By Tomer Suarez, Co-Founder & CEO
Though I had this question answered in my mind way before we raised our seed round, I’ve never actually talked about it publicly, and that’s exactly what I’m about to do right now.
Interai was founded two years ago in the basement of a dentist’s office (owned by my co-founder’s dad), shortly after our Silicon Valley-based Edtech consumer gig. It was created with a grand vision that only two naive consumer tech entrepreneurs with absolutely zero enterprise experience could come up with: the idea of bringing a consumer-like experience to enterprise customer-facing workers.
The truth is we couldn’t comprehend how customer-facing workers like sales and customer service reps are expected to deliver world-class CX while tied to multiple, cumbersome operational systems their company equips them with. This, by the way, is in complete contrast to how advanced and simple are the self-service tools and shiny mobile apps those same companies provide their customers with. Hands down, this is inconsistent customer experience.
Now imagine CX in a world where customer service agents who interact with thousands of clients use internal software that share the same User Interface and User Experience values as Uber, Amazon, or Facebook apps.
In other words, what if companies could be freed from all those complex, unfriendly ops systems by having a single app that mitigates the unpleasant relationship between agents and those systems? And what if that could be done without the heavy IT and R&D resources and effort usually standing in the way?
Your CX is as good as your systems
Think about yourself as a consumer. In 2021, every bank, insurance company, mobile carrier, and other services you use will have fancy websites and mobile apps you can use for self-service to order products, request services, or resolve issues. While this is great, it is mostly true for simple tasks.
When you actually need to reach out to the company, either via phone, ticket, email, or social media, things start to get complicated and frustrating (aka, “Please hold”). Ever wondered why? Let me take you through the journey of what happens behind the scenes while you are waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
Despite what you think, and what any CRM company out there would aspire to, there is no single fabulous magical system reps use to resolve any customer interaction, end-to-end.
Truth is, on the other side of the line, there’s a customer-facing representative who needs to use 3+ systems, go through 7+ screens and tabs, scroll forever, wait for each system to load, look up your information (which is scattered everywhere), memorize policies, perform dozens of clicks, look up third-party tools for payment or shipping-related issues, and do it all in a timely manner without making any mistakes. Foof.
In this realm, even the simplest question of “who is the customer I’m talking to?” becomes difficult to answer. Sigh.
That’s why you get funny questions like “What’s your order number?” or “What’s your full name or ID?” even though YOU JUST SAID OR TYPED IT. That’s also why there is so much awkward silence on the phone, or why it takes forever to get back to your email. And that’s why after all this time, they tell you they need to escalate your request to a different team. F**K.
Through it all you sit and wonder, “What is so complicated about checking my past transactions?” or “Why is it so hard to pay for something I want to buy?”
But that’s not just annoying, it can cost companies a lot of money. Recently, CNN published an article about a judicial ruling that Citibank won’t be allowed to recover almost half a billion dollars it accidentally wired to one of its client’s lenders. Turns out, the wire was a human error (made by 3 different people), made due to a terrible UI of one of their back-office systems. Yes, I’m dead serious.
Bottom line, companies’ CX is as good as their operations, which are as good as their systems. And back to the subject line, Interai was founded so companies can deliver top-notch CX without their Ops system getting in their way.
Systems are here to stay
Inquiring minds might wonder: Why don’t companies, especially the tech-enabled, improve their ops systems? What’s so hard about it?
Let’s start with the basic facts: ops systems are unique to every company, representing their unique business processes. They were built in a highly customized manner, oftentimes by internal R&D teams or by SIs (system integrators), and that’s exactly what makes it so difficult to move them. There are no off-the-shelf API integrations, and there is a lot of data and business logic already built into those systems. Changing those systems means LOTS of IT and R&D effort, high risk and high costs, and a very long time-to-market.
Moreover, because internal ops are always lowest on the R&D roadmap and budget (the main focus is on the product itself and on self-service tools as mentioned above), these ops systems are here to stay. And that’s why sales and customer service teams in B2C companies, despite the proliferation of shiny CRM and Service Platforms, will have to keep using those systems and give suboptimal CX. And with the speed of business, new products, services, interaction channels, promotions, and discounts, the burden on customer-facing workers is only increasing by the day. Bummer.
Well, that was the reality before Interai.
Introducing Interai: Keep your systems, boost your CX
Interai’s mission is to enable B2C sales and customer service teams to build Customer360 Apps that consolidate all customer info, timeline, and history from all & any existing systems, together with any business logic and insights (e.g. Customer Loyalty Score), to enable customer-facing reps to be PROACTIVE and RESOLUTION-ORIENTED while interacting with the customer, without leaving their CRM or Service Platform. And the best part? Interai is leveraging Computer Vision to be able to work as a layer on top of existing systems with absolutely zero code or API integrations, meaning no R&D effort, therefore no fighting for priorities or resources, and a LIGHTNING FAST TIME-TO-MARKET.
Amazing CX, in turn, means better sales, customer loyalty, and retention.
First, there were Service Platforms and CRM to manage customer relationships. Now is the time to introduce the Customer Operations Platform.
Get ready for world-class CX at your fingertips, without your systems holding you back.