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Call center automation software vendor Replicant raises $78M –

Contact centers have never been on the staff field, but they have become very difficult workplaces during an epidemic. According to one exploration, only 10% of contact center representatives reach knowledge in less than two months. Meanwhile, the volume of complex calls in contact centers it is growingwhile transferring left at a sky-high level of between 30% and 45%.

It is ironic that automation products are gaining traction among call center staff – and investors. At the finest end of the spectrum, call center automation promises to solve customer service issues to liberate agents with a more challenging task. Return, one of the most popular vendors in the automated call site, announced today that it has raised $ 78 million in funding for Series B led by Stripes with the participation of Salesforce Ventures, Omega, IronGrey, Norwest and Atomic. Sources tell TechCrunch that the value proposition stands at $ 550 million.

“[With the new capital,] We plan to increase our investment in our customer success team to reach new customers, “founder and manager Gadi Shamia told TechCrunch via email.” We also plan to double our R&D team this year to make our conversation even more efficient and launch new automated channels. We will increase sales and investment in our marketing to meet the critical needs we see. Finally, we will invest in our staff by launching additional professional development programs. ”

Shamia co-founded Replican 2017 with Andrew Abraham and Benjamin Gleitzman. Shami was previously the GM of the SAP small business solution team products before becoming the acting COO of EchoSign after acquiring Adobe. He also helped launch Magneto, the scheduling system, which he managed at Talkdesk for almost four years.

Prior to the rebate, Abraham – who joined eBay in 2011 through the acquisition of the company Milo.com – performed software engineering at Atomic and Leeo. Gleitzman was a senior software engineer at Hunch and eBay before the founding of several companies including a “real treatment platform” called Mona.

“While [my] At work, I found that the best way to increase agent effectiveness and reduce customer engagement and confusion is to organize more routine tasks that allow agents to focus on more complex and flexible calls, ”Shamia said. “Gleitzman was one of the leaders in Ebay’s AI and worked with Abraham and the Atomic team to build a machine that could have all human phone conversations.”

Reciprocal wants to automate the call process by integrating existing systems including customer contact management software to identify customers by mapping their order history (if applicable) and previous calls. The product can capture, record and conduct conversations with searchable customers, and – as does some automated service systems – Restore can interact with SMS and web clients in addition to voice.

Replicant provides agents with call summary and measures trends such as overall customer satisfaction, average response time, competing notifications, defective products and triggering opportunities. Clients can draw a library of prefabricated sections to design the flow of conversations using a visual editor. In recent months, Replicant has added support for new languages ​​and conversational capabilities that Shamia calls “capabilities,” such as line capture, repetitive “conversational” information and comparison of client responses against data breaches.

“A key benefit of our competitive advantage over Replicant is the rich and diverse data we have collected to address more than 30 million customer service calls in the industry and usage cases. [product has] tackling everything from troubleshooting equipment to small business owners, submitting food orders to restaurant staff, to managing enrollment issues for callers, to emerging emergencies where callers need help on the roads, “Shamia said.”[W]Turn it around in a normally frustrating situation – think about it every time you have to come back and spell your name out or read the 15-digit phone number of a telephone agent – the task can be efficiently completed in seconds with purpose-built. ”

Asked how Replicant manages, stores, and maintains customer data, Shamia said the company gives business customers the ability to choose a data storage window that “works”, usually between six months and two years. In cases involving payment or protected electronic health information, Replicant provides a service called high-level encryption, in which the company claims to modify sensitive data from time to time in storage transactions. Replicant stocks and logs.

The replican is also engaged in emotional analysis, a controversial process involving the use of algorithms to determine whether a part of the audio or text recording is positive, negative, or neutral. Emotional analysis systems – both academic and business – have been shown to be racially biased, ageculture, ethnicities, and sex lines. Some algorithms link Black people with negative emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness. Others discrimination In contrast to non-English speakers, who tend to use cognates – i.e., English words that resemble words in their native language – more so than those who speak their native language.

The redesign claims to be taking steps to reduce bias in its systems, including sensory analysis methods, as well as the data used to develop these algorithms. Unfortunately, without independent auditing or ongoing studies, it is the word of the company that contradicts the results of a broad-based education. This reporter hopes to see greater transparency from the Replicant going forward.

Our methods are trained in different dialects, emotions, and industry-specific phrases, allowing us to achieve [high] accuracy in consideration even in the most difficult cases using the service, ”Shamia said. “We see 85% call success rate (as measured by expected business results) for all customers and use cases.”

Automating customer interaction

There is some surprising evidence that customer service agencies are accepting automation. In 2020 education According to Harris Poll, who is in charge of AI vendor integration, it estimates that 46% of customer interactions are self-contained and authors predict a 59% increase over the next two to three years. Previous adopters of the study noted “soft benefits” such as shorter waiting times, faster customer complaints resolution, and technical and personalized support.

In response to the growing interest in the industry, countless call center automation products have entered the market in recent years – both for beginners such as Replicant and existing ones including Google, Amazon and Salesforce. The rebrander competes with RedRoute, Skit, and Voximplant in addition to Ultimate.ai, a customer service tool designed to streamline simple service applications.

Market Expert Research predict that the global call center in the AI ​​market will grow from $ 967 million by 2020 to $ 3.54 billion by 2026.

“Over the past two years, customer service has come under constant pressure as the ‘big resignation’ has created a shortage of agents. And changes in customer behavior due to [the pandemic] and supply chain issues have sparked widespread excitement over the volume, “Shamia said.

But do customers appreciate – or even prefer – direct call centers? After all, automation lacks human touch – it can’t necessarily calm a frustrated caller. Worse, automation can prevent customers from dealing with the brand so they can trust it. PointSource poll found that 80% of customers prefer to talk to humans when solving problems. Adding fuel to the fire, 59% of PwC customers recently exploration felt that companies had lost contact with the human part of the customer experience.

And what about the facility staff? Metrics can be being held by them, and simple customer problems – arguably not the best use of their time – can be satisfying to solve. Then there is the fear that automation will one day happen take their jobs.

Shamia acknowledges that some types of automation, such as poorly designed chat bots, can act as a barrier to customers and agents rather than a solution. But he said the Replicant has learned from past mistakes, allowing companies to automate the call process while burning agents to focus on more complex problems.

“The spread of the epidemic has accelerated the transformation – equipping of contact centers – which has already begun and exacerbated many existing challenges in the customer service space,” Shamia added. “Automation is now a part of it
Strategic plans for many companies – nothing will change after the spread. “

By the end of the day, 100 Replicant employees said they had “dozens” of business customers who used their devices for more than 8 million customers. Consumer engagement rates range from hundreds of thousands to millions of recurring annual revenues.

“In most of our deals, we compete with the infidelity that the technology can actually reach the solution standards that our customers are seeing. However, we are also part of the technology replacement cycles,” Shamia added. “We also see DIY solutions … some deals or legacy players like IPSoft’s Amelia.”

So far, Replicant has amassed $ 110 million in business capital. The San Francisco, California company plans to expand its workforce to 200 by the end of 2022.