The quality of virtual assistants and smart bot solutions for customer service and e-commerce solutions have improved to the point they can help companies realize significant savings and greater efficiency in their help center operations, Lior Bachar said.
Mr. Bachar is the head of product at Nanorep, a provider of self-service, virtual assistants and smart bot solutions for customer service and e-commerce. Nanorep blends Artificial Intelligence and patented Natural Language Processing technology to create solutions which provide for an intuitive conversational experience.
Mr. Bachar said the process behind a highly functional virtual assistant is a complex one that is constantly being refined as the virtual assistant tries to understand the intent of customer queries. The system looks for key phrases while tracking the popularity of different questions. That allows the client to identify knowledge gaps that can be addressed by adding the answers to the database.
Nanorep also accounts for different queries that have the same meaning, Mr. Bachar said. They present issues in a tile view format where the problem’s magnitude is represented by the tile size. Areas needing an answer are colored red.
When developing and refining technology like Nanorep’s there is no substitute for experience, Mr. Bachar said. The design team has been together for nine years, and while machine learning capability has become much stronger and faster through the implementation of deep learning methodologies and greater processing power, a team knowing its customers and which learns from experience has helped even more.
That is especially true when you are designing and improving a system which must function effectively across many different languages, each with its own unique patterns and rules. Recognizing synonyms. Understanding the main flow to languages, such as Hebrew being read from right to left. Nanorep supports more than 80 different languages and can adapt quickly to new inputs, Mr. Bachar said.
“For example, Bahasa is only spoken in Indonesia,” Mr. Bachar said. “Within three weeks of us making the engine aware of Bahasa, it produced 80 to 85 per cent good results.”
There are no worries about slow speed times either, Mr. Bachar said. One client, an Indian bank, said Nanorep’s bot was almost answering the questions too fast.
Companies must also strike the correct balance between bots and people, Mr. Bachar said.
“We strongly believe that with some questions there is not an answer suitable for a bot.”
Nanorep can work with clients to define a strong channelling policy where they can have a human take over the call when the issue becomes too complex or a more personal touch is needed.
Mr. Bachar said Nanorep’s financial services customers have a much clearer understanding of bots and how they can extract value from them in 2017. He credited Facebook for doing a good job of introducing the world to them.
A complete mobile experience brought unique challenges too, Mr. Bachar said. Nanorep developed special tools to accommodate smaller screens and presents responses in a clear and attractive format.
Mr. Bachar said the financial services industry is interesting, as clients are always looking to bring new innovations to market. Nanorep has seen great success with branch ATM finders, and currency conversion tools. One area still a way in the future is the use of bots as investment advisors, as that interaction is more conversational and the technology is not there yet, Mr. Bachar explained.
Fintech companies with call centers should consider implementing a self-service platform as they can generate financial savings while allowing small teams to focus on other business areas. Mint Bills is a platform that lets users see and pay their bills in one place. They wanted to assist customers with payments, have general questions answered, and quickly address more complex ones.
Nanorep’s solution guided new customers through the payment process, segmenting them based on the referring website and providing appropriate answers based on that website.
The results were impressive. Mint Bills saw a 45 per cent reduction in call center volume and 70 per cent of their queries were resolved through self service. Wait time to speak with a call center representative was reduced by ten per cent.
Nanorep also helps companies with crisis management, Mr. Bachar said, adding the best way to do that is by actually knowing when you are in one. One customer, a travel site, began receiving a spike in enquiries about traveling from Egyptian airports around the same time a bombing occurred at one. Nanorep alerted the customer to the issue and had a response prepared which include other travel options.
“The call volume to the help center was greatly reduced,” Mr. Bachar said.