Company: Astute Solutions, Columbus, OH, USA
Company Description: Astute Solutions helps brands drive loyalty throughout the customer journey with the world's smartest consumer engagement software. Consumers want to talk to brands like they talk to their friends, instead of being forced to communicate through stiffly structured interfaces. Astute Solutions’ blend of leading edge technologies makes this possible, eliminating friction during the customer journey.
Nomination Category: Products & Product Management Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best New Product or Service of the Year - Software - Other
Nomination Title: Astute Bot
Tell the story about this nominated product or service (up to 650 words). Describe its function, features, benefits, and performance to date. TEXT REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION
Chatbots are nothing new to the technology scene. However, consumer brands are just beginning to discover the benefits of leveraging artificial intelligence to improve the customer journey. Chatbots can help consumers find products, make purchases, and get post-purchase support. Astute Solutions has a 20-year history of applying technical innovations to the field of customer engagement. For instance, their knowledge management software uses patented natural language processing to understand the meaning behind customer questions, interpreting slang and nuanced language. In a similar way, Astute Bot uses innovative technology to deliver what consumers want: always-on service, through every channel, with as little effort on their part as possible. As experiences have gotten smarter (e.g., your Amazon Echo can control your smart thermostat or your robot vacuum), customers have come to expect the same level of ease in every interaction. Consumers want to talk with brands like they talk with their friends, and Astute Bot makes that possible.
Features and Functions
Astute Bot is a conversational interface, driven by natural language processing and narrow AI (a type of artificial intelligence that can perform a specific task more efficiently than a human). It allows consumers to have conversations with brands to complete a variety of interactions – e.g., finding a product, checking in for a flight, getting help with questions, etc. These interactions can happen across many channels, including web-chat, messaging apps, and voice-based virtual assistants like Alexa. Astute Bot's functions span three primary areas:
• Intent Engine: When asked a question, the bot interprets the meaning behind it, understanding what the customer needs help with.
• Decision Engine: The bot determines the best way to help. This could include escalating to a live agent (and ensuring the agent gets the full context so they can pick up where the bot left off) or using one of the bot’s capabilities to source an answer and deliver it back to the customer. Responses are conversational, and optimized for the device and channel.
• Source Data: The bot can get information from any number of avenues to provide the customer with a response. Examples include authored knowledgebases, information found from indexing websites and other existing content, and API calls to internal business systems or external applications.
Benefits to Users
The best way to illustrate the benefits of Astute Bot is with an example: An airline uses Astute Bot across all communication channels, including Facebook Messenger. A traveler arrives at the gate to find her flight is cancelled. She uses Facebook Messenger to let her family know her travel plans are in flux. Without leaving Messenger, she starts a new chat with the airline, saying "My flight's cancelled, help?" Astute Bot interprets her request, understands who she is and that she needs (another flight) and -- instead of asking her to call a 1-800 number or open a new app -- handles the entire transaction of finding and booking her a new flight within Messenger’s interface. All the while, she can flip back and forth between Messenger conversations to keep her family apprised. She can also make simple requests, like a seat change, and receive proactive notifications when it’s time to board -- all within Messenger. Astute Bot allows consumers to engage with brands effortlessly, on their terms. For brands, this translates into better customer experiences, improved loyalty, and positive word of mouth. In addition, Astute Bot enables companies to support new channels, such as web-chat and messaging apps, without significantly increasing headcount.
In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and benefits of the nominated product or service.
Winner of a Gold Stevie® Award in the American Business Awards, Astute Bot is a conversational interface that uses artificial narrow intelligence and natural language processing to perform a broad range of tasks. Conversational interfaces are becoming more prevalent as consumer behavior changes, and Astute Bot allows B2C enterprises to provide more sophisticated experiences throughout the customer journey.
Released in 2016, Astute Bot can:
• Interpret consumers’ questions
• Understand what they are looking for
• Determine the best way to help
• Deliver a response optimized for the device and channel
• Engage in a two-way conversation, mirroring the experience customers have with human service agents (in fact, the customer may not even be aware that they aren’t speaking with a human)
• Power consumer interactions across websites, mobile apps, messengers (like Facebook Messenger or WeChat), even voice-based virtual assistants, allowing brands to provide the omni-channel, always-on support their consumers demand