Today, as part of our Winter 2018 Release, we announced enhancements to our flagship product, 7 AIVA, to create a Virtual Agent that now supports both informational and conversational journeys in a single solution. This will enable enterprises to handle everything from simple queries to complex interactions.
We also announced that our virtual agents have handled more than 200 million inquires in 2017, a 50 percent increase over the previous year, and now have more than 150 patents and patent applications.
Until now, enterprises looking for comprehensive virtual agent solution had to settle for either an informational virtual agent or a conversational one. While some questions have only one right answer, complex customer interactions require more sophisticated conversational approach. 7 AIVA delivers the right solution for each journey, and automates interactions through cognitive capabilities that provide “near human” experiences.
7 AIVA connects to enterprise systems in order to predict intent and personalize responses to resolve customer issues quickly without requiring a human agent. Companies can now start by automating simple FAQs and bridge to more complex transactions that utilize conversational AI to provide near human interactions. As the only company whose solution works across both voice and digital channels, we are seeing a spike in interest, signing up clients at a record pace and expect a significant increase in automated interactions by the end of the year.
In addition to the next generation of 7 AIVA, the Winter 2018 Release includes enterprise tool integrations which improves agent productivity by offering quick access to data:
There’s never been a better time for enterprises to think about using virtual agents to scale and automate interactions, and we are proud to lead this market.
Publish Date: February 20, 2018 5:00 AM
For years, Average Handle Time has been the standard measure for how companies are doing in containing costs in the contact center. From the time a consumer initiates contact (including hold time, talk time and related tasks) to its conclusion, AHT has been a primary consideration when companies have determined their contact center staffing levels. But technology is changing that.
Until recently, the vast majority of sales and virtually all customer service interactions required human intervention. Many of those interactions took place over the phone, but in the last several years have been increasingly transitioning to chat. Now, in today’s world, consumers interact with companies in a variety of ways besides phone, including text, chat and (believe it or not) email. Companies really need to measure all the ways that consumers are interacting with them. With chatbots and virtual agents increasingly becoming part of the mix, AHT becomes a bit archaic.
Additionally, AHT does not measure successful consumer interactions. It’s a measure of how much time an agent spends with a consumer, but is not a measure of a consumer’s effort. Consumers want to accomplish tasks quickly, with minimal effort. They don’t want to start over, or repeat information, or wait for an agent to fill out a form or check with a supervisor. They just want to get stuff done.
It’s time for a new metric -- TCIT, or Total Customer Interaction Time. That’s the time it takes from when a consumer initiates an interaction to when he or she successfully complete that interaction. When a bot is handling all or part of a conversation, the most important measures become NSAT (Net user satisfaction) and Automation Rate as captured by TCIT. A consumer may want to continue a conversation because they have multiple questions, but as long as that’s handled by the bot, rather than taking up an agent’s time, it’s all good.
The faster a consumer can complete a task, and get back to their business, the happier they will be. I call this “time to intent.” If you look at it that way, then ask yourself “are we doing everything we can to reduce time to intent?”
Publish Date: January 31, 2018 5:00 AM
We live in a world dominated by technology, devices, and online interactions. Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are becoming staples in households around the world, offering us the capability to interact with technology and virtual assistants the same way we’d interact with friends or family.
As we become more accustomed to talking with these devices the way we’d talk to another human, it’s reshaping our expectations of all interactions with technology. We now expect the ability to talk or type conversationally when interacting with companies on their digital channels, and to have our issues easily understood and resolved quickly.
This can present a problem for organizations who aren’t using the right technology in their customer experiences.
The interactions we’re used to today are possible because of natural language applications that allow technology to understand and derive meaning from what we say or type, and offer accurate, insightful responses. This technology is a core part of most customer experience strategies, but to work effectively and deliver seamless experiences in line with modern-day expectations, it needs to be paired with predictive technology that can determine actionable intent.
To give you a better understanding, let’s look at a common example of how natural language technology on its own can let you down.
Scenario: A customer is attempting to pay for an online purchase when her credit card is declined.
Thinking she may be over her credit card limit, she logs into her online banking account and sees that she is not. She calls her credit card provider and reaches a natural language IVR. The IVR asks, "How may I help you today?" She responds, "My card is not working."
Based on this statement, a natural language solution would narrow down the range of probable reasons to:
The IVR would then offer the option of speaking with a fraud agent or a billing agent as the next step. These might be the correct options, but wouldn’t it be better if the credit card provider knew about any preceding activity that the customer took? In this example, knowing the customer visited her online account would help to determine the most optimal path to resolution for her issue.
This is where predictive technology comes into play. The predictive platform would know who the customer was and what she was doing online before calling in. Combining that knowledge with her account profile information, it would determine the problem was an overdue bill, and offer the correct solution. The IVR would give the customer a scripted explanation about why her card was declined and immediately provide the option to pay the balance owing.
Compare this to the scenario offered by natural language alone, which would require the customer to transfer to a call agent where she might have to restart her journey, and it’s clear to see that combining natural language with predictive technology is essential to providing faster journeys with better resolution rates.
Start exceeding your customer’s expectations. Learn more about how we can help you combine natural language with predictive technologies to provide optimal customer journeys.
Publish Date: January 30, 2018 5:00 AM
In our digital age, paid media campaigns are an effective way for advertisers to connect with customers – but not all paid media campaign platforms are the same. Though all reliable vendors offer the same basic capabilities, some are more effectively harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to set themselves apart. With the sheer number of platforms and vendors available, it can be difficult for business owners to determine which one offers the tools and functionalities that will work best for their needs.
To help organizations make informed decisions, MarTech Today recently published Enterprise Paid Media Campaign Management Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide, a comprehensive report that profiles and analyzes a number of leading paid media campaign management platforms. We’re proud to be included as a leading vendor.
Below, we review the tools all paid media campaign platforms should possess and examine some of the functionalities that help set 7.ai Customer Acquisition Cloud apart.
MarTech Intelligence Report ranking of leading paid media campaign management platform capabilities.
As technology and consumer habits evolve, paid advertising has gotten more sophisticated, offering advertisers new and exciting ways to connect with consumers. Viable campaign management platforms should allow businesses to run integrated campaigns by supporting all key channels, including search, display, social, video, and mobile.
Shopping campaigns are a visually dynamic way for businesses to get in front of customers, promote their products and increase web traffic. Virtually all platforms support Google Shopping Campaigns, but some overlook Bing, which receives over 8 million search queries each day. Why limit yourself when you can have it all? 7.ai supports both shopping campaign types.
Do you ever feel like internet ads know you better than you know yourself? Isn’t it funny how products or services you’re interested in have an uncanny way of appearing front and center on an internet page near you? Advances in technology have helped advertisers better pinpoint individual interests and buying habits in order to put the right message/offer in front of the right person. Effective search platforms like the 7 Customer Acquisition Cloud support this type of audience-based targeting and offer additional integration with data management platforms to help you make the most of your advertising budget.
Having a clear picture of the chain of events that led to your customers taking a desired action is essential to continuing to effectively engage with them. A useful platform should not only help you identify and measure your various advertising efforts, it should use collected data to help you more efficiently allocate your budget across paid media channels.
Voice is still an incredibly popular and important channel – call tracking is the cherry on the voice channel cake, because it provides valuable insight into which keywords and advertising efforts are getting customers to pick up the phone and call your company. When looking for a paid search platform, choose one like the 7.ai Customer Acquisition Cloud that offers easy integration with various call tracking and analytics providers.
This functionality is an important differentiator between leading platforms - and an area where 7.ai really shines. How often platforms bid on keywords and how frequently bids are adjusted throughout the day can make a huge difference to your PPC success. While most platforms bid a few times each day, the 7 Predictive Search Bidding platform bids up to 168 times each day, which ensures your budget is always optimized and being used most effectively.
Choosing a paid media campaign platform shouldn’t feel like an impossible task. Work with a vendor you can trust – contact 7.ai today and learn how we can help you automate tasks, improve productivity, connect with customers, and enjoy a greater ROI.
The complexities of paid media advertising make it a perfect candidate for automation. Using a trusted paid media platform offers a number of benefits, including:
Publish Date: January 23, 2018 5:00 AM
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
The old adage might strike fear into the hearts of procrastinators everywhere, but it has stood the test of time for a reason. There are a number of scenarios where procrastination will cost you – filing your taxes, buying an anniversary gift, and of course, undergoing a digital transformation.
Digital transformation is an essential process for companies who want to continue meeting changing consumer demands and remain competitive in the modern marketplace, yet, a recent study by Forrester found that over 60% of executives believe they are lagging behind.
This happens for a number of reasons. Undergoing a digital transformation can feel like an overwhelming process requiring a significant investment, both financial and operational, and many organizations are often unsure where or how to get started. It can also be difficult to get buy-in and support from the board and hard to convince employees and leadership to embrace the necessary culture shift.
But, as customers become more and more demanding – the same Forrester study found that consumers now have zero tolerance for poor customer experiences – digital transformation is no longer an option. If you received a past-due notice from the bank or were told you needed surgery, you wouldn’t put it off – the same sense of urgency should be applied to digital transformations to avoid putting your organization at risk.
To meet the demands of modern-day consumers, companies must ensure they’re providing consistent experiences across all channels in addition to automating digital interactions and allowing customers to self-serve whenever possible. Get started by analyzing your customer journeys to determine which ones you should automate first – pinpoint where customers are becoming frustrated and abandoning their journey and determine what’s needed to improve their experience.
Don’t wait – get started today.
2018 is expected to be the year when the impact of a lagging digital transformation becomes painfully clear. Forrester predicts 30% of companies who were slow to act will see further declines in CX performance, which will likely translate into substantial profit losses, in addition to a loss of confidence, loss of key team players, and the potential for the organization to perish completely.
Don’t put your organization at risk by allowing the experiences you offer to drift further from modern-day customer expectations. Register for our webinar on Jan 23 featuring guest speaker and Forrester Principal Analyst Brendan Witcher, where you’ll get practical advice on how to drive organizational change and use technology to improve customer experiences.
Publish Date: January 9, 2018 5:00 AM
In the last decade, rapidly advancing technology has dramatically changed the customer service landscape. Digital channels have made huge leaps forward, from user interface/experience enhancements to social media and smart devices that have disrupted the way consumers engage with brands. While digital keeps advancing, the IVR voice channel has changed very little. And although call volumes may be decreasing, voice is still the most popular customer service channel overall. With today’s consumers using their smartphones for just about everything, enterprises have an unprecedented opportunity to give customers a richer, multi-modal experience on their preferred channel by implementing technology like 7 Active Share.
With 7 Active Share, you can digitally upgrade voice calls by transforming them into a visually rich experience. Call agents are able to deliver personalized, interactive content directly to a customer’s phone, tablet or computer during a voice call, engaging them with relevant information, such as product or plan comparisons, account verifications, terms and conditions, etc. For today’s digitally-minded consumers, this is a game-changer. For companies, this helps increase customer satisfaction, increase call resolution and boost revenue.
Show, don’t tell. Make the smartphone the conversational anchor—not the agent.
In most contact centers, agents can use 7 Active Share to enhance 25-50% of calls. This takes voice calls to new levels, turns voice agents into customer guides and increases efficiency by enabling smart workflows for a variety of customer needs.
7 Active Share deploys easily on existing voice technology stacks without high incremental investment, making it a smart way to add value to an existing customer service channel without driving up costs.
How do you know 7 Active Share really works? The numbers don't lie. Here are real-world success stories that show how 7 Active Share helped two leading companies increase customer satisfaction, sales conversions, and resolution rates, adding measurable value to their voice investment.
*Results are compared to calls without 7 Active Share.
When a major telecommunications company implemented 7 Active Share for both support and sales contact centers, it saw a considerable lift in issue resolution and CSAT: Calls with 7 Active Share achieved 32 percent higher resolution rate and nearly four times higher NPS score than calls without it.
Customers appreciate that 7 Active Share drives higher resolution and CSAT.
A leading hospitality brand used 7 Active Share to give its booking agents rich visual aids when helping customers make reservations. They achieved nearly double the conversion rate with calls using 7 Active Share compared to those without, as well as 5 percent higher average revenue per call.
Now is the time to upgrade your voice channel and empower your agents with exciting new tools and capabilities. Click here to learn more about 7 Active Share and how it can bring your voice calls into the digital age while boosting revenue, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction.
Publish Date: December 14, 2017 5:00 AM
Today we rolled out the 7.ai Fall 2017 Release that supports Apple Business Chat, enabling companies to have a conversation with consumers using natural language, on more than a billion Apple devices worldwide. The Fall 2017 Release, available to all existing 7.ai clients as part of new capability additions to the platform, also includes Vivid Speech functionality that enhances interactive voice response (IVR) with intuitive visual experiences.
Brands and consumers are increasingly turning to digital communication as a way to simplify complex tasks. The Fall 2017 Release adds intelligent messaging capabilities to 7 Chat and 7 AIVA which enables consumer to pick up conversations where they left off, even if they are using a different device or revisiting a conversation months later. Because customers never have to start over, it results in a superior customer experience that helps drive brand loyalty.
The Vivid Speech feature available in 7 AIVA, augments IVR by providing consumers with a multimodal speech, touch, and visual experience that dramatically improves self-service automation. Vivid Speech enables companies to engage with customers visually, without having to download a mobile application. By providing callers on smartphones with a link to a personalized mobile Web page, Vivid Speech gives consumers the option to use touch as an input mode.
Vivid Speech gives consumers control and greatly improves customer satisfaction, while intelligent messaging enables effortless interactions no matter how or when consumers choose to engage with your company. This is achieved by transferring context over time and across devices, as exemplified by our support Apple Business Chat.
In addition to Vivid Speech and support for Apple Business Chat, the Fall 2017 Release includes the following enhancements:
Using 7.ai products clients are experiencing real-world results in their digital transformation. An American radio company, with more than 32 million customers is using 7 Chat, 7 AIVA and 7 Digital Chat Agents to increase digital adoption and improve the customer service experience by serving customers how and where they want. Overall, the company has projected savings of $7M in the first year from routing improvement based on intent-prediction, journey automation, and a better virtual agent experience with 7 AIVA. Of the journeys 7.ai has automated, 50% achieved first contact resolution (FCR) through self-service.
Another leading American telecom provider with 13 million customers chose 7 AIVA and 7 Chat to deliver an intuitive, personalized customer experience that would attract customers to its digital channels. With 7.ai automation they registered a 26 percent increase in weekly chat volume, reducing customer service costs by driving more contacts away from the highest cost channel—voice. They projected savings of $6 million in the first year from routing improvements based on predicted intent and journey automation with 7.ai.
For more information about the 7.ai Fall 2017 Release, please visit: https://www.247.ai/fall-release-2017
Publish Date: November 15, 2017 5:00 AM
Today, we officially rolled out 7 AIVA as part of our 2017 Summer Release. AIVA is our industry-leading AI-powered Virtual Agent that enables businesses to build once and deploy across any self-service channel. It’s built on 7’s common technology platform for both self-service and assisted service channels, and it allows companies to better anticipate what their customers are trying to achieve, to deliver a more personalized experience.
AIVA is a powerful and differentiated technology. It’s the only Virtual Agent solution built on one code base for digital and speech channels. This means we’ve broken down the siloes between voice and digital, self-service and assisted service. Businesses can now build one Virtual Agent solution that acts as a concierge across multiple channels by supporting web, messaging, mobile, IVR and more.
What’s even more unique is AIVA’s ability to predict intent – in other words, what is a customer trying to accomplish? The solution’s intent prediction is based on 1.6 billion customer interactions, which means it’s highly accurate at figuring out what a customer needs, and delivering the right kind of resolution. AIVA is tightly integrated with 7 Chat, and can seamlessly escalate a customer to a human agent if a request cannot be completed within self-service.
One of AIVA’s standout features is its ability to understand natural language – not simply absorbing the words a customer is saying or typing, but getting to the heart of what those words actually mean. Since humans often communicate in vague terms, the ability to understand consumer intent is critical. For example, when a consumer calls a phone company and says “I hate my phone,” AIVA can understand that the consumer is frustrated, and may be looking for a new device.
The technology’s conversational design and language modeling enables AIVA to respond as effectively as a company’s best human agent, and it’s built on Deep Neural Network (DNN) technology from Microsoft. This yields 95% higher speech recognition accuracy than competitors, and enables AIVA to detect things like slang and accents.
The 7 Summer Release 2017 also includes the following enhancements:
This is launch promises to create a big impact for businesses looking to enhance their customer experience, and empowers customers to connect with companies on the channels most convenient for them.
Publish Date: August 16, 2017 5:00 AM
I used to work in a destination hotel rooftop cocktail bar. The guests would often queue for over an hour to get a table with a view. The expectation of that experience was that waiting in the queue at the bottom of the elevator would be worth it, because, when they reached the 23rd floor, they’d be treated to a table with a view of the city and a delicious cocktail.
But, what actually delighted our guests again and again was the human touch that helped contribute to their experience by providing useful tips and assistance during their visit. The fun, entertaining hosts would use humour and warmth to make that wait for a table and their evening’s experience by providing helpful information and context along the way, often changing the course of the evening for the guest.
I now wonder, how would the ways we improved on the customers’ experience at the cocktail bar translate to today’s digital world?
In today’s digital world, where technologies constantly push the boundaries of expectation for a self-serve and personalized experience to get things done without assistance from others, that improvement might look like a chatbot. The guest could ask questions about the cocktails, place their order, pay over Facebook Messenger or an app, while in the queue. The chatbot could allocate them a table, and help them find it on arrival using a map. It could even talk them through some landmarks visible from their table and answer general questions about the city. That would save time for the guest and business, but what if something went wrong, a card payment issue, or a problem with a drink? You’d still need that human presence in case the chatbot couldn’t help.
There are many key moments during a travel and hospitality experience. Some are best dealt with by another person, one who understands intricate details and can use emotional intelligence to answer a question or discretion to solve a problem. However, in general, we just want to get things done, and most of the time, we don’t want to have to do that with the help of another person when we know technology, such as chatbots, exist to help us do it ourselves.
Sure, a chatbot might not be the ideal host in a cocktail bar, but they can help people get many things done that would traditionally fall to an agent. Finding the right blend of chatbot and agent in your customer engagement strategy is vital to keeping your customers and your CIO happy, and it is possible without losing the very essence of hospitality, the human touch.
Join our travel and hospitality webinar on January 12 to learn the value of finding the right partnership between agents and chatbots and how to build a seamless customer experience.
Publish Date: January 5, 2017 5:00 AM
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, and – unfortunately – your customer experience is far from delightful. It's a challenging time for the insurance industry. Insurers face slow growth, competitive pressures, regulatory scrutiny, and the rise of mergers and acquisitions. If that wasn't enough to deal with, consumer demand for digital solutions has shifted the traditional insurance business model from a product to a service orientation. Despite insurers best attempts to stay ahead of the curve, they aren't meeting their customer's needs. According to Capgemini, only 29% of customers across the globe say they've had a positive customer experience from their insurer – and in such a competitive market, that means customers are turning to your competitors.
The top of every consumers' wish list this holiday season is a digital option for their service needs. In the age of the digital consumer, customer behaviors are moving at a rapid pace towards digital, personalized service. With an annual average of 65 interactions per customer, and with 75% of consumers preferring to solve their service issues on their own, consumers want their providers to deliver a unified, digital, self-service customer experience.
Insurers that provide the digital customer experiences their customers expect will be rewarded with higher acquisition of new policyholders, lower churn rates, lower administrative cost savings, and improvement in overall policyholder experience. Want to know how your organization can reap the rewards of a strong customer experience?
Join our Insurance Leaders: 'Tis The Season to Optimize with Digital Self-Service webinar on December 1st to learn more about how digital self-service solutions can optimize your online customer experience strategy. You'll learn how today's state-of-the-art digital solutions can optimize policyholder engagement and retention, increase revenues, and deepen relationships.
There truly is no better gift to the policyholder than an exceptional customer experience.
Register for the webinar to learn more about:
Publish Date: November 15, 2016 5:00 AM
Over the last year, there has been nonstop buzz surrounding Chatbots with big brands such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. betting big on the future of bots. As Telecom providers look at ways to enhance their customer experience, it makes perfect sense that they are taking a closer look at Chatbots as a tool to bolster their sales, service, and support. However not all bots are created equal. The term "Chatbot" used today has become an "umbrella" term used to describe everything from basic Q & A to a more sophisticated self-service experience with virtual assistants and assisted service with chat agents.
While Chatbots can reduce labor costs and streamline many customer interactions, they can’t handle all customer journeys or solve every problem a typical telecom customer may have. With every major telecom provider listing customer experience as one of their top strategic imperatives, striking the perfect balance between Chatbots and human agents can deliver an optimal customer experience for today and the future.
To learn more about how Telecom providers can strike the right balance between bots and agents, join a 7 Webinar on Nov 10th, 2016. The webinar will highlight the value of combining bots with live chat agents and describe how a large Telecom provider increased their NPS by transitioning their customers from a virtual agent to live chat agent, thus delivering a seamless and continuous customer experience.
Publish Date: November 9, 2016 5:00 AM
Omnichannel, predictive analytics, and big data! Oh my! These three terms are just a few of the many customer experience (CX) considerations that have become hot topic buzzwords for chat centers. Unfortunately, the lack of a rigid, standard definition for many of these terms has created an opening for many opportunistic legacy chat vendors. Some vendors are claiming they're able to provide these features to customers with quasi-solutions, misleading claims, and outdated technology. Unless you've spent a decade working in a chat center understanding how these technology capabilities truly work, it can be difficult to know if your chat vendor is providing everything they claim.
But no need to worry! We've taken the guess work out of it for you. Our most seasoned chat center experts have shared the top five mistruths that chat platform providers tell - and the reality behind their claims.
"We use prediction to target the right visitors"
"We use big data to improve outcomes"
"We can quickly and easily increase chat revenue"
"We can manage your business rules, but it will cost you"
"We offer an omnichannel solution"
Has your chat vendor made any of these claims? Most vendors do.
When important customer experience considerations become industry buzzwords, every vendor will quickly claim they're able to deliver.
Educate yourself with our latest article "White Lies, Fibs, and Half Truths Your Chat Vendor May Be Selling You" and rest easy knowing that with this knowledge you'll be able to spot the real from the imposters.
Publish Date: September 2, 2016 5:00 AM
If you're responsible for improving online conversions and sales within your organization, it pays to understand exactly how today's top digital customer experience (CX) technologies excel in this area. CX technology provides a win-win to consumers and businesses by increasing sales and improving customer loyalty.
We've identified five key digital CX strategies your company can embrace to increase sales:
Each of these strategies result in a positive impact on sales while automatically achieving customer loyalty improvements at the same time! Want to know more about each of these steps and how they drive loyalty? Read more in our latest article 5 Ways Digital CX Technology Drives More Sales (And Higher Loyalty).
Publish Date: August 8, 2016 5:00 AM
As digital customer experience (CX) gets more and more complicated, wouldn't you love a super-simple way to clarify your thinking and prioritize next actions? Well here it is!
7 has put together a good ol' fashioned checklist that you can complete in minutes. See how it strips away complexity and gives you some much needed clarity on what to do next. From digital self-service to live support (and everything in between), this checklist will uncover new areas of focus for improving your customer's experience. Get it today – you'll want to share this one with your team!
Download your copy today: Your 16-Point Checklist for Digital CX Success
Publish Date: July 21, 2016 5:00 AM
When today's consumers are in need of information from a company, their initial reaction is to reach for their smartphone, tablet, or laptop and go online. While navigating your website, customers expect to be able to find quick, accurate answers to their questions, completely on their own. A consumer's ideal experience is one where they can get all the information they need without having to interact with a service or sales agent. The faster and easier they're able to get their information the more positive experience they will have. Finding the best way to organize the information on your website begins with understanding the types of information that your consumers are looking for.
But, do you know the kinds of questions that your customers are asking? And, perhaps more importantly, do you know how their online behavior provides insight into opportunities that leaders can capitalize on in their quest to better serve each customers and win market share?
The Voice of the Customer Report from 7 provides these answers. We analyzed 75,000 customer interactions to produce five key findings that can help you better understand your customers, and in turn, take actionable steps to improve your customer's experience.
Publish Date: July 8, 2016 5:00 AM