How We Were Able to Offer You Advanced Reporting Features in a Quarter of the Time

By Andy Madge, Head of Technical Services

logi analyticsIf you need powerful reporting software, but don’t have the time to build it yourself, join me as I share Creative Virtual’s experience with creating interactive dashboards and reporting by integrating with LogiAnalytics. We provide our customers with detailed reports on customer conversations through V-Portal™, our knowledge management tool. Customising these reports for each of our clients required significant time and programming knowledge, but by partnering with LogiAnalytics, we experienced a 75% time savings for our development staff.

During this webinar, my colleague Lester Lane and I will give you an inside view as to how LogiAnalytics worked for us, and Anthony Gill from LogiAnalytics will provide insights as to how you can use their tool to power your reporting engine. The webinar takes place on Wednesday, 10 April at 11:00 am Eastern/ 4:00 pm UK time. I hope you will join us.

Register online here.

Survey: What Customers Expect When It Comes to Customer Service

by Frank Schneider, Regional Vice President – Sales, Eastern US

LivePerson’s global survey reveals exactly what customers want when it comes to online customer service. After surveying 6,000 people, the results are clear that customers have great expectations around solving their concerns and how you interact with them online. Surprisingly, 83% of customers said they need some form of support during their online journey. Given these statistics, organizations need to think long and hard about how they provide a successful multi-channel customer experience. Take a look at the full results below.

LivePerson Infographic

How Virtual Agent ‘Ask Lisa’ Transformed National Rail Enquiries’ Customer Service Channels

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

On 7th March I was joined by Kathryn Daniels of National Rail Enquiries and Maria Ward of Virtual Zone Ltd to host a webinar showcasing National Rail Enquiries’ NRE Webinar Title SlideBvirtual agent Ask Lisa. First launched in 2007 through collaboration with our partners The Virtual Zone, Ask Lisa is now used by NRE across multiple channels to provide information on traveling by rail in the UK quickly and easily to rail customers. During the webinar Kathryn gave a live demonstration of some of the features and functionality of Ask Lisa on the NRE website and Facebook pages. She also provided insight into the benefits NRE has seen since first implementing a virtual agent and how the organisation plans to extend this positive impact through additional features and integrations.

I followed Kathryn’s demonstration with a live look at our integration with Live Chat from LivePerson for O2’s V-Person™ implementation Ask Lucy as well as Ask Verizon’s integration with their logged in area which provides customers with account-specific information. I wrapped up the presentation portion of the webinar with a brief explanation of our multi-channel knowledge management tool, V-Portal™, and the powerful reporting functionality it provides. Kathryn, Maria and I then fielded some questions submitted by webinar attendees.

The recording of this case study webinar, How National Rail Enquiries Uses Virtual Agents for Multi-Channel Customer Support, is now available for viewing. After you watch the video, I encourage you to contact us for your own live demo so a member of our team can address your organisation’s specific customer experience goals.

A huge thank you to NRE and The Virtual Zone, specifically Kathryn and Maria, for their time and assistance in making this webinar a success!

An Executive Interview with CRMXchange

by Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Interview-signI’d like to thank CRMXchange for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their Executive Interviews feature. It was a privilege to share my experiences as part of the virtual assistant space and explain how I see the products offered by Creative Virtual meeting the growing demand for this technology.

In this interview I explore the benefits organisations can realise from the implementation of a cross-channel virtual assistant solution on websites, mobile devices and social networks as well as in contact centres. Customers are increasingly more willing to use self-service solutions and often prefer it when it means a quicker resolution to their issue or question. With a proven record of call deflection, live chat session reduction and customer support cost savings, virtual assistants are a win-win solution for companies and their customers across a wide range of market sectors.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the full interview and then visit our website to find out more about our V-Person™ technology or request a live demo.

Free Webinar: How National Rail Enquiries Uses Virtual Agents for Multi-Channel Customer Support

by Mandy Reed, Global Marketing Manager

Ask Lisa v2On the day that Apple revealed Siri, there was an excited buzz in the Creative Virtual offices not only because there was a cool, new iPhone to be had, but also because of the attention that was being brought to virtual agent technology. For years before Siri became a household name (and had a relationship with Raj on The Big  Bang Theory), we’ve been developing and implementing natural language virtual agents that give users the sensation of communicating with a ‘real’ person.  Since 2007, National Rail Enquiries (NRE) has utilised Ask Lisa, a V-Person™ by Creative Virtual and our partners The Virtual Zone, to successfully provide customer support across multiple channels.

Join us on 7th March for a free webinar to learn more about how NRE, the definitive source of rail information in Great Britain, is using virtual agent technology to communicate information about traveling by rail to customers through the UK and abroad from Kathryn Daniels, Information Development Manager. Kathryn will provide live demonstrations of Ask Lisa’s functionality, including the integration with NRE’s Facebook page. Also on hand will be Maria Ward, Head of Web Services at Virtual Zone Ltd, the lead developer for Ask Lisa since its introduction in 2007.

Kathryn and Maria will be joined during the webinar by Creative Virtual’s Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel. Chris will provide a closer look at additional V-Person integrations and functionality as well V-Portal™, our multi-channel knowledge management tool. You’ll get a glimpse into the technology behind the creation of a virtual agent and hear how to implement one of your own to enhance customer experience, build brand loyalty and reduce customer support costs.

Register now and join Kathryn, Maria and Chris on 7th March for this informative webinar and interactive Q&A session! Plus get a copy of the Patricia Seybold Group analyst report on Creative Virtual just for attending.

Insights on Brand Strategy and Exceptional Customer Service

by Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

wow customer service-resized-600This month I had the privilege of contributing articles to two leading industry websites. On 10 January, my article Customer Experience Technology Retools Brand Strategy appeared on the Direct Marketing News website, and my second article, How to Provide Exceptional Customer Service, became available on the eM+C website on 23 January.

With a recent independent study on consumer preferences finding that 92% of the participants felt a poor customer experience decreased their brand loyalty, I believe these topics are very relevant and important to businesses as we enter the New Year. Customers today want to be in control of their interactions with your company whether that be via web, mobile applications, social sites or in person. Research shows that people are willing to pay more for a positive customer experience, even if that means purchasing from your competitor.

The tips I outline in each of my articles come from my years of experience working with a wide range of companies in a variety of industries, each with their own unique challenges and expectations but all ultimately wanting to improve their customer experience. A genuine investment in customer experience technology gives companies an edge in building brand loyalty by providing consumers with the service options and personalised attention they want and have come to expect. My company prides itself in offering multi-channel customer experience management solutions that can be a powerful and positive force for businesses in the development and implementation of a comprehensive and exceptional customer service strategy.

I invite you to take a few minutes to read my articles on brand strategy and exceptional customer service to see for yourself how my insights can be applied within your company to foster a loyal, happy customer base through positive customer experiences.

Check out the Big Brain on Brad!

by Tim Sanger, Regional Vice President, Sales

big brain I don’t know about you, but I really like smart people.  I appreciate the fact that when I ask them a question, they come up with the REAL answer.  Not some made-up, nearly true or wholly unbelievable answer which requires further investigation, but a genuine article of truth.  Over time, I learn to trust their guidance and they become one of my “go to’s” for information.  They would for sure be the one I would give a “shout out” to, if I ever found myself in the Cash Cab.

Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA) are fast becoming the “smartest people in the room” within the world of telecommunications, finance, software, health care, travel…you name it; if you show me a corporation with a large amount of customers, I’ll show you where an IVA will help or is helping to improve the customer experience while reducing operational effort.  More important than both of those considerations, I’ll show you where there is an opportunity to build brand trust which leads to the all-important holy grail of brand loyalty.

I cut my teeth within the call center industry; specifically within the outsourced call center industry where good chairs for reps are a premium and where margins are as thin as the lunch meat my mom used to buy.  From a unique perspective, I’ve seen how corporations spend millions formulating the correct message, how they spend millions more to create training material around the delivery of that message and then, at the precise point of delivery (when a Customer Service Agent is 1 on 1 with the customer) lose millions when that message is altered.  In addition to the millions of dollars which are lost, more impactful is the fact that there is a degradation of trust and loyalty.  Death by a thousand cuts, if you will.

Intelligent Virtual Agents become as smart as you allow them to be, they never forget the correct answer to customers’ questions and they always deliver the message in a manner which supports your brand identity.  Simply put, IVAs quickly become the “smartest people in the room” and customers learn very quickly to trust the information those IVAs present.  Focus group studies have proven that customers actually trust the information an IVA will deliver over that of a call center representative because the IVA is able to immediately present the customer with “back-up” information such as a web article, your bank statements – even your last conversation.  I’ve even experienced situations where (in a corporate environment) an executive has said “what is the REAL answer to X” and someone in the room invariably says “Let’s ask the IVA”; a true testament to the validity of the source, when the very people who managed its creation now rely on it as their “go to”…their Cash Cab friend.

The DIY Customer: Why Banks Need to Help Customers Help Themselves Where and When They Want

by Richard Simons, CEO of Creative Virtual US

Banking and investment customers today demand the ability to perform all possible functions themselves – from depositing checks, checking balances, trading stock, transferring funds and paying bills. Using the telephone to handle these basic requests has become archaic with customers moving online. However, with rapid advancements in mobility, that desire has extended to smartphones forcing companies to redesign their customer service strategies to meet customer needs no matter where they choose to engage.

The definition of customer service now has to include the words “fast” and “relevant.” No longer are customers content with generic answers to their questions. Instead, they want instant access to information that will help them make better decisions and blend seamlessly with their lifestyle. Whether it is online access, talking live to a customer service rep or getting a direct message via Twitter, customers are not willing to wait around for the right answer. As a result, today’s organizations are tasked with employing a scalable, multi-channel personalized solution that adequately engages its customer base. Here are some of the trends financial institutions should be thinking about.

  • Mobility Uprising. Banking on-the-go has exploded on the scene. Customers now want access to their accounts from their smartphones and tablets. Services like Chase Quick Pay or mobile remote deposits have provided an added level of convenience that extends the relationship with the customer and aims to make banking hassle-free. As banks continue to expand their mobile app capabilities and service levels, they can simultaneously improve efficiencies and reduce costs if they choose the right implementation.
  • Deeper Integration. While many banks are embracing mobile and social channels as part of their core strategy, these tools are often developed in silos within the organization. This leads to inconsistencies which are passed on to the user in the form of limited or incorrect information. Customers think of your organization as one entity and are not concerned with “how you operate.” Instead, they simply want fast and accurate answers to their questions no matter where they sit in your system. By using tools and services that put the right information at your fingertips, you encourage customers to do more online and improve the overall experience.
  • Multi-channel Opportunities: No channel stands alone. However, your web presence serves as an anchor to your mobile and social implementations. Mobile can be a powerful marketing channel if utilized to create a strong 1:1 relationship with your customers. Using individual behavior to recommended products that will save them money or increase net worth are fantastic opportunities for banking organizations to engage more deeply with their customers. Similarly, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are great at formulating relationships with groups on a more personal level. Therefore, focus on the primary customer objective – to be helpful to your customers anytime they want to reach you.

When implemented correctly, mobile customer service puts banking and investing brands within reach of their customers’ lifestyle, and drives down costs. For example, a well-known US-based online financial firm, reduced live chat volumes by over 80% with our V-Person™ implementation in just 10 ten months. Moreover, they were able to reduce escalations down to 5% of conversations using a virtual agent. When they extend to mobile devices, they will have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and earn consumer capital to boot.

Having a system that can pool your collective knowledge and deliver your brand promise will be a competitive advantage in your quest to acquire and retain customers. After all, you have the most valued relationship of any business to a customer. Their money is your hands.

Read About Us Out in Network World

by Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Thanks to Maria Korolov of Network World for including us in her new article, Bye Bye Mouse, Hello Mind Control.  If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a must read. It examines how new user interfaces are transforming the way we interact with computers, including the use of touch, voice,  intelligent virtual agents and even mind control. Yes, mind control!  Here are a couple examples of what Maria presents:ash_hannah_network_world_201212061

  • Voice recognition, now common in customer support and on smartphones, is being used to replace human transcriptionists in fields such as law and medicine.
  • Artificial intelligence like Siri and intelligent virtual agents for enterprise level usability like those offered by Creative Virtual are more prevalently being adopted for their ability to provide more human-like experiences.
  • Eye-tracking technology and integrating gestures with spoken language, though challenging, are being tested to add a whole new dimension to how you interact with your computer.
  • Mind reading devices are already out in the market and being used to read brain waves and restore mobility to the handicapped.

The possibilities are endless with technology advancing at the speed of light. It certainly means that Creative Virtual is on the cutting edge of the latest technologies that are fast becoming fact, not fiction. You can read the full article here.

Socialise Your Brand into Your Customer’s Lifestyle

by Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Social networking has become a lifestyle for many consumers and for companies at the forefront of customer experience it has become another opportunity to increase consumer-to-brand interaction and secure loyalty. But the truth is only about 40% of companies today have really made the commitment to bring customers together on social platforms, leaving the others to rely on the call centre as their only public face.

Our latest solution, V-Person Social Media™ is a call to action for enterprises looking to improve customer retention and a demonstration of our own commitment to evolve our suite of self-directed customer service solutions. The social media tool combines the interactive influence of social networking and virtual assistant technology to maximise customer engagement with customer-specific branding, natural language and real-time metrics.

And the success of the solution literally speaks for itself. Our customer National Rail Enquiries, through our partner Virtual Zone, has implemented their ‘Ask Lisa’ application across multiple channels, including integration with their Facebook page, where the virtual assistant has answered over 43,000 questions in less than a year. Verizon has also incorporated V-Person Social Media into its Facebook page to answer questions about its FIOS TV and has even incorporated answers from the community into its virtual assistant. And Park, a retail company, is also reaping similar results with ‘Ask Wanda’ on Facebook.

Putting cross-market companies within social media interaction points is critical for the success of today’s branding strategy. Having an intelligent virtual assistant available to answer questions on your company’s social media networks encourages people to engage with your company and use social media as an avenue for support.  The customer experience is taken to a whole different level when people can expect an immediate response from their social network of choice. It also gives more customer insight into opinions and concerns, while increasing responsiveness in a way that is good for business.

To see V-Person Social Media in action, check out LisaWanda and Verizon on their respective Facebook pages. If you’d like a demo of the platform, request one here.

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