Uniphore, a conversational automation company, develops AI and natural language processing (NLP)-based solutions for enterprises. Ravi Saraogi, Co-founder & President-APAC at Uniphore speaks about the solutions Uniphore delivers to address the entire lifecycle of customer conversation – from an automated channel to authentication, to live service, and finally to post-factor.
Explain how Uniphore products work in terms of Conversational Automation, and how enterprises can make use of this.
Uniphore is a conversational automation company. If you look at how conversations, and the way organizations have been built over the years – the heart of organizations has been their ERP systems, their finance systems, or their HR systems. But if you look at what really encapsulates an organization, it is the conversations that happen, both within the company and externally, with their vendors, customers and partners. At Uniphore, we believe that conversations are a company’s most valuable asset. What we do therefore is to provide a framework wherein AI and natural language processing (NLP) can be applied to a company’s conversational data to enhance engagements, both internally and externally.
Our current focus is on providing an integrated conversational service platform which combines conversational AI, workflow automation, robotic process automation (RPA), and low-code and no-code capabilities, all wrapped up with a business-friendly user interface (UI). Our goal is to transform and democratize exceptional customer experiences.
Customer experience really takes shape in the Contact Center. Uniphore enables businesses to empower their contact center employees to deliver highly personalized, empathetic customer interactions which elevate the overall experience. The solutions we deliver include U-Self Serve which helps drive customer engagement across channels like IVR, web and mobile, and reduces the cost of customer service. Once the conversation moves to an agent, we enable authentication which is especially essential now as agents work remotely. This is made possible by U-Trust which delivers frictionless agent verification to increase customer trust. It can verify agents effectively and reduce contact center fraud. As the customer converses with the agent, our third product, U-Assist steps in to give the agent real-time analytics that drive compliance, facilitate cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, address consistency and churn with knowledge management and most importantly enable agents to be more empathetic. In this way, U-Assists effectively guides the agent throughout the entire interaction and on completion, automatically summarizes and documents the entire conversation, drastically reducing post-call work. Finally, U-Analyze makes it possible for 100% of interactions to be monitored and analyzed for details such as soft skills, compliance, churn, and cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. In this way, Uniphore delivers a platform upon which our products address the entire lifecycle of customer conversation – from an automated channel, to authentication, to live service, and finally to post-factor.
How can automation be tailored to the needs of each organization from different market segments?
Uniphore caters to a US$500 billion customer service industry and therefore has deployments across multiple verticals. By virtue of this, we have amassed a lot of learning and industry specific insights. Consider for example a typical request to a bank such as ensure the customer’s credit card will work during an overseas trip. Between navigating the IVR, speaking to an agent, and the agent subsequently making the required updates to the system, this interaction is likely to take no less than 10-12 minutes. But if Uniphore has been deployed, then instead of the IVR, the customer can speak in native language to a bot which connects them more efficiently and conveniently to an agent. Then as the customer relays the request to the agent, RPA processes automatically populate forms, allowing the agent to fulfill the request with just a single click. So, what would have otherwise taken the agent multiple forms, is instead completed via an RPA in mere milliseconds. In addition, our solution actively monitors the conversation in real-time to identify up-selling opportunities – in this example, it could be the possibility of offering a travel insurance package, or a preferential Forex rate. In this way, with Uniphore a customer journey which could have taken upwards of 12 minutes can be completed in under 3 minutes, with the added benefit of potential cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
What verticals does Uniphore focus on other than Banking?
Ravi: Within in financial services industry, we also serve other non-banking service providers such as mortgage providers, and many of the world’s leading insurance companies. Beyond BFSI, we serve the telecoms sector – with many of the largest service providers across the globe being Uniphore customers – and the healthcare market. Of course, BPOs are another large focus for Uniphore wherein we don’t only sell to them, but also sell our services through these organizations. In addition, we also have a big customer-base in the eCommerce, Ed-Tech, and hospitality segments.
What is the typical size and scale of organizations that Uniphore serves – is it just large enterprises or also the SME segment?
Any organization that has a contact center has the potential to benefit from Uniphore’s products. In the Middle East, where the cost of contact centers is higher than in markets such as India or the Philippines, any organization that has over 150 contact center seats would be a suitable candidate for Uniphore solutions.
That said, we have a very strong penetration into the enterprise space. Globally, Uniphore works with 6 out of the top 10 BPOs, 3 out of the top 5 telcos, and between 70% to 80% of Fortune 500 companies.
Could you please tell us about your presence in the Middle East and your strategy for the region in the coming year?
Ravi: In the Middle East, we have a strong partner focus as we sell through our partners, and alliances. Of course, we also have a team that is based in the Middle East that is headquartered in the UAE and has a local presence in countries across the MENA including Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
We have signed partnerships with the largest BPOs, leading consultancy firms, local value-added providers and technology vendors who are global in nature but also have a strong presence in the Middle East.
Can you talk about the deployment model for Uniphore’s platform?
Uniphore’s products are end-to-end SaaS based. Having said that, in dealing with large enterprises, we also understand that not every entity is ready to run their solutions in the cloud. So, we offer the flexibility of on-premise deployment delivered within the subscription model. Depending on their complexity, our deployments typically range anywhere between two to three weeks, to two to three months and the solution then runs seamlessly without significant management overheads. In addition, if a customer requires any managed services, system management, or environment management, then we have additional services which can be consumed by our customers.
Given the stringent data handling policies we see in many countries, how does Uniphore manage data?
Ravi: First, by virtue of dealing with large enterprises, Uniphore’s technology and hosting stacks are fully compliant with certifications that include PCI DSS, ISO 27001, HIPAA, HITRUST, SOC 1, and SOC 2. Second, from a data security perspective, if required, we deliver our solutions on-prem in the customer’s environment. This means all their data resides within their own infrastructure. Or if it is hosted in the cloud, then that hosting is done within the country, so the data still resides within the geography. This is made possible by our global partners with the largest of cloud service providers which are also present in the Middle East market.
In terms of security, do you have a fool-proof system to ensure the security of data on solutions that you deploy in customers private environments?
Because we work with the largest of enterprises, we cannot deploy our solutions unless they meet all compliance requirements and certifications. Maintaining data sanctity is absolutely crucial to our deliveries.
Today, Uniphore processes hundreds of thousands of interactions on a daily basis. When you process this volume of data, that often has sensitive customer data, it’s easy to see why security is paramount to everything we do.