Case Study – Monese

We recently finished our case study in customer service chat automation with Monese.com For us it was a great experience to see how our artificial intelligence based technology has worked in production over the past several months. Monese is a revolutionary neo-bank founded with the ambitious goal of building a global instant-open bank account for the on-demand age. To manage their customer support more efficiently, we deployed our Virtual Customer Assistant (VCA) technology into their in-app customer support chat. The results have been very positive as the VCA has handled thousands of conversations and has autonomously solved (i.e. without any human help) more than 15% of the customer service requests it has encountered. Read more about the case here.

New customer – LHV Bank

Glad to announce that we launched a Virtual Customer Assistant for LHV Bank – one of the most innovative banks in the Nordic region. LHV Bank, listed on the Nasdaq Baltic stock exchange, launched their retail banking activities a few years ago. They were looking for new ways to offer an even better customer service and consequently were looking into chatbots. We at AlphaBlues utilized our platform to build LHV their own Virtual Customer Assistant specifically tailored to answer their most frequently asked questions. The chatbot, called Uku, is available to answer customer questions in Facebook Messenger 24/7. The chabot is currently functioning in Estonian language and can be tried out here. You can find the official press release here.

 

Meet us at Chatbot Summit in Berlin

We’re excited to be taking part of the Chatbot Summit in Berlin on June 26. The event is a major one in Europe focusing on chatbots, NLP, AI and conversational interfaces. AlphaBlues will be having its own booth at the event. If you are there, stop by, get to play around with our product and view the latest use cases. Also we have a 20% discount code ABbot20 for tickets that you are free to use. See you in Berlin!

We’re joining the NVIDIA Inception Program

Excited to announce that AlphaBlues is joining the NVIDIA Inception Program. The program nurtures dedicated and exceptional startups who are revolutionizing industries with advances in Artificial Intelligence and data science. This virtual accelerator program helps startups during critical stages of product development, prototyping, and deployment. NVIDIA is a major player in the advancement of AI and we’re excited to take part of that journey. We’ll be working with some advanced text ontology based intent detection algorithms during the course of the program to enhance our Virtual Customer Assistants. Expect an update on this progress in the near future!

Idea360 podcast + Latitude59 recap

 

It has been a busy week at AlphaBlues. Had a fun time with the good people Joao Rei and Kuldar Kullasepp on their new Idea360 podcast. The show focuses on new technologies, marketing advice and lessons on how to grow your business. I had the pleasure to talk about chatbots and the way in which messaging is changing how people interact with business. We covered a wide range of topics from what are chatbots, what benefit do they give to business and what roles does artificial intelligence play in that process. The show was in English and you can LISTEN THE SHOW IN THE WEB HERE or THROUGH ITUNES HERE.

 

 

We also took part in a major startup/tech event in the region – Latitude59. We were featured in the Startup Area with our demo stand. It was great to meet a good deal of new people which is a testament to the fact that the interest in chatbots is growing. One of the things that people were interested in was learning about the possibilities and limits of artificial intelligence. The media hype has been especially strong with AI and as such many have inflated expectations 🙂 Therein also lies our message that it is actually possible to use current AI and chatbots to deliver ROI with best practices.

Another general topic we were asked about was using chatbots for sales and lead generation. Overall, this strategy fits well for smaller organizations who seek to maximise their earnings potential and need additional sales people. Our advice was to think whether there is some sales process you wish to automate for your website and then get a chatbot for that.

In customer service automation, larger companies are waking to the idea that having an automated chat can be of use. Certainly, there is more interest than a few months ago. The tide is slowly turning thanks to the quick growth in messaging applications and also by the users who expect to contact companies through messaging. It is a process that will take a bit more time but the direction in which communication is moving is more messaging and less phone/email.

Our learnings from the 2017 Gartner Customer Experience & Technologies Summit

Last week we attended the premier Gartner event on customer experience in London. With a full 2-day schedule of in-depth sessions, workshops and use cases, the event was a whirlwind tour of all things customer experience and support related. Coverage was world class with excellent speakers talking about the latest on the topic. Our eye was out for the development of virtual customer agents (chatbots) and the way in which enterprise is adopting artificial intelligence. There was much more discussed that I have written down below and if you have any further questions, reach out indrek (at) alphablues.com, but here are the key learnings we took:

  • The chatbot space for enterprise is still early. 2016 was the year when Facebook Messenger lead the charge in chatbots but enterprise is slowly starting to pilot first use cases. Needless to say, customer service is one of the top items on their agenda but expect pilots to evaluate the use of such solutions.

 

  • The terminology is evolving. What we have are Virtual Personal Assistants (think Siri, Google Assistant), Virtual Customer Assistants or VCAs (what we do), Virtual Employee Assistants (e.g. Slack chatbots for supporting employees) and chatbots (specific use case based narrow chat agents). It shows how the world of chatbots is evolving into multiple streams with specific functionality for a variety of applications.

 

  • The vendor landscape is not mature yet. There is a wide variety of technologies from large tech companies to CRM companies to startups and everything in between. Companies are suggested to try out those technologies as pilots rather than build solutions in-house.

 

  • Customer service improvements inside enterprise are happening as multi-year internal projects. VCAs can be additional value to those projects.

 

  • The main benefits that VCAs can bring is the increase in speed (instantaneous replies with 24/7 availability) and increase in customer satisfaction (the company actually answered my question 🙂 ).

 

  • For enterprise one of the main assessment factors when considering chatbot is the ability to scale as the volumes that need support are considerable.

 

Having talked to multiple large enterprises and also tech vendors it is visible how companies are getting increasingly interested in chatbots and VCAs. While it is still early days, the short-mid term benefits that chatbot adoption can bring in terms of cost savings and speed of delivery is understood by many and remains to be seen how the landscape will have evolved by next year’s summit!

AlphaBlues Selected TOP15 Nordic Startup

Happy to announce that we were selected TOP 15 Nordic startup by one of the leading startup events, Arctic15. Out of hundreds of applications we emerged in the TOP 30 and then after public voting and assessment by judges, we made the final TOP 15.

With that we will be taking part in the Microsoft Pitching Competition at the Arctic15 conference May 3-4 in Helsinki with the main prize of a 50,000 eur syndicate deal by the Finnish Business Angels Network. On May 3rd we will also be showcasing our artificial intelligence based customer service solution in the demo hall, so stop by to say hello 🙂

And if you cannot make it to Helsinki this week then meet us at the Gartner Customer Experience and Technologies Summit in London May 10-11.

iConsmr conference 2017

Last week Hendrik and I travelled to Hamburg to take part in the annual iConsmr conference organized by our good friends at defacto X, the leading consumer centricity company in Europe. This year the confernece had hundreds of top media and marketing executives from Germany attending to learn about the latest trends in how to attract customers and keep them in a world where attention spans are shorter and the number of options growing by the day.

Having attended numerous conferences in the past month, this one stuck out because of the excellent networking event the night before. Where in most cases you fly in in the morning and jump straight to the program, then here was a good chance to mingle with the crowd with excellent food and drinks from the top chef Steffen Henssler. A very relaxed way to get to know people and prep for the day ahead 🙂

The main takeaways from the excellent speeches by other presenters was that consumers are looking for smart and real experiences. What that means is that the as companies around the world create new experiences they educate the consumers and as internet has levelled the playing field, those innovations spread like wildfire. So what you have is rising customer expectations that your brand needs to keep up with.

On the other side it is tougher to break out from the noise and those that do make it do it with authenticity and realism. Real people, real stories, real struggles, real victories. This is what moves crowds. Talking with several people around those topics, it was understandable that keeping customers happy in ways that appeals to them personally is a theme that many companies have growing interest in.

We also hosted a panel on Artificial Intelligence and chatbots and removed some of the black magic from AI and showed what it actually meant to be deployed in practice with Autotie, one of our customers from Finland. The main questions from the room about chatbots were about the languages that the bots are capable of supporting and the integrations into existing CRMs and in-house databases.

For companies it is becoming more and more important to offer the customer tailor-made information and tying existing customer data into chatbots for better context is of interest to many. To that end it was great to get insight and showcase some of the work we have been doing in taking customer data and context into account when automating customer interactions.

Happy panelists after the workshop on AI and chatbots.

 

Blockchain conference wrap-up from AI and chatbot perspective

Indrek talking about the latest developments in the AI and chatbots space.

We took part of the international Blockchain and Bitcoin Conference this week. With BTC trading at all time highs there was of course of lot of excitement in the room 🙂 As an exhibitor we  got a very good sense of the crowd and good insight. Being in the artificial intelligence and chatbot community, it was great to see a similar level enthusiasm in the blockchain community as well. The messages that we learned were that while the blockchain technology is exciting and promising it is still new and needs to be proved and stress-tested more to make a move towards more traditional banking.

With that regard it is understandable and somewhat similar to the AI trends we’re seeing in the chatbot world as well. Though the blockchain community and market is more mature, it still possesses the need for more proven use cases. This is similar to the chatbot products, as companies want to see demonstrable ROI and also see the underlying technology (the NLP layer) as more proven.

Was great to interact with the crowd and generate good leads as customer service and customer engagement is also relevant for the blockchain and bitcoin companies as they scale up and seek to automate their processes.

Our slides from Machine Learning meetup

Last week we presented at the largest gathering of Machine Learning professionals in Estonia, the ML Estonia meetup. The event gathered more the 200 people and Hendrik and I talked about what we are doing and what we are doing on the tech front with AI/ML as applied to text, images and also videos. The slides are available here.