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Introducing the Service Intelligence Layer

Aprill Allen
Aug 13, 2018 · 5 min read

The consumerisation of workplace apps is finally addressing the long-neglected software experience of the enterprise user. Our workday-selves are now being treated to the kind of attractive interfaces and convenient procurement paths that our weekend-selves have had for some time.

The laser-focused problem-solving of modern software has created new challenges that now need addressing, though. I’ve talked about this challenge before, and Work-Bench’s Jessica Lin, recently pointed out the growth in “Enterprise Knowledge Management 2.0″ or the “Team Intelligence Layer”. Besides the fractured knowledge sources that spawn like a mogwai drenched with water (google it), you also need to factor in the cost of each of the tools you add to your support stack. Nothing does everything well, so be prepared to add on, but do so with a total stack budget per agent in mind.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with founders of AI & ML solutions that aim to boost the productivity of customer service and success teams, specifically, by integrating with existing support, CRM, and collaboration platforms. There’s enough activity in this space that I can see the need for a new category: Service Intelligence. We’ve had developer tools taking the stage for some time, in response to the automation DevOps requires. Maybe it’s time for customer success tools to have the spotlight now, as organisations respond to the pressure to automate customer interaction via conversational marketing and self-service chat.

Here are a handful of off-the-shelf tools I’ve been scoping out the last few months, loosely organised by type. I know more about some than others, so I’m open to corrections, additions, and reviews, so please get in touch or leave a comment.

Customer support automation

Digital Genius’s AutoPilot product connects customer conversations with processes, kicking off full end-to-end resolutions of common case workflow, while CoPilot provides suggested answers for assisted support.

Miuros learns from agent actions on cases to automate tasks, make recommendations and offer performance insights.

MyraLabs has a semantic question & answer search engine that works together with automation to provide answers to known questions, follow-up missing field entries, and provide conversational support in place of forms.

AnswerIQ takes a modular approach to addressing the various needs of customer support — like automating triage and common responses — where the AI plugs common gaps by integrating directly with the pre-existing CRM or help desk tool. Self Assist and Agent Assist take further steps to reduce ticket volume and resolution time, by building the machine learning training directly into the agent workflow to better address the pent-up demand in customer exceptions that Self Assist seeks to solve.

Self-service intelligence

Elevio concentrates on driving effective in-app support. Analytics and machine learning provide suggested answers, automated keyword selection and identifies knowledge gaps so you can offer contextual help right at the time and place of need. While, they don’t mention it on the site, Elevio’s founders are well aware of KCS and I wouldn’t be surprised if more enabling functionality makes it into the tool over time.

Agent-side knowledge base intelligence

Squelch integrates with popular SaaS customer support tools and provides learned, contextually-relevant interactions with the distributed knowledge sources that support agents need to be aware of but often don’t have time to synthesise on the go. Appearing within the support app, it saves your agents from having to search around multiple sources and come back to the ticket after disappearing down rabbit holes.

Workflow automation

MonkeyLearn can be integrated to Zendesk through a direct integration or to other support tools through Zapier. Using MonkeyLearn you can automate manual tasks such as, automatically tagging and prioritising incoming tickets, and gather reporting.

BrightReps is an agent-focused customer support tool that integrates with common SaaS CRMs and support platforms, and is centred on streamlining process. While most emerging agent-side tech is giving much-needed attention to search and knowledge base automation, BrightReps is putting effort into making workflows better. Addressing this area is a boon to those with multi-step processes that may be dispersed throughout a platform, and perhaps even, across several. It not only acts as a kind of clickable process guide for the agent, it gives management insight into where process and resource bottlenecks are (through process maps with traffic-light indicators) — which is something that often only gets surfaced by expensive consulting firms performing time and motion studies. This is my pick for the behind-the-curtain magic.

Customer Experience Insights

Clarabridge is a customer intelligence platform offering survey tools to capture data, survey customers, employees, website users and more. According to Gartner (and their own website) their unique strength is analysing emotion in text and speech.

Medallia offers customer experience management software for Software as a Service and b2b markets, and aims to increase customer engagement, employee collaboration, and optimise customer experience.

Intelligent community support

Unbabel takes advantage of machine translation, integrating with common platforms to provide crowd-improved translations of multi-lingual knowledge bases, chat, and tickets.

Originally published at on August 13, 2018.

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