Home > Columns > Executive Interviews

Cognigy Executive Interview

Sebastian Glock, Head of Product Marketing, Cognigy

Click image below to view ebook

ebook image

Sheri Greenhaus, Managing Partner of CrmXchange, conducted an indepth interview with Sebastian Glock, Head of Product Marketing, Cognigy, discussing how Cognigy is turbocharging contact centers and transforming service experiences.

Please provide a quick overview of Cognigy.   

Customer service teams are laser focused on improving their customer experiences. That means helping customers quickly and competently at any time and on any channel, and to be able to do it at scale.

Cognigy is turbocharging contact centers and transforming service experiences. We provide an enterprise-grade conversational automation platform that enables businesses to build AI-powered virtual agents across channels that deliver positive, seamless customer experiences.

We work with contact centers to create complex, integrated conversational experiences that boost contact center agent availability, process service requests more efficiently and improve customer satisfaction.

We are headquartered in Germany, with offices in San Francisco, London and Sydney and serve 500+ brands around the globe.

Available in on-premises and SaaS environments, Cognigy.AI enables enterprises to have natural language conversations with their users on any channel – webchat, SMS, voice and mobile apps – and in any language.

How does your solution support multiple touchpoints? How does this help contact centers and customer service teams?

Cognigy champions an omnichannel approach that unifies communication in one place no matter where the conversation started, from voice conversations to digital channels, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Customers can switch channels according to needs and context without having to reexplain their issue.

We offer an end-to-end solution, assisting customers across every step of their service journey with AI technology that helps to streamline an ever-increasing volume of interactions from multiple touchpoints. With an AI-first contact center, customers get instant and frictionless support on autopilot, leaving agents to focus on more nuanced tasks.

What type of person is required to build a voicebot?  What is the timeframe?

Low-code platforms are designed so that no team member needs to be a machine learning expert to create human-like voice-based virtual agents. Conversational AI makes it faster and easier than ever for non-technical personnel to design, evolve and improve automated phone conversations.

Cognigy.AI’s easy-to-use graphical editor empowers business users within any department who are responsible for CX, programmers and conversation designers to build human-like conversations, analyze conversations and iterate quickly.

Analyzing virtual agent conversations plus voice-based conversations with human agents where virtual agents provide AI support is essential in the building of effective experiences in order to make time- and cost-intensive changes throughout.

In regard to timing, depending on the goals, channels, systems and other factors within an organization, timeframes to get up and running varies from weeks to months.

What impact do you see on AHT (Average Handling Time) from customers using automation?

Conversational AI wields a significant impact on contact center efficiency. Take AHT for example. From a business perspective, reducing AHT is the greatest benefit contact center automation brings to the table. Depending on use case and business sector, AHT is typically between 240 – 600 seconds. Reducing a contact center’s AHT by 15 seconds could save enterprises approximately $400,000 per year, while the faster resolution times contribute to more positive user experiences.

Many initiatives take a phased approach to incrementally increase the degree of automation, starting with low-hanging-fruits and gradually expanding to more complex cases. Here is an example of how contact center automation for incoming calls can impact AHT in multiple steps:

Phase 1: Intent recognition and optimized routing

Upon call, the customer is asked for their intention and directly routed to the best-fitting pool of agents

--> - 15 seconds AHT

Phase 2: Automate identification and verification process

All issues that require customer authentication are routed through an automated identification process. If needed this can include a multi-factor authentication and / or processes for forgotten passwords or lost credentials. Upon transfer-to-human, the conversation is fully focused on solving the issue.

--> - 30 seconds AHT

Phase 3: Backend integration for issue handling

Recurring customer issues with well-defined handling processes can be handled fully automated through conversational AI and connections to relevant backend systems while ensuring compliance, security and traceability. Being able to handle 20% of incoming calls autonomously is a realistic target mark. This can paradoxically lead to an increase in AHT as human agents get to handle cases that are on average more complex. However, this effect is outweighed by the reduction of the total amount of human-handled calls.

Can you provide a few examples of where AI has made a large impact on the contact center or organizations?

AI-powered conversations are a game changer for contact centers and across the enterprise, automating parts of the interaction that don’t require a live agent and providing a human-like conversation experience to transform basic support into world-class transactional conversations. Cognigy-based solutions give customer service virtual agents the intelligence to manage less complex service that empowers human agents with the time, resources and customer insights they need to manage specialized requests. The faster customers can have an issue solved, the more effective the overall experience is.

Cognigy.AI customer Mobily provides self-service to its 1.2 million subscribers over social channels. The virtual agent picks up the inquiry, then the bot hands over conversations when necessary to the human agents and provides them with all contexts from the previous dialogue. The human agents can then continue the conversation and transition the dialogue back to their virtual colleagues at any given time.

With solutions like Agent Assist and Smart Routing, Cognigy seamlessly transitions customers from virtual agents to human agents when required, with the smoothest possible handover. At the same time, Cognigy.AI equips agents with the information, recommendations, and customer insights needed to address more sophisticated customer requests quickly and effectively.

E.ON, an electric utility company, for example, is masterfully managing a portfolio of 30+ voice- and chatbots, serving customers and employees through more than 100K conversations per month. The possibility of serving customers wherever they are, 24/7, has massively reduced the workload on service centers and reduced operational costs whilst offering a better service. E.ON Group won CogX Best Innovation Award 2022 in the category Consumer Chatbot for their chatbot, Robin, which has enables customers to speak with a virtual agent or a live agent, and thus enhancing the customer experience.

How does AI help increase both customer and employee satisfaction?

Good communication is one of the cornerstones of customer satisfaction. AI-based conversational automation enables scaling for customer support, empowering human agents and pacing to customer service expectations.

Conversational AI and automation have the power to create experiences that turn customers into fans and agents into advocates. Customers want businesses to make it easier for them to resolve issues. Adding to that demand is the speed at which they want their issues resolved. The combination of skyrocketing service demands and “instant gratification” expectations has raised the stakes for contact centers.

Standard customer service teams today can no longer operate to meet customer expectations without AI and automation. Most enterprises are not staffed to a level that would support live agent calls 24/7 with little to no wait time – maintaining this kind of always-on capacity is very expensive.

Enter conversational AI agents, which offer automated consumer service options to provide a first line of always-on support that allows human agents to invest more time and effort in resolving complex customer issues. Chatbots work 24/7. Consumers can engage with digital agents at any time, sidestepping the need for long phone hold waits or waiting for messages to be answered days later.

For example, Lufthansa Group saw the enormous benefits of conversational AI. Ten thousand customers a day and over one million conversations per year rely on Lufthansa's virtual agents to get it right. Using Cognigy.AI has proven to improve the customer experience delivering Lufthansa with increased satisfaction levels, and Cognigy.AI is an integral and critical part of its customer interaction strategy.

For customer service teams, conversational AI can also drastically improve business and communication experiences with their customers. While more consumers are become accustomed to working with virtual agents, live voice engagement is still the gold standard when it comes to down to complex questions or complicated requests.

Virtual and human agents can tag team. Conversational AI is leveraged across the enterprise in several areas – including customer service, HR, marketing, IT helpdesk, and sales – in the form of messaging apps, chatbots and voice-based virtual agent. This provides historical and real-time data that allows agents to view the larger customer journey picture. Human agents can apply these insights to their nuanced emotional understanding and topic expertise.

This human-machine combination enables agent teams to become customer and subject matter experts quickly. This in term allows them to focus on building the relationship with the customer to ultimately be more engaged and helpful – two key elements leading to positive customer experiences.