Home | MIT Sloan Fellows | Leadership Blog

AI can forge richer human-to-human interactions

In the digital marketplace, online chat has become a key asset to consumers and companies alike, allowing sales personnel to help customers make decisions and resolve issues in real time. Enter Vee24. This young AI startup has created a service that could soon make basic online chat feel as primitive as a phone tree.

Priya Iyer, SF ’05, CEO and Chair of Vee24, says that old-style customer service is not going to cut it any longer with a burgeoning number of consumers who are comfortable in the digital world, customers whose expectations are rising on pace with technological capabilities. “Vee24 actually enables richer, deeper interactions between companies and their customers.”

What makes Vee24 so revolutionary in the “live engagement space” is the sheer depth, breadth, and range of interactions it offers. The company’s platform unifies all aspects of live engagement—text, voice, and video chat as well as co-browsing and screen-sharing—and provides support across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.

In only its fifth year, Vee24 is already exacting a significant impact on the way people buy products—and it’s increasing the number of products likely to be purchased online. In the past, most consumers preferred making major purchases in person. Vee24 makes it possible for automobile shoppers, for example, to chat with a sales representative, zoom in on dashboard details or watch video that answers performance questions. Online sales staff can even assist them in filling out financing applications. In short, Vee24’s platform makes it seem like the customer service representative and the consumer are sitting across the desk from one another.

Stepping up outreach

“Vee24 transforms simple customer service into a concierge experience,” Iyer says. “When done well, such online interactions can actually exceed the quality of an in-store experience. A customer might want to show a furniture sales associate the layout of his living room, so the sales associate can suggest the optimal furniture configuration or rug size.”

Iyer notes that one of the most valuable uses of the Vee24 platform is tech support. “If you call a Vee-24-enabled tech support hotline to help you in troubleshooting a problem with a computer or digital appliance, the service representative may be able to download key information from the ailing device, then diagnose and fix the problem—or coach the consumer through the process.”

While some digital innovations wow consumers but don’t necessarily win them over, Vee24’s live engagement spaces are fast winning friends and influencing people. The company is finding that these online interactions are four or five times more likely to convert the conversation into sales, with a 25 to 35 per cent increase in average order value.

And Iyer’s team has made the platform easy to adopt. The Vee24 team can get a client up and running by simply adding a JavaScript tag to the customer’s website, which allows them to leverage the full complement of Vee24’s cloud-based solutions. They also train and help clients to analyze and optimize performance and results.

Vee24’s overnight dominance in the live engagement space is the result of an ingenious use of AI but also a fairly ingenious team headed by CEO Iyer, who brings to the company more than 25 years of experience in nearly every facet of software. Honored with the New England Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014, she also made the Boston Globe’s Top 100 Entrepreneur list in 2015.

Comments are closed.