NowBrains is an expert in information systems for SMBs and intermediate-sized enterprises and supports their digital transformation. Its core business is outsourcing and maintenance of IT systems, with three brands: Iakaa (for very small enterprise), NowTeam (for SMB) and NowServiceDesk (for medium-sized enterprise).
In 2021, NowBrains integrated Konverso’s chatbot into its NowBoard customer portal, in order to offer new premium customer services by combining operational performance and cost control.
The context of NowBrains’ project
NowBrains' chatbot project is part of the group's strong growth and the evolution of its target market, from SMBs to more intermediate-sized businesses.
A group of 100 people created in 2003, NowBrains achieved a turnover of €11m in 2020 (+70% compared to 2018). Its objective is to achieve a €13m turnover by 2021 and €36m by 2025, with 300 employees.
During its development, the group has integrated centres of expertise corresponding to the needs of its customers, originally SMEs. Then, in order to meet the growing demand from medium to medium-sized enterprises (250 to 5000 employees), NowBrains decided to set up a new offer integrating Konverso’s intelligent virtual agent.
This approach, adapted to the contexts, challenges and needs of medium-sized enterprises, is based on the will to integrate and develop the best technologies to improve employees’ performance and service quality. For the customer, this translates into significant savings and a higher satisfaction level.
« Integrating the chatbot into our customer services is an essential step in our roadmap to deliver premium service with the lowest rates.
For intermediate-sized enterprises, we are positioning ourselves as an alternative to recruitment needs that are becoming increasingly difficult to meet. And for technical jobs we are a support, to help them increase their skills with trainings and enable them to carry out tasks with higher added value and intellectual input. »
Florent Sorin, Director of Operations at NowBrains
NowBrains maintains a high level of customer satisfaction based on several pillars: excellent quality of service, 24/7 availability, self-care resolution, real-time visibility of KPIs to drive strategy and, finally, the employee on-boarding accelerator.
Chatbot and self-service to better meet user needs
Above all, NowBrains wants to provide a relevant and qualitative response to each customer request, as quickly as possible. In addition, customers must be able to access a response autonomously, without having to pay the price of a 24/7 on-call service.
By integrating Konverso’s virtual assistant into its customer portal, NowBrains is responding to this dual challenge of performance and cost control. The routing and sorting of requests, previously managed by telephone, are now 100% digital via a written or vocal conversation with the chatbot.
Ticket management is carried out via Salesforce, one of the components of NowBrains' digital ecosystem that its teams have integrated into its NowBoard customer portal.
Eventually, the chatbot will be even more easily accessible, through a widget (an interactive mini application) displayed directly on computers and phones.
A high level of satisfaction and access to more services
The implementation phase of the Konverso chatbot was carried out over three months in spring 2021. Out of 300 to 400 tickets processed per day, a third are now qualified by the bot with a "good qualification" rate of 70%. As part of a continuous improvement process, the objective is to quickly reach an 80 to 90% rate of successful qualification.
NowBrains thus simplifies the life of its customers, saves them time compared to a telephone request and ensures better traceability of requests.
This deployment was accompanied by the field teams, in order to show customers the added value of qualifying requests by a chatbot, as well as access to more statistics and real-time reporting. Finally, customers can use the chatbot to access more services via their customer portal, on PC and mobile, such as pre-configured equipment orders based on employee profiles.
Today, more than 90% of NowBrains' customers have adopted the chatbot, resulting in greater ease of use, operational and functional gains and improved satisfaction.
« With the chatbot we keep the human relationship after the routing and sorting of requests, and tomorrow we will offer even more self-care.
This evolution of services corresponds to the evolution of our customers' needs. In addition, the new generation entering the labour market is also looking for this type of service.
They are more used to exploring forums to search for information. Our customers want this type of self-service in their toolbox. It's part of a package that employees expect and it also helps them with talent acquisition. »
Florent Sorin, Director of Operations, NowBrains
A structuring tool for customers
With its service portal and the pre-qualification of requests by the Konverso chatbot, NowBrains can manage a wide variety of incoming and outgoing flows from its customers. This way, the company provides a structuring tool for customers that simplifies many management tasks.
« In companies of all sizes, many processes are not documented and structured, for example approval or onboarding workflows. The chatbot will make it possible to structure these actions in three clicks and execute complex scenarios simply. »
Phetdavanh Sisombath, CTO at NowBrains
The NowBrains teams can thus create job descriptions specific to each profile, contextualised according to its environment with specific blocks according to the position, the size of the company and the user's level of technical competence.
As a result, the NowBoard service portal makes it possible to document the internal practices of companies and, with the Konverso chatbot, to reintegrate them into structured processes.
More progression for the NowBrains teams
By entrusting the Konverso chatbot with the first stage of requests qualification (sorting and routing), NowBrains also provides assistance to the technicians in charge of processing the requests. Consequently, customers obtain a better quality of service and a great customer experience, both for the relevance of the response and the turnaround time.
NowBrains enables its technical teams to take on new tasks. These customer service professionals can devote more time to supporting technological projects and plan their career progression.
At the team level, one FTE (full-time equivalent) in two has been refocused on higher value-added assignments and intellectual challenges. Examples with the career paths of two qualification specialists:
- The first is moving towards the role of Service Delivery Manager. His knowledge of technological and organisational issues enables him to play a strategic role as a pivot between the service centres of intermediate-sized enterprise clients and the NowBrains teams, in French and English.
- The second joined the team in charge of data processing, a key activity for the evolution of NowBrains' services.
The choice of a technology and a team with Konverso
The NowBrains team chose Konverso both for the quality of its technical platform and the expertise of its team in data analysis and statistics.
« Konverso is a French company, which is a guarantee of quality and corresponds to our values. Its geographical proximity allows us to forge close ties and move projects forward more efficiently. This way we can develop the learning of the chatbot with a French-speaking team.
Konverso's technology (no code) is also the most advanced on the French market and its learning engine is more flexible than other technologies we have tested. Other bots were a black box that did not allow interaction. Whereas we need a bot that will adapt. Moreover, we particularly appreciate the openness of their system via APIs and the ability to integrate EDI feeds. »
Florent Sorin, director of operations at NowBrains
Konverso's intelligent virtual agent offers a more flexible integration with more workflows. The NowBrains team can then feed the chatbot with a wide variety of data sets, analyse its performance and refine its responses. Then, via the "no code" interface, NowBrains can fine-tune the quality of the bot's responses and adapt its scope to the evolution of its customer’s needs.
A Machine Learning project that exploits the history of user tickets
At the heart of the NowBrains project there is a Machine Learning approach to extract knowledge from almost 20 years of users tickets.
Finally, in order to have good quality data, a four-year history was exported, processed and then analysed with the Konverso language engine. NowBrains then used this internal knowledge base as a working base, adding to it over time to constantly improve the quality of the qualification of requests.
« We had tested different technologies to create our chatbot internally. But the quality of the data was a major issue, as well as the complexity of conducting a continuous improvement process. Choosing Konverso rather than developing our own chatbot allowed us to save 2 to 3 years on our Time To Market.
The Konverso team compared the results of several automatic classification algorithms, analysed the performance, optimised and calibrated the final model. This collaboration allows us to adopt the optimal approach to evolve our chatbot. »
Yann Poirier, data analyst at NowBrains
NowBrains technicians intervene manually in the process of supervising the learning of the chatbot, through Konverso’s "no code" interface. This allows them to validate whether a ticket has been correctly qualified by the chatbot. If a ticket has been incorrectly qualified, the technician requalifies the request and this data is sent to the bot as part of its ongoing learning.
NowBrains must be able to adapt its responses to the particular contexts of each customer and each user at every customer’s company. Thanks to the machine learning model, the bot is therefore constantly fed with new contextual elements and responses to be able to properly qualify user requests and ensure the best customer service experience.
Future development of the chatbot approach at NowBrains
For the next steps of the project, NowBrains is working on the user experience (UX) in a model of continuous improvement. In particular, the upcoming availability of a widget inspired by virtual agents such as Siri and Cortana. The project will also soon integrate the automation of diagnosis and resolution with RPA (Robotic Process Automation).
NowBrains also seeks to reduce the use of alternative communication channels by customers. For example, a CallBot (conversational voice robot) system will be implemented for call management, and a MailToBot system for emails.
« Our short, medium and long-term objective is to dust off the managed services market for SMEs by combining technology, RPA, the best possible quality of service and the finest control of budgets and human risks, thanks to a systematically contextualised response. »
Florent Sorin, Director of Operations, NowBrains
Finally, in the future, NowBrains will be able to diversify its field of response. Because if today its service portal responds to its clients' IT requests, tomorrow it will also be able to integrate other knowledge bases to respond to other types of requests, for example in the field of human resources.
NowBrains supports the evolution of SMEs and medium-sized businesses with four divisions :
- a Consulting and Support division in Information Systems Strategy and Digital Strategy (its NowDSI and NowLeads brands),
- a Computer Development division (NowLab),
- a (Cyber)Security division (NowSecure),
- and a Data, AI and Internal Tools division (NowResearch). https://www.nowbrains.com/
KONVERSO’S UNIQUE CAPABILITIES
Konverso Intelligent Virtual Agent for IT Service Desk brings to NowBrains the following unique capabilities:
- Supervised Learning: The Virtual Agent extracts data from live chat to learn to respond, leveraging its Machine Learning algorithms and models; human agents can also supervise this learning process. This interaction with the system reduces the effort, complexity and time needed to train the Virtual Agent whilst rapidly increasing the quality of conversations.
- NLP and conversational Workflow: The Virtual Agent has conversational AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities. It can handle simple to complex conversations and responses through its NLP and conversational workflow engines. To know more about Natural Language Processing and how AI understand the human language, you can read this article written by Amédée Potier, CTO and co-founder of Konverso.
- Analytics: Help desk specialists can monitor the outcomes and performance of the Virtual Agent, through pre-built layered and drillable dashboards.
- Integration: The Virtual Agent is fully integrated to ITSM environments, to automatically leverage all knowledge, data and workflows. As a result, Konverso’s clients can automate activities as well as link to external sources of information for wider coverage.