AI for Customer service
Updated: August 27, 2021
2021. Zendesk acquires AI automation startup Cleverly to advance customer service
Zendesk has announced the acquisition of early-stage artificial intelligence startup Cleverly. Cleverly’s product platform provides a series of artificial intelligence-powered capabilities, including a triage function to automatically tag incoming service requests to help categorize workflow. The startup also has what it refers to as AI-powered human augmentation with its agent assist capability that aims to help customer service agents provide the right answers to inquiries. The company’s technology already integrates with Zendesk, as well as with Salesforce.
2021. Zoomin raises $52M to help companies turn disparate product content into useful customer support data
Zoomin, an Israeli startup that uses machine learning, natural language processing and some big data magic to help companies build self-service experiences that bring together information and answers pulled from all of the content that’s being generated by customers and the company itself across various channels, has picked up $52 million in a Series C. Zoomin taps into “content” — the source of its answers — in real time wherever it is being made, and those are also typically the places where Zoomin-generated answers are being delivered, too. Documentation sites, customer service portals, support communities, product applications and anywhere that people are searching for help and chatting are also the typical sources of information that get fed into the Zoomin machine.
2021. Glia raises $78M for its integrated AI-based customer service platform
Glia, which has built a platform that not only integrates and helps manage different customer support channels, but also provides tools to help agents proactively get into a customer’s app or web page to help them find things or fix issues, is today announcing that it has picked up $78 million, a Series C. What makes Glia quite interesting and different from these are some of the twists it uses to engage with users. One of these involves being able to give agents the ability to actually get on the screen of the user in question, in order to both guide the user around the screen, and to see what the user is doing on that screen. Alongside this, Glia provides tools to agents to let coach them on questions to ask, phrasing to use, and links for answers, and Glia also develops virtual customer service assistants, to help with more basic questions.
2020. ServiceNow is acquiring Element AI, startup building AI services for enterprises
ServiceNow, the cloud-based IT services company, is making a significant acquisition today to fill out its longer-term strategy to be a big player in the worlds of automation and artificial intelligence for enterprises. It is acquiring Element AI, a startup building AI-based IT services for enterprises. The deal is the latest move for a company aiming to build a modern platform fit for our times. ServiceNow has been around since 2004, so it’s not strictly a legacy business, but all the same, it is vying to position itself as the go-to company for “digital transformation” — the buzz term for enterprise IT services this year, as everyone scrambles to do more online, in the cloud and remotely to continue operating through a global health pandemic and whatever comes in its wake.
2020. Ushur raises $25M for its no-code platform to build customer communication flows
Startup called Ushur that has built a platform for any business to create its own AI-based customer communication flows with no coding required, has picked up $25M in a Series B funding. It brings the total raised by Ushur to $36 million. The startup is currently focusing on the insurance sector (a big one when it comes to speaking with customers and amassing data during the conversation) and it counts Aetna, Irish Life, Tower Insurance and Unum among its customers building chatbots (dubbed Virtual Customer Assistants by Ushur), automated email response flows (branded SmartMail) and tools to help customer service agents serve people more quickly (FlowBuilder).
2020. Salesforce beefing up field service offering with AI
Salesforce is adding some AI enhancements to its field service offerings that take advantage of this capability. For starters, the company announced Dynamic Priority. Certainly humans are capable of prioritizing a list of repairs, but by letting the machine set priority based on factors like service agreement type or how critical the repair is, it can organize calls much faster, leaving dispatchers to handle other tasks. Also Salesforce also wants to give the customer the same capability they are used to getting in a rideshare app, where you can track the progress of the driver to your destination. Appointment Assistant, a new app, gives customers this ability, so they know when to expect the repair person to arrive.
2020. Kustomer acquires Reply.ai to enhance chatbots on its customer service CRM
CRM startup Kustomer is acquiring Reply.ai, a startup originally founded in Madrid that has built a code-free platform for companies to create customised chatbots to handle customer service enquires that use machine learning to, over time, become better at responding to those inbound contacts. Reply.ai's customers include Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Samsung, and a number of retailers and major ad and marketing agencies working on behalf of clients. Kustomer is taking on the bigger names in CRM, including Salesforce, Zendesk and Oracle, by providing a platform that makes it easier for human agents to handle inbound “omnichannel” customer requests
2020. Omilia raises $20M to use conversational AI for customer support
Omilia, that has built a conversational AI for customer support, has raised $20 million in its first ever funding round. Omilia offers a customer care virtual assistant that uses machine learning to offer what it claims is a more “human-like” experience. It uses a natural language engine, trained via machine learning, to listen and respond to queries and uses voice biometrics to verify callers as they speak. It works on all platforms – phone, web chat, social networks, SMS, email, smart speakers and apps – and integrates with existing customer support systems. The technology has also been adapted for 21 languages, including regional dialects and accents.
2020. Kaizo raises $3M for its AI-based tools to improve customer service support teams
Customer service, and the idea of gamifying it to motivate employees, might feel like the last thing on people’s minds at the moment, but it is actually timely and relevant to our current state in responding to and living with the coronavirus. Dutch company Kaizo, which uses AI and gamification to provide feedback on agents’ work, tips on what to do differently, and tools to set and work to goals, has raised $3 million. Kaizo has already 500 companies including Truecaller, SimpleSurance, Miro, CreditRepairCloud, Justpark, Festicket and Nmbrs are using its software, covering “thousands” of customer support agents, which use a mixture of free and paid tools that integrate with established CRM software from the likes of Salesforce, Zendesk and more.
2020. Freshworks acquires AnsweriQ
Customer engagement platform Freshworks has acquired AnsweriQ, a startup that provides AI tools for self-service solutions and agent-assisted use cases where the ultimate goal is to quickly provide customers with answers and make agents more efficient. AnsweriQ, which has customers that use Freshworks and competing products, will continue to operate its existing products for the time being. Over time, Freshworks, of course, hopes to convert many of these users into Freshworks users as well. The company also plans to integrate AnsweriQ’s technology into its Freddy AI engine.
2019. AI-based e-commerce helpdesk Gorgias raises $14M
Gorgias, a startup offering artificial intelligence tools for customer service and support, is announcing that it has raised $14 million in Series A funding. Gorgias is taking advantage of a broader shift as brands are looking to sell directly to consumers, rather than going through intermediaries like Amazon. The product integrates with Shopify, using AI and customer data to automate responses to basic questions like, “What’s my tracking number?” By doing this, the business can free customer service representatives from spending most of their time responding to these routine requests, and the customers get faster answers.
2019. Moveworks snags $75M Series B to resolve help desk tickets with AI
Moveworks, a startup using AI to help resolve help desk tickets in an automated fashion, announced a $75 million Series B investment. Moveworks is a machine learning platform that uses natural language understanding to take tickets that are submitted by employees every day to their IT teams for stuff they need, understands the content of the tickets, interprets them, and then takes the actions to resolve them automatically. This should lead to greater user satisfaction because some of their problems can be resolved immediately, even when IT personnel aren’t around to help. Instead of filing a ticket and waiting for an answer, Moveworks can provide the answer, at least part of the time, without human intervention.
2018. Zoho Desk adds AI assistant for customer service
Service management software Zoho Desk is getting new capabilities that allow businesses to elevate agent productivity, manage cross-functional service processes, and contextually integrate customer service with other business functions. Voice and Chat Assistant: Zia helps reduce the load on customer service teams. Through Zia Voice, customers can speak or chat with Zia to receive answers from a knowledge base. Agents can also speak or chat with Zia to receive response suggestions while helping customers. Zia suggests specific sections of a knowledge-base article rather than the entire article. Agents can also speak or chat with Zia to receive response suggestions while helping customers. Zia suggests specific sections of a knowledge-base article rather than the entire article. Agents can add these suggestions to a response with a single click and send the same to the customer.
2018. Talkdesk nabs $100M for its smart call centers
Talkdesk, the provider of cloud-based contact center software, has raised $100 million in new funding. The round values the company at north of $1 billion. The company, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve customer service, targets mid-market and enterprise businesses, counting IBM, Dropbox, Stitch Fix and Farfetch as customers. With Talkdesk companies with millions customers can allow each customer to connect with a company in the best way possible. Having received a call customer service agent can see what products the cutomer bought, what her tastes are, what she has complained about before.
2018. Microsoft launches new AI applications for Dynamics 365 CRM
A year ago Microsoft introduced its first Dynamics 365 AI solutions and today it’s expanding this portfolio with the launch of three new products: Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, Customer Service and Market Insights. Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, unsurprisingly, is meant to help sales teams get deeper insights into their prospects using sentiment analysis. That’s obviously among the most basic of machine learning applications these days, but AI for Sales also helps these salespeople understand what actions they should take next and which prospects to prioritize. Similarly, the Customer Service app focuses on using natural language understanding to understand and predict customer service problems and leverage virtual agents to lower costs. Finally, Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights does just what the name implies: it provides teams with data about social sentiment, but this, too, goes a bit deeper.
2018. ServiceNow created helpdesk-chatbot platform
ServiceNow unveiled new chatbot building tool called Virtual Agent that provides developers a way to create an automated bot-driven process for routine helpdesk requests. The company claims that you can build these bots to provide end-to-end service. Meaning if you tell the bot you need a new phone, it can pull your records, understand what you currently have and order a new one all in the same interaction — and all within a common messaging interface such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. It also works for customer service transactions to process routine customer inquiries without having to route them to a CSR to answer typical questions.
2018. IBM unveiled voice assistant for business and it's called ... Watson
In "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" people always asked super-intelligent robot Marvin to fulfill only simplest tasks, that's why he was always depressed. The same thing can happen with IBM's AI Watson. The company will make him working as a voice assistant and answer simplest questions about weather, traffic and schedule. Even worse, people won't know that they are talking to Watson, because it is white labeled service. Any company can now create own voice assistant on Watson Assistant platform and call it Ivie for example. In fact, Watson Assistant already works in a bunch of spots, including the Munich Airport and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
2017. Freshdesk acquires chatbot startup Joe Hukum
Help desk service Freshdesk has acquired Joe Hukum, a startup out of India that offers a platform for businesses to build their own chatbots. Joe Hukum, formerly known as Speedy, was originally focused more on building its own personal assistant / concierge app to help people order goods and services before pivoting to present the service as a platform for building bots for other businesses. Joe Hukum’s knowledge tree coding has been built to automates sales, service and support workflows, and so the team from the startup will be building bots on top of existing Freshworks products to help it stand out over alternative services. The deal underscores the continuing interest in chatbots that we’re seeing from the world of customer support: companies are looking for more efficient and less expensive ways to provide basic information and help to their customers, and many have their sights set on chatbots as a viable solution, notwithstanding that a lot of what is being built right now still in its very early stages.
2017. Zoho CRM got AI assistant
Zoho has introduced Zia - the Artificial Intelligence-powered Sales Assistant for Zoho CRM. Zia lets you know when something is going extraordinarily well –or wrong- in your sales operation, knows what you want to do – and helps you do it faster and bring the end of voicemails and unread emails. Zia is capable of learning, over time, the most frequent actions a particular user takes on Zoho CRM. Besides, Zoho introduced Blueprint, a sales process automation platform and upgraded two features to platforms: Zoho PhoneBridge, which connects a customer's PBX system to the Zoho CRM system, and SalesSignals, which provides real-time information about the activities of customers and prospects.