Let’s face it, no one likes spending time on the phone to get an issue resolved: “To speak with a sales representative, press 1; to reach a customer support agent, press 2; to reach our billing department, press 3; if you would like to know our regular business hours and location, press 4…” and the list of options keeps growing and exasperating your tired mind. By the time you get to speak with a banking agent, someone could have had the chance to use the credit card you were trying to block.
Customer service teams are also often overwhelmed by the number of calls and messages that flow in every minute. Transferring the call to another department is a good trick up your sleeve that some agents could use to delay dealing with your request if they can’t handle it on the spot. Customer satisfaction suffers as a result.
That’s why the startup e-bot7, based in Munich, Germany, set out to find a solution to make customer service painless for both customers and companies. e-bot7 has developed an innovative way in which customer inquiries can be automatically received, analysed and routed to the correct department with automated answers. Their system is also able to answer simple and repetitive questions automatically to save customer service agents time, ultimately resulting in a better customer service experience. This reduces average customer service handling time, even by 50%.
Making customer interactions more exciting
The solution e-bot7 offers use practical applications of deep learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to revolutionise customer communication and help companies achieve greater customer service efficiency. The system is based on a complex English and German-language Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) algorithm trained on historical customer service scripts and which is constantly optimised during operation so that more and more requests can be processed more efficiently.
e-bot7 solves the primary customer communication problems that companies face today as customer service is unscalable, unautomated and costly. Support agents have to answer the same questions and processes every day. This is inefficient for both companies and customers/clients who often have to wait minutes or hours on a hotline—or even days for an email reply – that was supposed to be sent faster.
Xaver Lehmann, Co-founder and Director of e-bot7, says: “We aim to make customer interactions more exciting and fruitful, reducing the workload of your customer agents and thereby reducing fluctuations in customer service.”
Inspiration after being (slightly too much) on hold
The company was founded by Lehmann and two co-founders who got tired of being placed on hold while calling customer service — with one of them getting kicked off a call after holding for 37 minutes.
To propel the project, the young company raised last year in October a Series A investment round of €5.5m to expand to more countries, totalising €8.3m in funding from renowned investors.
When e-bot7 participated in IMPACT Growth, an acceleration programme led by FundingBox, its founders had seed funding of €560K. The acceleration programme enabled them to meet corporations and match their needs with the solutions it provides.
Through IMPACT Growth, e-bot7 was able to connect directly with future customers, build relationships, and attend informative workshops.
The future: streamlining customer communication
The company is already having an impact: today, European telecom providers are using e-bot7‘s technology as part of their external customer interaction. The AI-based algorithms are continuously optimised, and the chatbot has helped to ease customer service—allowing employees to focus on more complex tasks, which saves the company time and money.
The startup seeks to be the European market leader in AI and machine learning applications within the next three years.
Lehmann emphasises to other entrepreneurs the need to have the right people on the team to maintain top talent and company identity. Most importantly, he advises to “have faith in yourself and never give up. Do your thing and realise your vision.”
As e-bot7 continues to expand its footprint, it is making the customer service experience faster and easier than ever before. According to e-bot7, we spend the equivalent of… 43 days of our lives on hold! Now, instead of spending time over the phone, Europeans will have spare time they could use to watch their favourite sports and Netflix series with friends and family.
About IMPACT Growth
IMPACT Growth is an acceleration and high-performance programme for startups led by FundingBox and supported by many collaborating entities—including ISDI Education, Accelerace, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, FIWARE Foundation, and Ferrovial, among others—that took place from November 2016 to December 2018.
Each of the 29 participating startups received €100.000 in equity-free funding and the four best companies got up to €250,000, plus training and mentoring under the guidance of key world-class digital ecosystem professionals and entrepreneurs.
The article appeared on FundingBox.