Voice AI startup Uniphore to disrupt Vietnam’s customer service industry

08:00 | 08/05/2020
Conversational AI startup, Uniphore has achieved a noticeable position in its segment in Vietnam since 2018. With a local office and support team, the company is looking to make more meaningful impacts in Vietnam for current and future customers. The startup is now at the forefront of using technology to transform into a comprehensive customer service solution. Ravi Saraogi, co-founder and president in JAPAC of Uniphore, told VIR’s Thanh Van about the startup’s journey to bring in the new technology to Vietnam.
voice ai startup uniphore to disrupt vietnams customer service industry
Ravi Saraogi, co-founder and president in JAPAC of Uniphore

What conversational AI solutions are in Uniphore’s repertoire?

Conversational AI is a set of technologies that work to enable computers to interact with humans by simulating human voice or chatting in order to automate communication. Founded in 2008 in India, Uniphore has carved a niche for itself with its Conversational AI and Automation Platform.

Specifically, Uniphore’s innovative Conversational Service Automation (CSA) platform addresses the growing needs of businesses to provide personalised customer experiences more efficiently and effectively. Its product portfolio include three software products, namely akeira, auMina, and amVoice.

First, akeira digital agents work alongside call-centre personnel to radically boost productivity and customer experience. They intervene and handle simple transactional conversations which should not require a human agent in the first place.

The second software, auMina, generates highly advanced analytics and visualisations of customer churn, satisfaction, the likelihood of repeat business, or whether the customer is primed for up-sell or cross-sell.

The third is amVoice which is a secure and automated identity verification system that uses an individual’s unique voice-biometrics to authenticate users and assures maximum protection against identity theft and fraud in the process.

Uniphore’s solutions can recognise and respond to Vietnamese language with high accuracy. How does Uniphore break the barrier of Vietnamese language to achieve this remarkable accuracy?

Whenever we enter a new market, we first have to develop the language and the dialect of that region. When we first came to Vietnam two years ago, we encountered the challenge that 99 per cent of the calls are made in Vietnamese. Given that the Vietnamese language is not easy to understand with different tones and dialects, Uniphore has made huge efforts to deliver local language expertise. We have trained our technology to get better at understanding and communicating with Vietnamese people in regional vernaculars.

However, to develop a highly accurate AI system, it is important to acquire sufficient volumes of the right data. To facilitate the goal, Uniphore has strived to access large data sets through collaboration with our customers or through our own channels. After two years, we have one of the highest accuracies in Vietnamese language as the software has been trained with thousands of hours of local use cases.

Our voice conversation system can now respond in Vietnamese and recognise northern and southern dialects. The high accuracy of local language speech recognition definitely gives Uniphore an edge to improve customer service interactions in Vietnam.

Athough the conversational AI interface was launched in Vietnam in 2016, the market is still in its infancy. What are Uniphore’s plans to scale up in this nascent market?

The Vietnamese conversational AI market is still just a fledgling but there is huge potential for development. Any business in Vietnam which has a large customer-base and runs a call centre could use our technology. Meanwhile, there are companies which do not have a call centre, except for a mobile payment app or a website. They can integrate our voice authentication technology into their application. They can also use our product as a virtual assistant to respond to basic queries before transferring calls to a human.

After two years of rolling out solutions in Vietnam, Uniphore has served a number of corporate clients and big banks across the Asia-Pacific, such as FE Credit, one of Vietnam’s largest consumer finance companies. Going forward, we continue our efforts to target customers in the fields of banking, insurance, aviation, telecom, hospitality, e-commerce, and large business process outsourcing (BPO).

How can Uniphore help clients to improve the quality of customer service in the era of digital transformation?

Digital transformation is essential to ensure that an organisation remains competitive. Today, many businesses in Vietnam start to implement digital channels and innovation to reach customers, deliver information, execute transactions, and improve customer experience. Uniphore focuses on bringing in automation for organisations so that they can connect with consumers through digital media.

Given that call centres are the first line of communication between consumers and businesses, Uniphore has worked together with businesses to increase productivity and reduce cost for these call centres. By applying conversational AI technology, businesses can transform their call-centres into profit-centres which benefit them financially through improving customer experience and reducing costs.

Indeed, our clients in Vietnam – such as FE Credit – have started to reap the benefits of conversational AI and automation solutions. Specifically, Uniphore's technology has enabled more digital consumption for clients. Meanwhile, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has brought about a larger number of calls to be handled by fewer agents as most people have been staying at home during the nationwide social distancing. Thus, Uniphore’s products have helped our clients to achieve smoother operations while reducing the weight on customer service agents during the crisis.

 

Uniphore was incubated in 2008 in IIT Madras, the premier research institute in India. Since then, Uniphore has grown at an exponential rate and is now expanding in JAPAC. Uniphore’s Conversational Service Automation platform has the highest voice accuracy in the industry, the broadest language coverage, best latency and response times, and highest degree of predictability of intent. The startup offers conversational AI in over 100 global languages, including multiple dialects.

Uniphore is disrupting the $350 billion customer service market with its conversational AI and automation platform. With its platform being deployed in both medium- and large-scale organisations, including Fortune 50 companies, Uniphore has brought together AI and automation for customer service and have accelerated the pace of adoption of these technologies for the entire industry.

Having experienced 300 per cent on-year revenue growth in 2019, Uniphore’s momentum remains, with $51 million raised in a Series C funding round in August 2019. Projected to see impressive growth in 2020, Uniphore has set its eyes on JAPAC – a hyper growth region – to capture as large a market as possible.

Kalidas Ghose, CEO of FE Credit, a client of Uniphore, shared: “Our customer service, especially our call centre, is constantly overwhelmed with the huge number of calls and inquiries. Recruitment and training are part of the solution but are not enough. A more effective way is implementing conversational AI solutions which, aside from bringing about impressive enhancement to productivity, enable the maximum leverage and understanding of current data. Our call centre was not just upgraded, it evolved with AI.”

By Thanh Van

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