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Intelepeer Executive Interview

Ujjval Karihaloo, SVP Product Management, Intelepeer

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IntelePeer Delivers an Omnichannel Communications Platform that Enables Enterprises to Improve CX via Enhanced Business Processes

 As enterprise organizations endeavor to evolve to the higher level of service demanded by customers in the emerging post-Covid environment, they seek to offer more choices to enable people to better communicate with them on the channels they prefer. This includes not only providing the ability to seamlessly transition between SMS. chat, voice, and social media, but employing AI, analytics, and intelligent automation to ensure higher customer satisfaction levels. This in turn can drive lower operating costs and increased revenue.   

Business communications specialist IntelePeer has a nearly two-decade history of delivering innovative solutions to build and integrate communications-enabled workflows to create superior customer experiences and improve business processes through automation.

IntelePeer was one of the numerous suppliers scheduled to exhibit at Enterprise Connect in September before the live event was converted to a virtual one. CrmXchange Managing Partner Sheri Greenhaus caught up with Ujjval Karihaloo, SVP Product Management, IntelePeer for an in-depth conversation on the directions they are taking and how the company plans to engage potential customers.

Our product is categorized as a CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) built for the enterprise which enables our customers in healthcare, finance, insurance, banks, transportation, logistics and other verticals to provide a better CX for their customers. Our solution helps customer-facing personnel better engage with users: our platform facilitates the customer journey.

Here is an example of how we can help provide end-to-end communications through our platform: if you are on a chat session with a bank customer service rep, our platform enables that interaction. If you need to escalate the chat to voice, or on the back end, a rep sees an upsell opportunity to be transferred to sales, that would happen on our platform as well. If a call goes to sales, the business can dip into the database and through skills-based routing ensure that the customer is talking to the right person.  Should the system detect that the customer is speaking Spanish, it will route them to a Spanish-speaking sales agent.

Does your System enable the chat product?

Our platform is multi-tenant, so if it recognizes a SMS interaction as coming to a specific bank, they will have a path built in to get back to that customer with 50 to 100 pre-programmed responses from chatbots. If there is a need to escalate to voice, our platform handles that as well.

It recognizes SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and more…all these multiple omnichannel applications that we combine in one workflow. We are evolving with web service so our customers can have chat embedded into their website. They can easily go from one channel to another. It’s more than just being a traffic facilitator. The platform has a backend that offers powerful analytics to determine and report which channels are being used most frequently. It can tell the company that a far higher percentage of interactions are coming on the SMS channel and suggest they add capacity in that area.

The platform also offers integration to third-party systems that customers use such as appointment confirmation and payment processing. An example can be a patient that has just had a dental appointment reminder sent to them via SMS, then a confirmation they are coming. After the appointment, an invoice is generated and, if pre-approve billed on the credit card by making a quick phone call.

This helps resolve two of the most common problems in healthcare: patients don’t show and second that no one pays on time. However, once a healthcare organization has both these applications built into a business workflow, some have reported revenue increasing by as much as 120% and more with these solutions.

How does your platform integrate with other systems?

We offer both SMS and email notifications and can even do a voice call that can be pre-programmed into the system. We can integrate just as easily with Salesforce, Zendesk or a company’s custom database. We have a value-added managed services team that helps facilitate the integration with custom databases while we can obviously do the cookie-cutter integrations with established programs. As long as they have an API that we can connect with, we can call it and pull their data, then parse it on our platform.

We can help businesses enable payments through loyalty programs or points through a credit card. We can provide different logistics for different workflows. If it’s simple and straightforward, the customer can do it themselves. If it’s more complex, our managed services team will step in. 

How personalized can each connection be?

Each individual interaction can be customized. When someone calls in or sends in an SMS, we have their number, so the agent can respond with a personal greeting. This is being projected on what we call “Agent Assist”. The agent will not only know who is calling but will also see what issues the person has previously had. They will have a ticket number from the previous call and a summary of the interaction all on their desktops, so the agent can either continue resolving previous issues, or create a new ticket if the customer is calling about new. The customer’s data is updated through our system.  We have companies using our platform to make online travel reservations.  When a person makes a reservation, that person can be updated to being a new customer or recategorized as an existing one.

What are some of the best uses for your platform?

The most prevalent uses for our solution are appointment reminders and payment processing.  Because the product is so flexible, we are building what we call a ‘solution-based summaries’ to highlight the most common applications. Two-factor authentication—ensuring that a customer is who they claim to be -- is also a frequent use. We also offer an application called “How Can I Help You?” It offers a library of 100 responses that can be used by chatbots to resolve common issues. Since the responses are AI-driven, they are constantly being enhanced by machine learning. Our solution is cloud-agnostic.  We use IBM as well as Google machine learning to flag new issues that come up to add the appropriate responses for them. They map what is called an ‘utterance’ to determine an intent. In every vertical we serve we find intents that do not match what we have and determine ‘are they relevant?’ and if so, we flag and add them to the library. By learning what affect one customer, we can help our others as well. We also have a manual process that we can advise different customers of new common issues.

What are some of the main reasons why clients chose you?

One of the main reasons that potential clients seek us out is for customer interactions. These organizations want to make them more efficient and reduce cost…not necessarily the cost of agents, but addressing customer contact efficiency, which is how long customers must wait to get their questions resolved. Another common reason for seeking us out is implementing automation to handle some rote tasks such as automatic payment.  Basically, the motivation to work with us is anything that can improve customer interactions, improve customer satisfaction, or significantly increase revenue.

If we were at a live conference, why would someone stop by your booth?

We would try to determine their needs - are they trying to implement better workflows, increase customer engagement, or is there an area of sales or support where they would like to improve? Are they interested in what AI can do for them? Have they thought about giving agents more time to handle higher value interactions by automating routine tasks? These are the kind of questions we would ask to get to know potential customers better to guide them to the right solutions.

What makes Intelepeer different?

Our automation workflows offer time to value. If you were going to build it on another platform, it would take three to four months to build it from scratch. We offer advanced managed services that make it as little as a month and provide greater ROI.