Interview with Eduardo Malpica – Chief Knowledge Officer at Altitude Software
In the globalized and interconnected world in which we are living, a vast range of applications that are compatible with all kinds of devices are increasingly present in all areas. WhatsApp, the leading instant messaging application, is used on a daily basis by more than one billion users.
In January 2018, WhatsApp launched a new application aimed at businesses, WhatsApp Business. However, at first, it was only launched in a limited number of countries and was only available for Android. It wasn’t until April 2019 that it became available on iOS, allowing companies to send relevant information to their clients, such as descriptions of their products and services. The app also includes a range of tools that simplify customer service management, in addition to a set of statistics that allow improved segmentation.
Altitude Software evolves in parallel to the development of new technologies, adding its own Connector for WhatsApp that allows for the continual improvement of the customer’s experience. On June 18, the application was presented at the Barcelona Customer Congress (BCC) by Eduardo Malpica, who spoke to us about his first-hand experience with the product’s development.
Altitude Xperience supports all WhatsApp features to other instant messaging channels, also providing an omnichannel view of all interactions from this media.
1. This year, the company launched its WhatsApp connector at the BCC. How has this tool been received so far? Also, why does everything associated with WhatsApp arouse so much expectation?
Our experience at the Barcelona Customer Congress exceeded our expectations, giving us a first-hand insight into the huge interest that WhatsApp has in terms of customer experience. During the event, we received a high number of visits to our stand, all of which shared a single common denominator: the desire to learn about our WhatsApp connector, with this being the world’s most used and fastest growing messaging channel. To date, WhatsApp hasn’t been available for businesses, meaning the huge demands of various companies remain unmet. The integration of WhatsApp as an additional customer communication channel is now considered a crucial and urgent requirement. In the coming months, we will see a large number of brands starting to incorporate WhatsApp Business into their interactions with customers, with a wide range of apps being developed to be used in conjunction with WhatsApp. This can already be seen in the EU, where Facebook Messenger has been the leading instant messaging service for several years, with more than 1 million business apps that can be used in conjunction with it.
2. What are the main features of this tool?
What Altitude Software offers with its WhatsApp Connector is the ability to use WhatsApp Business as an additional channel in your customer engagement strategy, integrating it with other more traditional channels such as telephone, email or text messages, providing agents and operation directors with a unified vision of the service, regardless of the channel being used.
Not only do we include all of the existing WhatsApp Business features, but we also add automatic messages and a chatbot feature, which can be developed in line with the customer requirements. We are able to easily export each of these additional features included in WhatsApp Business to a range of other messaging channels, such as Webchat, Skype, Microsoft Teams and others. In other words, we provide a truly omnichannel tool within instant messaging channels.
Many people may wonder if it is necessary to incorporate automation and bots in WhatsApp, if all they’re looking for is the ability to use WhatsApp as a channel through which they can interact with their customers. You must take into account, however, that when this channel is used for customer service purposes, an automated base layer must be added. To welcome the customer, you’ll need a chatbot that is capable of identifying whether or not any agents are currently available; if this is not the case, the bot can inform the customer. The chatbot will also serve as an alternative method of communicating with the company, etc. This layer of automation is included in our WhatsApp connector, to which we can gradually add more advanced forms of automation.
We can also help our customers to identify which tasks they need to automate. How do we do this? We analyse the information obtained from WhatsApp conversations (regarding the type of conversation and the details of the interaction itself) to find trends, which will help us to identify the tasks that are most suitable for automation. But we’re not just leaving it there. Rather, we’re able to evolve the automation. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP), we allow our users to communicate in the same way as they would do with a human being.
Finally, by integrating this channel as another channel within our unified and omnichannel platform, another key benefit offered to customers by adding WhatsApp to their Altitude Xperience platform is access to our measurement and analysis tools.
3. Several people feel that some of the chatbots currently found on the market are not very efficient and that they have not been designed to optimize the customer journey. How does Altitude Software’s integrated chatbot help here, if this is the case?
The fact that our tool provides a chatbot that is integrated with WhatsApp and a wide range of other channels, as we’ve already seen, means that our customers have all pieces of the customer journey integrated within a single platform, providing them with a totally unified and 360º vision of the journey. We don’t stop by only providing a chatbot. Rather, our Conversational Assistant facilitates communication between the bot and the human agent.
4. Based on the experience of a company such as Altitude Software, that uses its technology to optimize the experience of end customers and contact center employees alike, what are your thoughts on the use of conversation assistants, and what must they provide to genuinely improve interaction with customers?
At Altitude Software, we view the future as a collaboration between human and virtual agents, and base our solutions on this idea. However, we must take great care when including automation and conversation assistants, as what could entail added value for one user might have the opposite effect for another. For example, a millennial might view automation and self-service as a positive aspect, whereas those of other generations might find it too impersonal. In either case, the automation and conversation assistant implementation processes must be carried out with great care, as any mistake will have a negative impact on the end customer’s experience.
Not only does our virtual assistant carry out certain repetitive tasks, but it also helps agents by providing them with the knowledge they need to work more efficiently, and for the customer’s experience to be a more positive one. When a human agent is managing an interaction, our virtual assistant remains in ‘listening mode’ and provides the agent with the necessary information as and when it is required.
5. In the development of technological solutions for the new generation of more cognitive contact centers, what is Altitude Software focusing on? And in which areas will the human agent work side-by-side with robotic solutions?
As I’ve already mentioned, the future lies in the collaboration between human agents and automation, for which artificial intelligence will be key to a strong partnership. Altitude Software is already applying AI to all aspects of the Customer Journey, as it can add value to each of them. One example of this is our AI-based ‘routing’, where we link the agent who is best skilled to deal with a specific customer based on their individual profile. We also apply AI to upselling, but not in the traditional form of direct selling. Rather, we apply it through dynamic recommendations made to the agent by the system, which entails information of added value for the customer. This helps to ensure long-term brand loyalty.