Follow the money, it leads to chatbots

Pre746 Follow the money it leads to chatbots

  • Australian company Flamingo, which offers artificial intelligence-based customer service assistants, has gone from startup to ASX listed company worth $42.4m in three years. 
  • New Zealand startup, Cove Insurance is introducing the first insurance product to be fully managed by chatbot.

“Follow the money”, a catchphrase made popular by the 1976 movie about Watergate, All The President's Men, has entered the Lexicon as a piece of advice for anyone wanting to get to the truth. It’s certainly worth bearing in mind if you want to get a handle on the future of artificial intelligence/chatbots in customer service.

Check out Australian startup Flamingo. It has developed two virtual artificial assistants that use machine learning to help financial services providers interact with their customers through what the company describes as a “conversational commerce platform”.

In 2014, Flamingo raised $2.11m in angel investor funding. This was followed by $3m in 2015 in a venture funding round led by Otsana Capital, ahead of a listing on the ASX as Cre8tek.

Flamingo listed with market capitalisation of $24m, and by October 2017 was worth $42.4m.

Their major clients are located in the US and Asia-Pacific, including Nationwide Insurance, MetLife Asia, AMP and DirectMoney, Smart Money reports.

In October, Flamingo also raised a further $5.1m via a share placement. According to the Smartcompany website,“The oversubscribed round closed after just 12 minutes, with $10m in bids vying for the 128.1 million in shares that were on offer for $0.04 each.”

“The [$5.1m] oversubscribed round closed after just 12 minutes, with $10m in bids vying for the 128.1 million in shares that were on offer for $0.04 each.”

Flamingo’s two virtual artificial assistants are called Rosie and Maggie. Rosie deals with complex customer journeys involving sales, quotation, applicationand payments. Maggie is a virtual enquiry assistant that deals with frequently asked questions.

If following the money does not convince you of the growing power of artificial intelligence, New Zealand insurance startup Cove Insurance says it will soon introduce the first insurance product to be fully managed by chatbot.

The company has given no details of the planned service, but says it has been working for a year on the project, and that traditional insurance companies were “struggling to connect with a younger digitally-focused market.”

“Chatbots offer a way to open the conversation and educate this audience of the role life insurance plays in their lives, and provide a simple manner to purchase the policy that best suits the individual,” said Cove.

“Chatbots offer a way to open the conversation and educate this audience of the role life insurance plays in their lives, and provide a simple manner to purchase the policy that best suits the individual,”

But it isn’t just life insurance –the use of chatbots across all areas is growing in New Zealand. In May, Community Law Wellington launcheda chatbot to provide information to parents and students about schools and education throughout New Zealand, saying it would use machine learning and artificial intelligence to ‘learn on the job’.

In September nib said it had become the first health insurer in New Ze…ce from a chatbot. nib said the chatbot, dubbed ‘Frankie’, would “help provide convenient, timely responses to our customers’ enquiries about our recently launched new range of health covers,” and would enable the company to provide 24 x 7 service.

Is it any wonder the smart money is on chatbots?

Premier Technologies

Premier Contact Point provides a hosted contact solution that meets the needs of the modern contact centre. This cost effective solution provides a means of directing calls to the agent who is best suited to meet the needs of the customer, without having to be transferred multiple times. Businesses choose this hosted contact solution because there is no need to purchase and maintain costly hardware like there is with traditional PBX systems. This means the need for capital expenditure is minimal, all a contact centre agent needs is a phone, PC and an Internet connection.

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