Cognigy Executive Interview
Sebastian Glock, Head of Product Marketing, Cognigy
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.