Successful Australian Launch for Creative Virtual

By Patrick Gallagher, Managing Director, Creative Virtual Australia & New Zealand

On the 6th of March 2014 Creative Virtual launched our new office in Sydney Australia, representing a significant event in the international growth of the business. Australia represents one of the leading technology centres for the APAC region and a key launch-pad into significant growth opportunities like China.

Sydney Launch EventSet against the idyllic backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO of Creative Virtual provided the audience with a compelling overview of the solutions that this technology is able to deliver. He demonstrated the V-Person™ technology in real life, showing how the ‘smart self-help’ systems are deployed on a number of live sites worldwide, including National Rail Enquiries, Verizon, HSBC and the RSPCA. Chris also gave us a sneak preview at a number of new developments from the Creative Virtual labs, including advanced form filling functionality and some of the more advanced reporting capability of the newly released version of V-Portal™.

With a packed room of over 30 invited guests that represented a number of Australia’s blue chip companies, the guests were enthralled by the 45 minute presentation delivered by Chris. Not only was he able to keep the audience keenly attentive during the presentation, but he was able to inspire their imagination as to what this technology could do for their own businesses. The feedback received by the Australian Creative Virtual team from the invited guests was exceptionally positive.

We also had a guest appearance from Quark, our own V-Person that resides on the Creative Virtual website. He was able to demonstrate his conversational capabilities by giving the audience a number of ‘fun facts’ on Sydney. However, Chris thinks that he may have had a little ‘glitch’ during his presentation because Quark unexpectedly decided to talk about the recent Ashes series where Australia convincingly defeated the English in the cricket (I wonder how that got in there?!).

Creative Virtual is a true industry innovator with its award winning V-Person and V-Portal technology. There is no other ‘smart self-help’ company that is able to deliver the reality of the vision like Creative Virtual can today. Creative Virtual dominates this technology in industry sectors like Telecommunications, Insurance, Finance and Banking.  That is why there are so many companies using Creative Virtual worldwide in these industry sectors, more than any other similar company. Chris is truly a thought leader in this technology and his passion was infectious on the day.

View from Sydney Launch EventSpecial thanks to the UK Trade and Investment team in Australia, including our special guest speaker Scott Strain, The Deputy British Consul General and Director for Trade, Australia and New Zealand and Odette Hurley who headed the coordination of the launch for Creative Virtual in Australia.

The day was heralded a resounding success by all and we had considerable press coverage in the following days from the Australian press, including a significant article written in The Australian – the prominent national newspaper for Australia – which you can read here.

Check out some photos from the successful launch event in our Facebook Photo Album.

Next Stop – Forrester Customer Experience East Forum

Creative Virtual USA will be a sponsor for the Forrester Customer Experience East Forum for the first time. The show will run from Tuesday, June 24 – Wednesday, June 25 at the New York Hilton Midtown. The theme of this year’s forum is “Why Good is Not Good Enough” and is focused around the new, more competitive era for customer experience. Forrester will share new research at this event regarding the drivers of customer experience quality and what really matters to customers.

Attendees to the show should expect to come away with understanding the key factors to achieving a superior customer experience and learning ways to distinguish your company as an innovator in the CX space versus your competitors.

At Creative Virtual we strive to create an exemplary customer experience for our clients with our V-Person™ Technology, delivering a seamless experience for end customers across any channel they choose to interact on. Another differentiating component to our solution is the element of personalization, that allows systems to recognize products and services current customers are using and direct them appropriately. During the show we will be giving demos at our booth to show attendees. Stop by and see us at booth 205!

Meeting the Challenges of Omnichannel Customer Experience Requires the Marriage of People and Technology

I have yet to have anyone involved with customer service and support try to convince me that providing successful omnichannel customer engagement is easy. The fact of the matter is that it can be extremely difficult and full of challenges. Even organisations with the best intentions can struggle without the proper strategy in place.

This was a common theme that ran through CRMXchange’s Tech Tank Roundtable on IVR and Self-Service held earlier this week. All of the presenters agreed that while the technology exists to meet these challenges, very few organisations are actually taking advantage of those solutions and providing a true omnichannel experience for customers.

It’s not just about the technology though. In order to successfully meet these customer engagement challenges, you must have a marriage of people and technology. It is the combination of experience, expertise and technology that takes your customer experience to the next level.  Technology alone—no matter how cool or innovative—won’t get the job done without people with the necessary experience and expertise behind it.

CRMXchange’s new webinar series of Tech Tank Roundtables is designed to give attendees an inside look at different technologies through live demonstrations. In my opinion there is nothing more powerful to prove the true capabilities of technology than seeing a live demonstration, so I was thrilled to be able to take part in the online event. As part of my demo, I also shared how the experience and expertise of the Creative Virtual team is integral to the successful development and implementation of our customer engagement solutions. It’s one of the things that sets us apart from many of our competitors in this space.

My thanks to CRMXchange for including me in their first IVR and Self-Service Tech Tank webinar. If you missed the live event, you can request a copy of the recording here. We would also love to give you an individualised live demo to show exactly how Creative Virtual’s blend of experience, expertise and technology can work for your organisation.

Hello Again Sydney! Fun Facts We’ve Learned Along the Way

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

Hello Sydney—home of my favourite bridge and the newest Creative Virtual office! I’m excited to be back in Australia and to be officially opening our office here. While we have worked with a customer in Australia since 2011, it has always been our goal to be able to provide local support in this region. Under the leadership of Patrick Gallagher, we will now have a strong team on the ground in Australia as well as a great network of partners to help organisations meet the growing demand from Australian consumers for 24/7 self-service options. In honour of our new office, here are a few fun facts about Sydney along with some photos I’ve taken on one of my numerous trips to this fabulous city.

  1. Sydney was the site of the first European colony in 1788 when convict-bearing ships of the first fleet came from England to set up the colony of New South Wales. It became an official city in 1842, and today residents of Sydney are known as Sydneysiders.
  2. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world. It was opened in 1932 and took 272,000 litres of paint to cover (just for the first coat!). It is known by the locals as the ‘Coat Hanger’ due to its distinct shape.
  3. The Sydney Opera House was finished in 1973 after 14 years and the work of 10 thousand construction workers. It cost more than 14 times the original intended price to complete.
  4. The Sydney Tower was the tallest structure when it opened in 1981, and is still the second tallest freestanding structure in all of Australia at 309 metres.
  5. Sydney is the capital of Australia’s ICT industry, with 76% of Australia’s ICT regional headquarters and operating centres located in NSW.
  6. Sydney has been the host of the 1938 British Empire Games, 2000 Summer Olympics & Paralympics and 2003 Rugby World Cup. The city is also set to host games in the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
  7. The Australia Day Regatta, conducted since 1837, is the oldest continuously-conducted annual sailing regatta in the world.
  8. Australia’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibit, ‘Sculpture by the Sea’, began at Bondi Beach in 1996. This year’s event is set to take place from 23 October – 9 November 2014.
Sculpture by the Sea

2013 Sculputre by the Sea at Bondi Beach

Creative Virtual Launches Partnership with sogedes at Call Center World 2014

By Björn Gülsdorff, Head of Business Development

From February 18th—20th Call Center World 2014, Europe’s leading event for customer service and customer dialogue will reside in the Estrel Convention Center in Berlin, Germany. Creative Virtual will be present there together with our German Partner sogedes.

But we will not just be there together—we are using this event to kick off our activities and partnership in the German market, after we had a ‘soft-launch’ of our collaboration during the Strategietage in Bensberg in November 2013. Our partner sogedes is a solution provider in Multi-Channel Contact Center Software, Customer Self-Service and Experience Management, and Quality and Performance Management.

We are very excited about our new partnership with sogedes and look forward to working with them to bring cutting-edge, innovative customer experience solutions to organisations in Germany. It is a pleasure for us at Creative Virtual to collaborate with the experienced and knowledgeable team at sogedes.

CCW 2014 provides perfect networking opportunities, reflects relevant trends and offers innovative knowledge—an ideal event for launching our partnership. Last year it attracted more than 250 exhibitors from 15 different countries worldwide.

You can find us with our partner sogedes in Hall 4, Booth E6/F7 or schedule a meeting with us before you even arrive by clicking here. I’ll be at the event on February 19th and 20th and would love to meet with you then. Hope to see you there!

NetFinance Webinar Provided Great Insight into Changing Demographics of Banking Customers

By Richard Simons, CEO, Creative Virtual USA

On December 10th, I participated in the NetFinance webinar “Understanding The New Consumer Journey To Design Your Touch Points & Create A Consistent Experience Across All Channels.” This was a new and exciting opportunity to work with Javelin Research & Strategy and discuss some of the new research coming out on mobile banking and the changing trends in customer demographics. Bradley Leimer, VP Online/Mobile Strategy, Mechanics Bank also participated in this fascinating panel, giving his expert insights into what he has seen firsthand in the industry.

Mark Schwanhausser, Director of Omnichannel Financial Services at Javelin went into depth discussing the profiles of various consumers and how they interact with banks. For example, I was surprised to learn how sizable the group of consumers is who are still nervous about banking on mobile devices. It used to be consumers had to wait for their monthly bank statements to arrive in the mail to check on their accounts and monitor any potential cases of fraud. Those days are gone though, with mobile banking allowing transactions to be performed and processed on a smartphone, allowing the consumer to always have the ability to monitor account status. Javelin’s research is encouraging consumers to redefine their personal security in the mobile banking environment by focusing on prevention of fraud, not just detection and resolution. This is an important shift that puts a great emphasis on the anytime banking and monitoring of mobile.Mobile banking and finance concept

Schwanhausser also discussed the importance of catering to the Moneyhawk™ demographic. Moneyhawks are defined by their use of three critical banking services, which include using online banking, bank bill paying and mobile banking in the past 30 days at their primary financial institutions.  Approximately 19% of consumers fall into this segment, which we discussed in the webinar as being a critical group that will shape banking in America in the coming years. Moneyhawks are profitable consumers that prefer cost-effective digital channels. Intelligent virtual agents are a perfect match for meeting the demands of this group because of their ability to communicate consistent messaging across channels and decrease the amount of channel switching, allowing users to stay in their preferred self-service environment. As 2013 draws to a close, I am excited to see how mobile banking in 2014 evolves.

I wanted to give a big Thank You to both Mark and Brad for participating in this webinar. In case you missed it, click here to access the full NetFinance webinar.

Hello Again Mumbai! Fun Facts We’ve Learned Along the Way

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Creative Virtual is opening new offices in Mumbai, India – a prime epicentre of business and culture that provides grand new opportunities for us and bolsters our international presence. India is also strategically important to us as it’s where we’ve based our product development function. We have a strong local team there under the leadership of Rohit Shrivastava, who brings over two decades of experience in the industry to the position. In July we deployed our first intelligent virtual agent in India, a momentous event celebrated by the entire company. I’ve traveled to India on several occasions and am excited to be visiting the country again this week to meet with the team and attend our launch event on Friday. For those of you who may not know much about Mumbai, here are a few fun facts that you might not have known about this wonderful city.

  1. Mumbai used to be called Bombay until 1995.
  2. Mumbai is India’s largest city and is on track to be the world’s most populated city by the year 2020 rivalling Tokyo. As the commercial and entertainment capital of India, it generates 5% of its GDP.Mumbai
  3. Mumbai is known for the Super Dense Crush Load referring to their overly crowded trains transporting more than 6 million commuters during peak hours. They even have a special railway just for women called The Ladies Specialto help them avoid the Super Dense Crush.
  4. Mumbai likes to party celebrating a host of festivals from Diwali to Good Friday to the Ganesh Chaturthi. In fact, the Bandra Fair, a week long fair commemorating the Nativity of Mary begins 9th September this year.
  5. Cricket is the most popular sport followed by football (or soccer to our American readers) and derby races. It boasts 2 cricket stadiums where they hosted the 2011 World Cup.
  6. Bollywood (a blend of Bombay and Hollywood) was born in Mumbai which cranks out 150-200 films per year.
  7. Mumbai is built on what was once an archipelago of seven islands.

The past few years have marked new milestones as we add offices across the globe. So where can you find Creative Virtual? Our headquarters are in the UK with offices and partnerships in Australia, North America, Netherlands, Singapore, and as you know, India. We’ll be adding a few other territories in the near future so stay tuned. We’re popping up virtually everywhere!