No waiting under this number: Optimize customer service with KI

Five times faster: The Munich-based start-up e-bot7 wants to reduce the processing time of inquiries in customer service by up to 80 percent with artificial intelligence.

No matter if you have questions about shipping, invoicing or guarantee: Countless inquiries deal with the customer service of companies every day. There, the responsible staff are often busy. Between one and three and a half minutes callers spend according to the Hotline Test 2018 of Statista and the magazine chip on average in the waiting loop.

E-bot7 wants to reduce the workload associated with it – and in the future will make the annoying waiting loop superfluous.

The startup relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to automate standard inquiries as well as 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 supportively.

As a standalone platform or docked to live chat or email programs and services such as Salesforce, the AI either automates responses. Or it generates response suggestions that customer service representatives can still customize when needed.

According to the promise of the start-up, the average processing time of customer inquiries can be reduced by up to 80 percent. Thanks to deep learning technologies, the proposals should always be more accurate.

In 2016, e-bot7 was founded by Fabian Beringer, Xaver Lehmann and Maximilian Gerer. Meanwhile, the pioneer of 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.

The AI learns in customer service

“We relieve companies of our AI system by integrating it into their customer service processes. To do this, we integrate our stand-alone solution or connect our application to our customers’ CRM system, “says Fabian Beringer.

The name of the startup is part of the program. “The ‘e’ stands for electronic, ‘bot’ for the chatbots that the company uses as its output medium in its AI applications. And ‘7’ stands for applications that support customer service seven days a week, around the clock, “says Beringer.

The KI recognizes incoming, text-based customer inquiries, for example on websites. Then, based on what has been learned and the customer-specific data, it suggests an answer option or automates the answer directly.

For example, after the AI system is supported by the call center agents in choosing the right answers in a pilot phase, the AI system automatically responds to 60 percent of the customer requests; Depending on the desired level of automation and without the call center agent being further involved.

Thus, the customer service can be significantly relieved at the beginning, especially for simple queries, and the longer the system is used, even with more complex individual requests.

Too little AI in Germany

The AI used by e-bot7 consists of two components: a language component and the customer-specific data. “So customers get a pre-trained system that already differentiates the importance of individual words and can also recognize and understand spelling mistakes,” says Beringer.

“Our AI system is also fed with the data of the companies and can thus take this knowledge into account when choosing the answer.” According to Beringer, chatbots are only the medium to place the AI in this context.

The answers can also be sent by e-mail or can be verbally communicated via a voice interface. For Beringer, the use of AI in ongoing business processes in Germany is still too short.

This is one of the reasons why e-bot7 is one of the founding members of the KI-Bundesverband, 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.

Open up further markets

e-bot7, which now employs 30 people, is supported by Telekom as part of the TechBoost funding program – with 100,000 euros in initial credit for the Open Telekom Cloud and contacts with potential partners and customers from the magenta network.

From the political side, however, only a few start-up promises have been implemented. “But Germany wants to get off to a good start digitally, finally accelerating on the transformation road. Of course, our country has to invest more. But even the established companies – in other words, us – should now become more active themselves and support the founders through cooperation, “says Matthias Schievelbusch, Head of Start-up Cooperations at Telekom.

The Telekom wants to help the founders not only with IT resources under the arms, but to them the network open. This includes two million business customers. And with that, two million potential partnerships.

“Telekom is a very uncomplicated and pragmatic partner,” says Beringer, who plans to do a great deal with his start-up. So far, e-bot7 has focused on the DACH region and has become very well established there.

“In the medium term, we want to become the market leader in Europe,” says Beringer. “Next, we will expand our business to Europe and later offer our AI applications worldwide.”

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