Call Center Innovation – The Startups that Lead the Pack 2018

Call Center startups call center innovation | TechSee

Not long ago we looked at call center startups that are bringing their innovations to the customer care space. We’ve now revisited those companies and analyzed how they’re doing, as well as how the market has changed. We have also added new players to the list who are introducing new call center solutions, setting trends and making their mark on the industry.

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While mainstream tech trends follow in the footsteps of established and successful companies, it is often the small and innovative startups that drive change and introduce disruptive solutions. Call Center innovation is no different and often the most exciting new solutions will be born in a small garage. We’ve put a list of exciting call center startups that send the industry in new directions.

We are on a trajectory towards a consumer centric world. Customer support startups are springing up everywhere, presenting unique ideas that are changing the way we think about “customer service.”

Some of these innovative startups focus on the agents themselves, by helping them to better perform, while others are disrupting customer service as we know it, utilizing cutting edge technology such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and advanced big data analytics.

Look at these “game-changing” startups to see where customer service is headed.

1) AirCall

Is a completely cloud based customer support system, which a company uses to set up their own call center in a matter of minutes. The AirCall app features every traditional call center tool without requiring a company to purchase equipment or spend a fortune in startup costs. Best of all, every call center essential can be accessed from a smartphone.

Some of the most important features of AirCall include: the ability to purchase multiple phone numbers, teammates can easily be added to the dashboard, and that phone calls can be replaced and received on any phone.

It’s the perfect system for a small company looking to expand into the customer service world because it practically eliminates the risk traditionally associated with investing in a call center. With AirCall, customer service representatives are now able to work from anywhere on their mobile phone. They have literally taken the “center” out of “call center.”

2018 update:

AirCall has been growing rapidly since its founding. In 2016 the company successfully closed an $8 million Series A funding round from Balderton Capital, FJLabs, and existing investors. With the capital, AirCall has improved its call quality, added integrations with major CRM systems like Salesforce, Zoho, and Kustomer CRM, and launched apps for both iOS and Android.

Aircall continues to lead and innovate with features promoting better consumer and agent experience, as well as improving call center efficiency. These features extend from custom wait music, to improved call transfers and distribution. AirCall’s improvements seem to be working, as it now has over 80 employees and 3,000 customers worldwide.

2) TechSee

Provides a disruptive platform for Intelligent Visual Support, which allows tech support agents to see exactly what their customer sees and use augmented reality to visually guide them.

The platform completely changes the support process by moving it from a “blind” experience to a visual one, which delivers a significantly easier, faster, and more satisfying support experience. They are turning every support session into a virtual tech visit.

In addition, TechSee is collecting the visual data from those support interactions and using its proprietary machine vision algorithm to optimize support in real time. This data is the underlying asset for building a visual support bot.

2018 update:

TechSee set out to become the pioneer in Intelligent Visual Support for customer care, and this is exactly what it’s become. The company’s growth shows the massive potential for AI powered visual engagement in the customer service industry.

TechSee raised $7.5 million in a Series A financing round in June 2017, which is being used in leveraging its strong momentum, further developing the technology, and providing a leading visual engagement platform, as well as AI powered tools to its customers. Having created the largest, and continuously growing, visual repository of support related images,TechSee is positioned as the market leader.

3) EpiAnalytics

Uses big data analytics to provide key customer service insights. The system collects all customer interactions across different channels (customer complaints, feedback, surveys, emails, social media, and call logs).The data is then analyzed and structured into powerful and comprehensive insights that provide companies with the conviction to optimize their customers’ experience.

EpiAnalytics helps brands to optimize their service. Their system identifies good and bad customer experiences, analyzes the effects that those experiences have on customers and the reputation of the company’s brand, and finally it makes powerful insights about changes that need to be made.  

2018 update:  

EpiAnalytics  continues to extend and improve its offerings and capabilities dedicated to helping businesses turn data into action. Unstructured data accounts for over 85% of corporate data, which makes turning information such as unstructured text into actionable intelligence a mountainous task. Epianalytics continues to introduce new products and solutions to ease this task, and support multiple industries.

4) Pypestream

Is an app that allows recurring customer service interactions to be automated, and happen quickly over chat. No longer will a customer have to waste time and money waiting to speak with a representative when trying to resolve basic tech or service issues. Instead, Pypestream uses artificial intelligence to chat with its customers on a variety of issues. The app also utilizes push notifications to automatically alert customers of any issues that need to be brought to their attention.

For example, credit cards are often declined because a customer forgets to tell their bank or credit card company where and when they are traveling. Rather than trying to figure out what to do while waiting on hold for a customer service representative, Pypestream will send the customer a push notification asking where they are. All the customer will need to do is respond to the notification, and in a matter of moments they will be able to use their credit card again.

2018 update:

With the recent buzz around chatbots, it’s no surprise that Pypestream has been busy. When the company was founded in 2015, it was pitched as a text messaging app for businesses to communicate with customers.  

In February 2017, the company raised $15 million in a Series A funding round, and has expanded its efforts to automate as many repetitive inbound queries as possible. With its enterprise-grade chatbot, businesses are offered a great variety of advanced messaging capabilities. Pypestream can process payments, schedule appointments, notify customers of promotions ,as well as provide real-time support.

5) EvaluAgent 

Addresses one of the toughest challenges to any call center manager: motivating your team. They have created a web based platform that uses gamification, a social media interface, and other features to raise your team’s morale, increase their overall performance, and create a unifying experience.

This is great for a company whose customer service operation has become stagnant. Once customer service representatives begin to use EvaluAgent’s web based platform, they will become more competitive, engaged, and improve their performance.  

2018 update:

EvaluAgent’s cloud-based platform has attracted internationational enterprise customers  such as Atos, Cineworld, and Invesco. In March, 2017, the company built on their model and released the cloud-based EvaluAgent WEM (Worker Engagement Management) platform. The WEM platform empowers call center employees, with features such as self-selection of work patterns or shifts without management approval, better performance management tools, and updated team communications.

6) Tenacity

Helps decrease the likelihood an agent becomes burnout, which is one of the main indicators for attrition and absenteeism. Tenacity has developed a software using advanced social science research from MIT to help call centers adequately handle the stressful responsibility of making disgruntled customers happy.

Tenacity’s cutting edge approach taps into our most basic motivations. It relies on providing the right rewards, in the right context, for the right individuals. It also uses a breakthrough adaptive behavior change algorithm to reduce attrition and absenteeism, while it improves agent performance.

2018 update:

Tenacity continues to tackle one of the main challenges within the call center industry, agent attrition, using a variety of techniques from gamification to mentoring. In 2017, Tenacity announced its partnership with Startek, a BPO operating in the competitive Philippines call center market.

They implemented Tenacity in many of their centers to stay ahead of the competition by reducing attrition and attracting talent from competing companies.

7) InteractCRM 

InteractCRM’s customer experience platform provides a solution to quickly meet the demands of customers who reference previous communication with a company, while allowing them access to the company through a variety of channels, which includes inbound and outbound voice, email, web chat, SMS, fax, and social media.

Customer service representatives no longer have to waste their time searching for an email that references a customer’s bill. This is because it will automatically be on their screen as soon as a customer calls. InteractCRM allows your customer service representatives to deliver a quick and positive customer experience, saving you both time and money, while also improving data flow.

2018 update:

InteractCRM has been featured in publications such as CIO Review and SiliconIndia, as well as providing their services to notable customers including VOX and US Bank.

8) TouchCommerce

Provides an omni-channel that allows a company to engage their customers in every step of their journey, while reaching them through the most efficient communication tools. They also track and optimize each step throughout the customer’s journey toward purchasing a product or service.

When a customer is looking to buy a new tablet they might see an ad online, but they likely won’t buy it immediately. They will want to acquire more information about it, as well as compare it to other models based on price and quality. Often, these inquiries involve contacting the brand that sells the tablet via online chat, phone, email, and even SMS text.

TouchCommerce will then seamlessly integrate each communication tool, so that no matter who is talking to the customer, they will understand the customer’s interest level and where they are in the purchasing process.

2018 update:

TouchCommerce was acquired by Nuance Communications on July 21, 2016 for a whopping $215 million, validating the company’s value and innovative vision. Nuance Communications is a leading provider of global voice and language solutions for businesses, organizations, and consumers worldwide. Prior to the acquisition, TouchCommerce established relationships with companies like AT&T, Citizens Bank, DirectTV, and others.

TouchCommerce will help Nuance Communications to expand its customer care solutions with a range of new digital tools aiming to disrupt the customer service industry, such as live chat, customer analytics and personalization solutions.

9) TalkDesk

Is a cloud based software that allows you to fully integrates all of your data into one simple interface. That includes Salesforce and other CRMs, Google tools, Slack, and many others. This allows a company to make data driven decisions when talking to a customer. The software also provides many other amazing tools to help improve your call center, such as automated workflows, advanced routing, and call monitoring.

TalkDesk’s ability to integrate so many valuable databases, while providing the essential tools for establishing a call center make it a truly unique and effective software to use when starting a call center.

2018 update:

TalkDesk continues to invest in new ideas and technologies to improve the integration of different data sets and systems within contact centers. In 2017, the company integrated AI into its platform with “Talkdesk for Sales”, which uses AI to identify successful sales calls to scale learnings across teams. Talkdesk released AppConnect, a marketplace which allows enterprise businesses to browse and download relevant call center software solutions from an app store, just one more way TalkDesk is making it easier for its customers to improve their call centers and customer service.

The company has over 1,400 customers around the world including major companies such as  Shopify, Prezi, and Dropbox.

New Players:

Upcall

Allows companies to have an “on-demand” outbound call center solution combining a software tool with “upcallers” – professional human callers that follow call scripts to perfection.

The software facilitates the creation and implementation of call scripts, ensures calls are made at the right time, integrates with current systems and CRM, and enables real-time improvements for the “upcallers” through tools like call recording. It also matches you to the best “upcallers” based on your needs.

Upcall users can track their performance, share real-time analytics, and collaborate with their team members.

Upcall joins a growing group of startups bringing the on-demand economy to the customer service and call center world. It was founded in 2016, was a Y Combinator graduate, and raised an initial seed round of $2.2 million. It has some big name customers including Sotheby’s, LG, and Coldwell Banker.

Sentient Machines

Is an AI, cloud-based call center solution that provides an analysis of calls, and automates customer interactions in certain cases. The solution uses deep learning to understand customer interactions, and with the data generated, enables teams to uncover critical trends in order to improve the quality of a company’s call center, as well as cut costs. The two company founders, Danica Damlijanovic and Lorenz Fischer, hold PhDs in AI, NLP and Big Data Analytics.

Servicefriend

Designated as a Gartner 2017 “Cool Vendor, Servicefriend is a hybrid messaging bot for customer service centers. Servicefriend is focussed on bot-human collaboration, and offers a unique architecture where the bot is always at the front-end of the conversation, even when a human takes over the conversation content. The result is consistent communication, which improves customer experience as well as enabling enterprises to scale their use of bots.

Servicefriend was deployed by Globe Telecom, who integrated it with their Facebook messenger chat service, with great success.

 

Whether it’s tapping into artificial intelligence, compiling data for advanced analytics, coming up with a new way to utilize CRM platforms, or inventing new ways to motivate customer service representatives, each of these call center startups has their own unique way of revolutionizing the customer service industry.

The competitive culture that they have created cultivates call center innovation, which will continue to lead to complex and technologically advanced customer service solutions.