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Being Grateful in a Year of Challenges

By Laura Ludmany, Knowledgebase Engineer

As we say goodbye to this year, we can all agree that 2020 has brought us a wide range of unexpected situations and challenges, affecting both personal and business life. This period of the year is a great time to reflect and, even though this year seems to be gloomy and simultaneously flying by and lasting forever, we still need to find reasons to stay positive and be grateful.

Many, if not all, self-improvement books, practises and lectures emphasize the importance of expressing gratitude and looking for the silver lining in whatever challenges we might face. According to Dr David Hamilton, some of the many benefits of gratitude are –

  • Good for mental health – People who were asked to list blessings were around 25% happier, compared to people who were asked to list hassles and annoyances.
  • Helps counter stress – Gratitude switches our focus and helps us notice more of the good things in life. This effect also comes in handy when we can’t get to sleep, as counting blessings (not sheep!) helps relax us.
  • Makes us feel less lonely and more connected – During these times of lockdown and self-isolation, practising gratitude can make us feel more connected and part of life as a whole. It also increases our sense of belonging in the world.

Sadly, furlough, reduced hours and redundancy have become a part of our everyday vocabulary in 2020, which can make it hard for us to stay positive. Yet, there are things to be grateful for. At Creative Virtual, our sense of community is more important than ever, hence we made a small survey to see what we are grateful for as a team:

1. We are grateful for our customers and the ability to be able to help them.

Many of us expressed a sense of purpose at work. With our reports and client feedback, we can clearly see how our tools can improve the customer experience, save calls and direct users to the best sources to self-serve. We have long term personal relationships with our customers which really makes a difference.

‘I am grateful that our jobs have always been able to help other companies help their clients at a really difficult time.’

‘I’m grateful for the messages of thanks we’ve received from our customers this year expressing their gratitude for the ways Creative Virtual team members made their jobs easier when so much else was harder than usual.’

 

2. We are grateful for our creative work.

Due to our close relationships with our clients and solutions, our approach is very responsive to sudden changes from the real world of customer inputs and there is a great deal of collaboration with our key contact people, often on a daily basis. Ad-hoc reporting requests, queries, urgent updates, new templates and functionalities are all part of our days, making the day-to-day work dynamic and variable.

‘I am grateful for the fun of never knowing what updates or emails I will get – days are colourful and not repetitive.’

 ‘I am grateful for working in an area that is technical, creative and challenging. Every day at work is a joy.’

 

3. We are grateful for our local and global team.

We are a good bunch of quirky people, and no one feels to be left alone with a task, because we know we can always rely on each other. We had loads of Creative Virtual live streams during the spring involving our global team, when we could learn more about each other in an interactive way. Our team is truly multinational and across the globe. I love to be Slacking with my colleagues who are based in the US, Australia, India or in a different country in Europe!

‘I’m grateful to have such a lovely bunch of supportive colleagues and managers.  Everyone’s willing to share their knowledge and help out when needed. Teamwork really does make the dream work!!’

‘I am grateful to be working for and with such an awesome team. Everyone has a lot of experience and know-how. I truly enjoy working with them.’

 

This was our quick ‘what we are grateful for list’ at Creative Virtual, with final thoughts from our Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel:

As we enter the Christmas season, it’s always a good time to reflect. We all look forward to a New Year and hopefully a way out of this awful pandemic. It’s been amazing to see our Creative Virtual team working hard to support our customers and partners during these difficult times. Teamwork is our strength and has brought us through 2020. I’m very proud to be leading such a wonderful team and look forward to raising a virtual glass and having some fun with them all during this festive season!

 

Here’s to a new habit of practising gratitude on a daily basis for a more positive new year!

Introducing the Conversational AI Industry’s Smartest Solution Yet: The Neutrino Release of V-Person™

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Today I’m proud to be sharing Creative Virtual’s introduction of the Neutrino release of V-Person™, our innovative virtual agent and chatbot technology. This release delivers the perfect combination of conversational AI, orchestration tools and industry expertise to enable organisations to create customer and employee conversations. It brings together humans and artificial intelligence (AI) with powerful integration options and easy-to-manage workflows for the industry’s smartest solution yet.

When I first founded Creative Virtual in late 2003, chatbot and virtual agent technology was still very new in the customer service space. The solutions we were building were very basic and lacked the power of AI and machine comprehension that we have today. It’s been exciting to lead a company that’s instrumental in advancing the technology and its applications for customer and employee engagement.

As the virtual agent and live chat market continues to evolve, one constant for us at Creative Virtual is our tradition of innovation. However, we don’t focus on innovation simply for the sake of being able to say we have something shiny and new. We innovate around the real needs of organisations and their customer and employee experience goals. Our Neutrino release of V-Person is a great example of this commitment.

Several years ago, there was a sudden burst of interest in chatbots and virtual agents along with ways AI could be used for customer support. This has led to a chatbot, virtual agent and live chat market saturated with inexperienced vendors and ineffective technologies that are leaving companies and their customers frustrated. Some organisations are learning the hard way that not all chatbot and virtual agent solutions are created equal.

v-person neutrino releaseNeutrino addresses and removes the frustrations caused by those poor performing vendors and technologies by combining:

  • V-Person – Our conversational virtual agent and chatbot technology brings together humans and AI for personalised, smart self-help.
  • V-Portal™ – Our powerful orchestration platform is the most functional virtual agent, chatbot and live chat management platform in the market today.
  • Consultation & guidance – Our experienced global team delivers localised support, international insights and best practice expertise.

Having the information your customers and employees need means little if they aren’t able to access it quickly and efficiently to find answers to questions and troubleshoot problems. With Neutrino, you can leverage your company’s existing knowledge to power chatbot, virtual agent and live chat solutions for improved customer and employee experiences.

We can also use your live chat and contact centre transcripts, search inputs and existing chatbot projects to jumpstart your solution. By combining your data with our Transcript Analysis Tool and sector-specific intent libraries, the Creative Virtual team can:

  • Identify what can be automated to help build your business case
  • Build and deploy your system quickly and easily
  • Train your virtual agent for continued improvement

This means you can deploy conversational self-service quickly and easily, creating conversations with customers and employees across touchpoints in a seamless, personalised way and at large scale. Providing quality support on digital channels has never been more important than it is right now as we all adjust to fewer in-person interactions and a larger remote workforce.

The reason our Neutrino release is the industry’s smartest solution yet really comes down to the experience and expertise of the global Creative Virtual team. Everything, from the updating of our company roadmap to the development of new features and functionality to the implementation and optimisation of end user solutions, hinges on our team’s deep understanding of the technology and extensive experience in the industry. There is no substitute for that expertise when it comes to delivering industry-leading products and successful solutions.

Check out the Get to know the Neutrino release of V-Person page to learn more, download the release overview, read what some of our current customers and partners say about working with us, and request your own live demo.

Is Your Customer Support Team Turning into the Working Dead?

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Recently I read an article discussing the effect multichannel support is having on customer support professionals. Balancing a heavy workload, which is only predicted to increase in 2016 as multichannel support grows, has made the risk of burnout a huge challenge for the industry. With burnout comes less satisfied and engaged team members and, ultimately, a greater turnover of support staff. So what can organisations do to lighten workloads and reduce the risk of their support team turning into the working dead?

Implementing self-service solutions that are easy for customers to use and access is a great first step in reducing your contact centre’s workload. For example, intelligent virtual agents are proven to provide average contact deflection rates of 20-30%. Some organisations are seeing up to 80% reductions in live chat sessions by placing a virtual agent in front of their live chat system.

Self-service virtual assistants benefit your customer support team in a number of ways. They lighten the workload by decreasing the overall volume of questions and support issues that come into your contact centre. Even as the number of customer contact channels grows, the flexibility of this Smart Help technology allows self-service solutions to be deployed across touchpoints, including web, mobile, social, kiosk and IVR. By empowering customers to self-serve for transactional queries and troubleshooting common problems, your support team is freed up to assist customers with more complex issues that truly need human assistance. Not only do customers appreciate being able to get quick resolution without a call or email, but live agents also benefit from no longer having to deal with the tedious task of dealing with those basic issues over and over.

When it comes to fighting burnout, giving your support team the proper tools to do their job is just as important as reducing the volume of contacts coming in from your customers. One organisation excelling at doing this is Motability Operations. Their award-winning virtual assistant ‘Ask Mo’ is helping them achieve top-ranking customer and employee satisfaction scores. The virtual assistant enables their contact centre advisors to search for information in natural language and then provides answers instantly that are easy to digest and customise for the individual customer. Advisors can also provide real-time feedback on missing or incorrect content which gives them an added layer of confidence that answers are current and accurate and allows them to focus on engaging with customers. Motability Operations also uses ‘Ask Mo’ as a training tool, drastically reducing the training time needed for new advisors and creating comfortability from the beginning with the tool they will be using on a daily basis to assist customers.

When backed by the proper knowledge management platform, both self-service and contact centre virtual assistants can be deployed using the same knowledgebase which further relieves stress on customer support teams by ensuring consistent communication. You and your support team can have confidence that regardless of the touchpoint or the live agent providing assistance, customers will receive the same information to answer their questions.

With the growth of multichannel support, organisations need to be proactive in taking steps to keep workloads manageable for their customer support teams in order to reduce burnout. How are you keeping your team from turning into the working dead?