7.ai co-founder and CEO PV Kannan realised, back in 2000, that the key to forward-thinking customer engagement was reaching beyond customers calling up companies to talk to call centre representatives to get answers to queries and moving quickly towards a digital standpoint. “Today, customers want real-time responses to their questions,” says 7.ai’s Global CISO & Chief Privacy Officer, Dr Rebecca Wynn.
Conversational AI is redefining customer experience (CX) across business messaging, voice and everywhere else. The journey for 7.ai towards meeting the need for more efficient customer interactions is allied to the rise of the chat bot triggering database responses; this inspired Kannan’s team to develop 7.ai’s NLP (Natural Language Processing) to build the business globally.
“Companies partner with 7.ai because we’re pioneers in the industry,” maintains Dr Wynn. “We’re able to harness strong analytics to provide a seamless transition when customers need to graduate to a human response but don’t want to repeat all of the information they’ve already given via a chatbot. We’ve created a unified digital customer experience across channels from websites and tablets to social media and smartphones to suit the needs of businesses across sectors, from banking to retail. We’re confident that positive customer experiences will increase our clients’ net promoter scores (NPS), lower operating costs and help drive revenues.”
Dr Wynn believes it’s vital for her team to work to the mantra “How can we be better tomorrow?” She notes that recruiting the right personnel is vital to drive excellence. “We need to be equipped to analyse customer journeys and make them more efficient and secure, not only for the company that hires us but for the consumers that access them and want answers in real-time.”
Compliance, Risk Management & Security
During a year where the pressures of the global Covid-19 pandemic have hastened many companies shift towards digital transformation, how is 7.ai offering support? “Businesses are moving decisively towards enabling a remote workforce,” notes Dr Wynn of a process 7.ai has over a decade experience in delivering. “We’re mindful of the pressures that puts on bandwidth so we regularly communicate with our customers to analyse business continuity and how they are able to move their workforce quickly and offer an instant response to their customers, even when faced with disaster scenarios like this pandemic. It’s something we were well prepared for and are able to make key decisions quickly to mitigate risk in moving agents to work from home.”
Dr Wynn sees the company’s customers as partners – a vital alliance when facing up to the enemies beyond the keyboard… “We’re in this cyberwar together,” she pledges. “We’re not only driving a positive customer experience but also working with privacy, compliance and security teams because we need to be cybersecurity warriors together. It’s an ecosystem that needs to be protected. If anyone on our platform is being attacked we need to let each other know and act accordingly to stay secure. That’s why when I look at key vendors it’s not just a box checking exercise; we’re investing in good partnerships that protect ours and our customers futures to better protect consumers at large worldwide.”
Partnering to Innovate with Proofpoint, Tanium &
Sumo Logic CrowdStrike
In its quest for cybersecurity innovation 7.ai partners with Proofpoint, taking advantage of a raft of compliance solutions to protect customers across every channel from email, web and cloud to social media and mobile messaging. “Proofpoint are able to help us with our top layer of security, to see where active threats are coming from before those attempts start trickling down into our architecture,” explains Dr Wynn. “It means we don’t have to spend time training our personnel because we have their specialists on board providing real-time dashboards for threat analysis of our firewalls.” She applauds Proofpoint’s ability to carry out deep dives that ensure a company is equipped to deal with constantly morphing phishing attacks and ransomware, dealing with issues effectively in real-time with a turn-around time of less than 45 seconds.
Gaining an overview of the cybersecurity posture of a firewall and enabling real-time filtering is vital for 7.ai. “You’re going to need patch management but it’s not the old school approach anymore,” says Dr Wynn. “I tell people when you have so many patches to go ahead and apply, they're all important. But which one on what system do you patch first? And then which server of that system do you patch? First you have to be able to know the risk that you're carrying on each server or each system; then you can know the order of precedence on that. That’s why we work with companies like Tanium who are more than just a vendor, they’re a trusted partner thinking beyond the security space into risk management, compliance and privacy to help us win the cyberwar. Because, again, it's not only the return on investment, it's a return on the efficiency of an investment that really counts.”
Completing a trio of trusted partners, CrowdStrike empowers world-class intelligence to 7.ai to provide a full picture of attacks and the context needed to pivot to a protective security posture. Described by Dr Wynn as a “next gen endpoint security on steroids”, it combines next gen anti-virus protection, endpoint detection and response (EDR), and proactive threat hunting in one platform.
“Being able to consolidate our endpoint agents with an extensive platform that grows and adapts to our company’s needs without complexity has been great,” says Dr Wynn. She explains that “having systems in place that use machine learning to ensure that breaches stop before they occur is paramount is today’s fast-pace technology world. That is especially true when you add on fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks and how fast malware, botnet attacks, and other cyber-attacks can move through a network.
“Without a EDR and threat hunting platform, it might take dozens of analysts to do those correlations, but CrowdStrike’s use of machine learning and real-time response capabilities speeds up investigations and remediations in our environment. It’s not just correlating the data, it’s about being able to correlate and stop an attack as quickly as possible.”
Future Proofing CX
Dr Wynn highlights a growing trend for businesses, particularly retail, moving online; something which has been accelerated by the global pandemic. “We’re supporting new customers as they develop communication channels to be able to manage this shift,” she says. “With our full web presence, we can manage their transition seamlessly. We’re also being approached by the education and healthcare sectors to help them meet the challenge of keeping their people connected.”
Recognised as a leader in The Forrester New Wave: Digital-First Customer Service 2020, and working with a host of Fortune 500 companies, organisations across multiple sectors can trust 7.ai to deliver.
Dr Wynn believes a global paradigm shift that has seen millions working remotely has offered an opportunity to move forward in a better way. “Businesses are looking at their physical footprint and asking if they need so much real estate, can they find ways to be more efficient? Startups have been operating via this model for years, leasing space that allows them to expand and contract. A paradigm shift was already coming, and now it’s here companies like 7.ai, with our expertise through offerings like the Engagement Cloud, can support the global roll out of secure customer communications across a range of devices to securely manage that change to a hybrid way of working between office and home. We’re pioneers for strategic thinking with much more to come.”