As we approach the end of 2016 and begin to look at what 2017 will bring for the customer experience and service space, this comprehensive whitepaper is a great resource for understanding automated conversational systems and how they fit into your overall customer engagement plan.  It walks readers through:

  • The names and terminology being used for these systems in the customer engagement space: Virtual agent, chatbot, avatar, virtual customer assistant, bot, virtual assistant, chatterbot – there have been lots of different names used over the years which has added to the confusion in the marketplace. The whitepaper looks at the different terminology being used and what customers expect you to call your self-service.
  • The technology and AI behind chatbots and virtual agents: “A chatbot called by any other name is still only as good as the technology powering it.” This whitepaper discusses the buzz around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in relation to self-learning chatbots. It also addresses the types of features, functionality and integrations you should look for when exploring this technology for customer support.
  • Selecting a tool that’s right for your company and your customers: Step one is to determine how the solution will fit into your overall digital customer engagement plan. The series of questions presented in this whitepaper will help you choose a chatbot or virtual agent that fits with that plan and meets the very high expectations of today’s customers for 24/7 access to personalised, consistent and accurate information.
  • Current use cases for conversational self-service: Facebook Messenger’s introduction of chatbots was certainly a big announcement this year, but this technology has also been proven successful for providing self-service on other customer engagement channels as well. This whitepaper also goes beyond customer support to explore a compelling use case for using these tools for employee self-service, too.
  • Preparing for the future of digital customer engagement: Will chatbots play a role in the future of digital customer engagement or are they just a passing fad? With so many organisations working with tight budgets and limited resources, this is an important question to explore before investing in any new technology. Backed by industry statistics and analyst predictions, you’ll get a peek into the future of the contact centre and digital engagement.

Ready to leave your chatbot confusion behind? Download a full copy of this whitepaper to help you explore the possibility of chatbots being a win-win for your organisation and your customers.

Empowering Call Centre Agents: “If you don’t know, ask Mo!”

By Rachel Freeman, Head of Operations

“If you don’t know, ask Mo.” This is the slogan I heard repeated by at least one of the very able Motability Operations trainers as they were training a new group of recruits during my recent site visit.

This is not a throw away comment! Ask Mo – the Motability Operations self-help tool used by 200 of their advisor/call agents – is the essential tool for a new recruit as notetaking in training is not encouraged and manuals are no longer distributed. The focus is about “empowerment” to know where to access the knowledge as opposed to making sure that all the knowledge is recalled. Recounting the vast amount of information advisors need to assist callers can take months of training, but that is reduced drastically when the knowledge is held within a tool like Mo.

The objective for advisors is to get them to understand the Motability Operations ethos, how to work with people and provide smooth and caring customer service. That type of training is best done in workshops and amongst people, which is exactly what happens with each new group of recruits. Ask Mo is the virtual agent used to get the trainees up to speed on all other aspects of training, and is pitched as the “go to tool” for queries and processes to enable the advisor to best help the customer on the other end of the phone.

Having collaborated with Creative Virtual since 2007 on Ask Mo, Motability Operations have assessed how the user interfaces will best suit their advisors and have made various amendments to the template based on advisor needs. Recently there has been an added “toolkit” area on the template for advisors to click on and get more information about protocol and handy tips for how to work with various types of calls. The toolkit is an easily accessible area on the template that can be used when an advisor has some downtime and is not taking calls.

Having spent some time in a training room with 10 fresh advisors, I was impressed how the use of Mo was so much engrained as part of the exercises. As they filed out of the room to assess wear and tear on a car, I looked at what they had left behind in the room: 10 monitors with the Ask Mo template showing before the screen savers kicked in. It was clear – if they didn’t know, Ask Mo was indeed ready to assist in the further empowerment of providing an answer.

It is this approach to knowledge management that won Motability Operations a 2015 Customer Contact Innovation Award and consistently has them receiving top-ranking customer and employee satisfaction scores. It was inspiring to experience first-hand the positive impact Ask Mo is having in onboarding new advisors as well as enabling all advisors, new and old, to always have access to the most up-to-date information.

Be sure to check out Motability Operations’ award-winning case study, Ask Mo: how knowledge gives confidence with customers, to learn more about how they have successfully integrated their virtual agent into their company culture.

The Race to Game Day: Creative Virtual USA Takes on Extra Life 2016

By Eileen Stall, KB Manager, Creative Virtual USA

While the team here at Creative Virtual USA has been focused on finishing the year strong, we are very excited to take a timeout for Extra Life! For those of you who may not have caught our blog post or live stream last year, Extra Life is a 24-hour gaming marathon which has been raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® since 2008. What makes them special? Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Extra Life was launched to raise awareness and give people an opportunity to contribute to this cause by engaging in an activity we all love – PLAY!!!

Why do we do it?

Who doesn’t love gaming?!?! What the Creative Virtual USA team appreciates most about Extra Life is the ability to personalize the event and make an impact locally. Every participant can choose which hospital receives the proceeds they collect during the event. While the majority of our team will be selecting our home hospital in Hartford, CT, several members are choosing to donate to hospitals closer to home. Few things are better than the feeling of personally supporting an organization servicing a community of local children battling terrifying diseases like pediatric cancer. Last year the Creative Virtual USA team raised $4,111, blowing past our original goal of $2,500. This year we are aiming to break the $5,000 level and are inviting all of you to join us in support of this great cause!

How do I get involved?

Player 1 joins the game! Please consider taking the time to visit our team page and donating if you have the means to do so. Any level of contribution is appreciated. Game Day 2016 starts Saturday, November 5th at 8am and ends 24 hours later on Sunday morning. We can’t wait to share this amazing experience with all of you and look forward to doing all of this FTK (For The Kids)!

What’s next?

Join us for our live stream on Saturday, November 5th at 8am to watch us while our team is outing werewolves, perfecting their edge-guarding on Fountain of Dreams, and racking up gold stars with the band! We’ll keep the stream running for you to watch the fun and see where we land on our fundraising efforts. Thanks to all, and happy gaming!

The Role of AI in our Commercial Future

By Liam Ryan, Head of Sales

Back in 2001 I had the privilege of meeting Professor Noel Sharkey when he was a judge and I was a contestant on Robot Wars. Fifteen years later, I again had the pleasure of speaking with him when Creative Virtual sponsored the Social Robotics & AI conference. Noel and Creative Virtual’s Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel, were just two of the industry experts that presented as part of the event held at Oxford Brookes University in September.

This was the first year for this conference which aimed to unite the scientific community, business leaders and builders of human capital to discuss the role of AI in our commercial future. It was a well-attended event, with a large number of customer service professionals wanting to gain insight into how their companies should be looking to use cutting-edge AI technologies. As part of the ‘AI in Action’ showcase, we shared live demonstrations of our intelligent virtual agents. This sparked some interesting conversations about natural language chatbots, how self-service is perceived by customers and the potential for AI in the future of customer service.

Chris drew on his many years of experience during the ‘Customer relationships’ track, and his presentation, ‘Building customer relationships with intelligent virtual agents: A framework for humans and machines to work in harmony’ touched on many of the themes that came up during those conversations. A key takeaway for the audience was that customer support is not the place for pure AI. Intelligent virtual agents are an ideal solution for engaging customers and providing self-service, but they need to combine AI with a human element. This means they will learn and adapt based on how customers are using them while still enabling organisations to maintain control over the reliability of responses.

Social Robotics & AIAlso presenting at the conference was keynote speaker Garry Kasparov, world chess champion and AI advocate. His presentation delved into the relationship of intelligent machines and human creativity. He encouraged attendees to focus on how AI enables and empowers us to use technology in creative ways we never before imagined. Chris and I were both excited to have the opportunity to meet Garry and hear his thoughts on the potential of AI.

Noel Sharkey closed the conference with a look at ‘Human Responsibility in a World of Robots’. He shared some sensational newspaper headlines that were published as a result of his comments about AI being misinterpreted. These served as a first-hand example of the misunderstanding that often surrounds AI. Noel stressed that the industry needs to approach innovation in AI and robotics in a responsible manner that will help clear up this confusion and earn public trust.

In my opinion, the first Social Robotics & AI conference was a success from the impressive line-up of speakers and thought-provoking conversations right down to the delicious shrimp on the lunchtime spread! Our thanks to the organisers for inviting Creative Virtual to be a part of this event.

Please take a look at our Products page to learn more about Creative Virtual’s suite of Smart Help solutions and then request a personalised demo to see how AI technology can help you build relationships with your customers.

And for all of you curious about my Robot Wars appearance, check out the video below starting just before the 19-minute mark.

Ground-Breaking Technology That Improves the Way You Do Business

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

2016 has been, and continues to be, a big year for us at Creative Virtual. Today I’m proud to share the news that we’re the recipient of two 2016 Technology Innovator Awards: ‘Most Innovative Customer Engagement Platform’ and ‘Best for Virtual Agent Technology’! Acknowledging that technology has revolutionised the corporate landscape, Corporate Vision’s 2016 Technology Innovator Awards recognise and reward the individuals, departments and firms behind the ground-breaking developments that change the way we do business for the better. This is the second year Creative Virtual has been recognised in multiple categories.

The customer experience landscape is constantly evolving, and I feel strongly that if vendors in this space aren’t continuously innovating they aren’t doing their job. I take great pride in Creative Virtual’s agile and innovative approach to the implementation and development of our customer engagement technology. Through close collaborations with our customers and partners as well as our own internal monitoring of current trends, we keep our finger on the pulse of changing customer expectations. This is what enables us to deliver cutting-edge solutions to our customers around the world.

Every organisation likes to claim their technology is the most innovative or the best, but the proof is in the pudding. That’s why Corporate Vision’s research team reviewed some of our Customer Success Stories as part of the award selection process. The true test of our customer engagement technology and the expertise of our team is whether we’re able to help our customer organisations reach their goals. Commercial Bank of Dubai, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Verizon are just three examples of the organisations currently utilising our solutions in innovative ways to provide consistent and accurate information and support. The Head of Digital User Experience at TSB, another of our customers, said:

“It’s important to us that people can bank with TSB the way they want to, whether that’s in a branch, on the phone, via an app or online. Improving the customer experience on our website is therefore a key focus area, and working with Creative Virtual has helped us to do that.”

To have our knowledge management, workflow management and business intelligence reporting platform, V-Portal™, awarded ‘Most Innovative Customer Engagement Platform’ and our natural language virtual assistant technology, V-Person™, awarded ‘Best for Virtual Agent Technology’ by the Technology Innovator Awards is an honour. It’s an even bigger honour to know that those recognitions are backed by the success our customers are achieving by partnering with us. My thanks to Corporate Vision for recognising Creative Virtual with these two Technology Innovator Awards.

Check out our Customer Testimonials and our Customer Success Stories to learn more about our happy customers and the ways they are improving how they do business with V-Person and V-Portal technology.

3 Examples of How Automated Chat Agents Create an Effortless Customer Journey

By Christina Wilson, Director, Customer Success, Creative Virtual USA

Some organizations still view their customer communications in a linear fashion, with a definitive start and end point. But as thought leaders like McKinsey and others have pointed out, customers today often have a much more dynamic journey while researching a sales decision or requesting support. There are several reasons automated chat agents are the perfect complement for these complex customer pursuits.

  1. Automated chat agents are unstructured

Automated virtual agents don’t require customers to read a menu and try to decide which category their problem fits into. Customers don’t have to listen to a phone recording to select the proper department or option. With an automated agent, customers can begin their exchanges exactly where they are having issues and proceed to a resolution from there, instead of jumping through hoops just to get to the point where they can explain their issue or question.

  1. AI virtual assistants provide instant, scalable service

When customers are interacting with an automated agent, there’s no need for them to wait for phone lines to clear up, business hours to begin, a rep to answer their email, and so on. It doesn’t matter how busy things are with your organization, how many other people are trying to reach you, or what time of day or night it is – the virtual agent is always instantly accessible.

The Pew Research Center reported that those who are used to the instant gratification of the internet age become frustrated if they don’t get what they need immediately. The top organizations are already looking to make their delivery of services, products, and customer support instantaneous.

  1. Automated virtual agents can serve customers anywhere

Top-quality virtual assistants are channel agnostic. They can be accessed with mobile apps, desktop browsers, voice prompts, SMS, social media platforms, and more. Virtual agents also have the ability to move between different channels – if a customer begins an inquiry or asks a question on their mobile device and then needs to see it on their desktop, the best AI virtual assistants can shift seamlessly and still provide the information the customer was looking for.

Gartner reports that nearly 9 out of every 10 companies believe they will compete on customer experience by the end of 2016. Automated chat agents can help you enhance your customer experience by meeting your customers where they are, on their terms.

 

As the leader in virtual customer service, Creative Virtual specializes in the science of conversation.

 

#CXDay: Bridging the Gap for Great Customer Experiences

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Happy CX Day! Today marks the 4th annual CX Day, a global celebration of great customer experience and the professionals who make it happen. There’s no escaping the fact that customer experience has become a key factor in customer purchasing decisions, often even outweighing price. And to say that delivering a positive experience can be challenging is certainly an understatement!

I was recently reading a blog post from Gartner about improving the customer experience by creating bridges between silos of engagement (more on that later), and it brought to mind a story about Waldameer Park, a small, family-run amusement park along the shores of Lake Erie in the US. In the 1990s, park owner Paul Nelson began the quest to build a new roller coaster, the Ravine Flyer II, to replace the original Ravine Flyer which closed in 1938. He was adamant that, like the original coaster, the new one cross over Peninsula Drive to give riders a unique, thrilling experience. Bridging the 4-lane highway, which is the only access road to popular Presque Isle State Park, became one of the main obstacles Paul would face in gaining approval to construct the new coaster.

Waldameer Park bridgeIn 2008, after nearly 20 years of planning, legal battles and long delays, the Ravine Flyer II opened – featuring a 165-foot-long arched bridge that takes riders over traffic on Peninsula Drive and back during their minute and a half long ride. Paul’s dedication to his vision paid off. The Ravine Flyer II won the prestigious ‘Golden Ticket Award’ as the best new ride in the world for 2008 by Amusement Today and park attendance jumped by 20% that season. The park has continued to maintain those increased levels of attendance in the years since the coaster opened, and the Ravine Flyer II is consistently ranked as one of the Best Wooden Roller Coasters in the world, reaching 5th place in 2016. Riders continue to rave about the experience of the Ravine Flyer II, many returning year-after-year to enjoy the coaster.

Just like bridging the 4 lanes of traffic was an obstacle for the construction of the coaster, so is the bridging of engagement silos for the improvement of the customer experience. According to Gartner analyst Gene Phifer:

“Delivering customer engagement in silos can significantly damage the customer experience. We predict that through 2020, silos of customer engagement will be one of the top three leading causes of customer dissatisfaction for enterprises across all industry segments.”

Even though silos may be the natural result of how your organisation is structured, your customers don’t care. They just want a smooth, seamless journey that enables them to remain oblivious to the fact that they may have transitioned from one internal silo to another. Mr Phifer continued:

“Bridging the silos of customer engagement leads to a seamless transition across channels and devices. Moving from a disconnected, siloed customer experience to a truly unified customer experience is an important step in maintaining and improving the customer experience. This may be nothing new, but the difference now is that it is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It has become a necessity for survival.”

That’s certainly some good food for thought as we celebrate CX Day and great customer experiences around the world. Organisations that want to be truly competitive need to take a step back and evaluate whether or not they are providing their customers with seamless, end-to-end engagement – even if their journeys feel like a roller coaster ride as they switch between channels and devices!

Whether or not you’re a roller coaster enthusiast, I’m sure you can appreciate that it was Mr Nelson’s unwavering commitment to his customer experience vision that made all the difference. While I’ve not met him personally, I’ve been told by someone who has that his passion for Waldameer Park and the experience of his park visitors is very obvious in every business decision he makes. Today we recognise him and all the customer experience professionals who are dedicated to bridging the gaps in order to deliver great experiences that make customers want to come back for more. Thank you for the hard work you do all year long!

 Photos courtesy of Mekis Construction.

The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards: Local Boy Makes it Big!

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Back in July we received the exciting news that Creative Virtual had been shortlisted for The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards, a new awards programme celebrating the hard work and ingenuity of companies in Canary Wharf, in the category of Medium-to-Large Business. On my walk back to our offices after my interview with the judges, I was reminiscing about the Wharf, growing up on the Isle of Dogs and starting the company here nearly thirteen years ago. It all made me feel like my own ‘hometown kid does good’ story!

Last week Liam, our Head of Sales in the UK, donned his tux (a little reluctantly!) and joined me for the glittering black tie dinner and awards ceremony at the Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf. We were hopeful as we sipped our champagne and snapped a selfie, but not truly expecting to win. I was on the edge of my seat as Levi Roots (of Reggae Raggae Sauce fame) began to announce the winner of our category by first reading the glowing words from the judges and then revealing the company name – We Won!!

“Creative Virtual may be the most successful Canary Wharf company you’ve never heard of. This giant was in the tech business almost before the sector existed but its years of research and development mean it is now superbly placed to take advantage of cutting edge customer expectations and experiences.”

The timing of this awards ceremony and our win is especially meaningful to me. I had just arrived back that morning from a couple of days in New York meeting with some of our US team, and I fly out of London to Australia, which is a hot market for us right now, next week for meetings and a visit with the team there. Growing Creative Virtual into a global company is exciting and a great accomplishment for the all the people who work at Creative Virtual, and there’s no better feeling than coming home to win a local award. I’m extremely proud of keeping the company headquartered here and growing it from our base in Canary Wharf.

The Wharf Innovation in Business AwardsThe market for our smart customer engagement solutions has been exploding as of late, and it’s nice to have this emerging area and technology honoured in this way. It’s important for organisations who are working hard to make their mark while helping to define a new sector to be recognised by with this type of award. I thank the judges for taking the time to understand what it is that we do at Creative Virtual and for being brave enough to recognise our industry-changing technology and its growth potential in the future, despite it being a new area.

But the true hero in this story isn’t the technology, it’s the people. I don’t want to sound too soppy, but Creative Virtual is where it is today because of the hard work and dedication of our team. They are the ones that have put in the years of research and development, built great relationships with our customers and brought innovative ideas to our solutions. While I hope I have provided the guidance to make it all happen, an award like this really underlines the importance of having great people working for your company.

Winning The Wharf Innovation in Business Awards is an amazing achievement for Creative Virtual as well as for me personally. After accepting the award, Liam and I celebrated until the wee hours of the morning – my jetlag and his missed bedtime long forgotten! Liam even commented that he had never seen me that happy before. I was so thrilled with our win that I slept with our award that night and had to pinch myself in the morning to make sure it hadn’t been a dream. It was exciting to share the award with the team in the Canary Wharf office and send photos to those working remotely and in our other offices. I’ve been spending the weekend and this week showing it off to my family and friends! They all know The Wharf newspaper, so I’m sure they are picturing the same headline as me as they admire the award: Local Boy Makes it Big!

My thanks to The Wharf, the judges and all of the award sponsors for honouring us as your Medium-to-Large Business and for putting on a fabulous dinner and ceremony. But more importantly, this East End boy thanks all of Creative Virtual’s employees, customers and partners around the globe. Without you, this win wouldn’t have been possible.

I hope you’ll take a look at our photo album and read our official announcement about Creative Virtual’s big win.

Medium-to-Large Business winner