Five times faster: The Munich-based start-up e-bot7 wants to use Artificial Intelligence to reduce the processing time of customer service inquiries by up to 80%.
Regardless whether it questions about shipping, invoices or warranties: countless inquiries occupy the customer service department of companies every day. There, the responsible employees are often working at full capacity: According to the 2018 hotline test by Statista and Chip magazine, callers spend an average of between one and three and a half minutes on hold.
e-bot7 wants to reduce the amount of work associated with customer service – and make the annoying waiting loops redundant in the future.
The start-up utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate standard requests and processes in the companies. But the founders do not want to abolish personal contact. The hybrid Agent+KI® approach of e-bot7 provides for companies to use the software in a supportive manner.
As a stand-alone platform or docked to live chat or e-mail programs and services such as Salesforce, the AI either automates responses or it generates response suggestions that customer service agents can customise if necessary.
According to the start-up company’s promise, this can reduce the average processing time for customer inquiries by up to 80%. Thanks to deep learning technologies, the suggestions are becoming more and more accurate throughout time.
e-bot7 was founded in 2016 by Fabian Beringer, Xaver Lehmann and Maximilian Gerer. In the meantime, the pioneer for AI applications in German-speaking countries is working together with well-known major customers such as Deutsche Bahn, Miele, HDI or Commerzbank from various industries.
AI learns in customer service
“We relieve companies by integrating our AI system into their customer service processes. We either integrate our standalone solution or connect our application to our customers’ CRM system”, says Fabian Beringer.
The name of the start-up reflects the programme. “The ‘e’ stands for electronic, ‘bot’ for the chatbots that the company uses as output media for its AI applications. And ‘7’ means that the applications support customer service around the clock, seven days a week”, says Beringer.
The AI recognizes incoming, text-based customer inquiries, for example on websites. It then suggests a response option based on what it has learned and customer-specific data or automates the response directly.
For example, after the AI system has been supported by the call centre agents in selecting the correct answers in a pilot phase, the AI system then automatically answers 60% of the customer queries; depending on the degree of automation required and without a call centre agent being further involved.
This means that customer service can be significantly relieved at the outset, especially with simpler queries, and the longer the system is in use, the more complex individual queries can be answered by the AI.
Too little AI in Germany
The AI used by e-bot7 consists of two components: a language component and the customer-specific data. “Customers thus get a pre-trained system that can already distinguish the importance of individual words and recognise and understand spelling mistakes”, says Beringer.
“Our AI system is additionally fed with company data and can, therefore, take this knowledge into account when choosing the answer.” According to Beringer, Chatbots are only the medium for placing AIs in this context.
Answers can also be sent by e-mail or communicated verbally via a voice interface. For Beringer, the use of AI in ongoing business processes in Germany is still too limited.
This is the main reason why e-bot7 is one of the founding members of the AI Federal Association, which was established in 2018, to promote research on AI technologies and to advise the Federal Government through an AI Expert Commission.
In 2018, the three e-bot7 founders were also included in the top 30 under 30 list of Forbes Magazine’s Technology section.
Opening up further markets
e-bot7, which now has 30 employees, is supported by Deutsche Telekom as part of the TechBoost support program – with EUR 100,000 starting credit for the Open Telekom Cloud and contacts to potential partners and customers from the Magenta network.
On the political side, however, only a few start-up promises have been implemented. “But Germany wants to get off to a good start digitally and finally step on the gas on the transformation road. Of course, our country needs to invest more. But the established companies – we – should also become more active now and support the founders through cooperation”, says Matthias Schievel.
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