Let’s Be Mates Podcast – EP11- Clevertar – AI driven conversations

Podcast | 8 January 2020

In today’s episode we are talking to Matt Francis & Tanya Newhouse from a company called Clevertar.

At MATE, service is our number one focus as we feel this is what sets us apart from our competitors.

We are always trying to ensure we have the right balance of automation and verbal contact with our customers to ensure they are getting the type of service they want and need.

We aren’t open 24/7 and we know customers have a time and a place that they choose to do what they need hence why we engaged with Clevertar to support us in our after-hours times.

Clevertar offers a product that for us humanises service even when there is not a real person available. Clevertar offers a conversational AI virtual agent with a friendly face. To learn more about Clevertar and their products, visit www.clevertar.com

You can learn more about Mate internet and mobile plans at www.LetsBeMates.com.au.

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Transcript:

Faz: Welcome Australia. It’s that time again for another podcast, from the Mait team where we try and get into your head with stuff that makes us sound smart. Sit back and relax. It’s time for us to be Mates.

Hi Australia. Welcome to another. Let’s be Mates podcast. I’m one of your hosts, FAZ and in the room as per usual, we’ve got Dom and Bosco boys. How are we going today? Good, good. Very good. Another time to that time of the week again for another, let’s be mates podcast. In today’s episode, we are talking to Matt Francis and Tanya Newhouse from a company called clever Clevertar, a company that we engage with, to build our virtual agent or our AI bot that we use for after hours.

When our call center is closed. At Mate service is our number one focus as we feel, this is the thing that sets us apart from our competitors. We are always trying to ensure we have the right balance of automation and physical or verbal contact with our customers to ensure they are getting the type of service they need and want, and ultimately deserve.

We aren’t open 24 seven and we know customers have a time and a place that they choose to do what they need to do. And hence, we engage with Clevertar to support us in those art. There are times where our human call center representatives aren’t available. Clevertar offers a product that for us humanizes service, even when there isn’t a real person available.

Clevertar offers a conversational AI virtual agent with a friendly face that we call grace or welcome to the let’s be mates podcast. Tanya, Matt, thanks for joining us. Glad to have you guys on board.

Tanya: Thanks.

Matt: Thanks guys. Great to be here.

Faz: It’s great. It’s a beautiful day outside. We’re talking to some beautiful people.

What can’t be any better right now

Dom: for our listeners. I guess if you can give us a bit of a background of who you are and what you’ve done and, and what your role is, it Clevertar as

Tanya: well.

Alright. Well, thank you. Okay, well, I’ll, I’ll let you know who I am on Tanya Newhouse on, CEO and co founder of Clevertar.

and, yeah, just want to just say again, I’m really stoked to be here. Thanks for having us. And this is Matt,

Matt: Matt Francis. I’m the solutions manager at Clevertar and been with the company for. Almost six years now, not quite at its inception, but pretty, pretty soon after. and yeah, really excited.

Love what you guys do. And,

Bosco: and so tell us a bit about Clevertar guy. So what exactly is clever tar? What does it do? And what’s the mission of your business? All

Tanya: right. Well, perhaps a lot to that, given them, given what i do at Clevertar Clevertar began with me and a pot plant, you know, as a, as a small business now we’ve, much bigger than that and do lots of work with lots of businesses.

but what we do is our mission. What we really aim to do is extend the customer service, of the businesses that we work with. So, a lot of. A lot of our customers have contact centers where they’re supporting, thousands of customers. And, and what we want to do is really extend the reach of that contact center through a digital channel.

And so we have these things called virtual agents, or some people call them chatbots, but ours, have a face and a voice and virtual agents, can help people, help customers deal with issues. And. And problems and solve them in the, I guess, in the comfort of their own home, on the D on the web.

Faz: Beautiful. And I think I relate to the story a lot, because you mentioned you started the business from, from yourselfand a pot plant. Right. and I think if you look at our story as well as similar, right. We, you know, my brother David, my identical twin brother, David. Yes. There’s two of us. Yes. And it’s scary.

And yes, we’re both bald and yes, we both have beads. All right. So you can’t get any more identical than that. But, we, you know, David had the idea of tackling the NBN market when normal, not the big guys weren’t tackling because you know, the ADSL  was making. Far more margin than the NBN was. And we literally started in my auntie’s backyard next to my uncle had a goat in the backyard.

Right. So not a pot plant, but I will say, we’ll say it’s next to a goat. Right. And so, and obviously we’re much bigger today and as you guys as well, so the story really resonates with us. And, you know, I guess if we took it, if we took take away away from Clevertar for the moment, but how has the journey been personally for you, Tanya, from when you started the business to where you are today?

How have you. You know, I mean, there’s obviously, you know, everybody makes mistakes along the way everybody gets frustrated. Everybody feels defeated at some point. Talk about a bit of your journey from when you started to where you are now.

Tanya: No, thanks. I really appreciate that. well look, it wasn’t just me.

It was me right at the beginning, but I’ll tell you how we started it. I, research direct Flinders university. So I was working at Flinders at the time and their commercialization arm. And, I met a researcher there whose name Martin, and he’s actually my cofounder. and he was, doing, researching to how humans communicate so that you can improve human machine communication.

So he’s actually from the artificial intelligence lab at Flinders university. and he has a PhD in machine learning, you know, and he, and he was showing me some of this stuff that he was doing, which was using, the virtual characters to interact with people instead of just text on the screen. And what he was telling me was just absolutely fascinating that when people engage with a virtual character, they tend to respond to that character a little bit more like when you respond to a real human.

So this is what use is in places like. Health. And in fact, we did a lot of work in the early days in health, where if a virtual person asks you to do some exercise, you’re actually more likely to do exercise cause you don’t want to disappoint them. Yeah. So we. So we actually started in a different way to a lot of businesses where we started with a technology and then had to figure out where the best application for that technology was rather than saying, here’s a problem that I’m going to solve.

We actually started with this almost like a solution to that was in terms of my own journey. That was actually really hard because we spent quite a long time figuring out where that best application actually was. And although we had some pretty early success in health, what we found is that the health business doesn’t support this type of tech yet.

it’s, it’s really just not ready for it. whereas, a lot places like yours where, you’re able to think, Ahead of the game. we’re actually open and willing to, to try to, at, at scale. And so the difficult part of our journey was really finding out the home the best, the best home for our solution.

so yeah, that, that was the hard bit, but we’re there. We’ve got it.

Faz: Yeah. And you make some valid points around you. So you sort of, you found what you did, you found where you feel that your product is going to get the best return or be the best value, right. To the, to the people that you work with. Right.

And I guess that’s how we decided to target our business. Right? When we talk about sales and marketing, when we talk about, you know, we’re not, every company is not for everybody, right. And we know. You know, we, we, we know we appeal to different people and we offer a level of service that, that works for different types of people as well.

And I think it’s, it’s, very powerful for business owners to understand that, right, because then you’re not wasting your time. You’re, you’re not wasting your money and you’re not, and you’re not wasting resources and your business to deliver something that people don’t want. Right. And I think that’s an, I always say, I think the reason why I feel that we’ve been successful at Mate is because we, we know we’re very open about what we don’t know.

And we’re very open about where, where we don’t want to go or what we feel. It doesn’t make sense to our business as well. And that keeps us on track in the right space. And yeah.

Dom: The way we see our customers interact with and ask questions of our, virtual agent. Grace is very different to, you know, if it was just a chat bot in your type, very short, leading answer questions too.

So yeah, it’s really interesting that that happens. people, more people obviously act differently, but are they more inclined to go further down a path with a virtual agent versus a normal

chat bot?

Tanya: Yeah, can I actually respond to that with a story? So, since we’ve been working with you guys and I really love what you do, I decided to become a customer of Mate myself.

Then I told my husband, you should also sign up and I forgot the $50 voucher, which I forgot to. I forgot to claim it. But anyway, I forgot that. But anyway, I told Andrew you’ve got to sign up as well. So he did, and it was after hours one night when he was wondering what to do and any Hispanic. And what happened, I was in the study all doing some work.

He was on his computer. And I, I turn over and I see him and he’s brought grace up and he’s asking questions like, when am I going to get my Sim Card. And I thought,

you know, when your own products in use by your own husband,

Bosco: he got the

answer

at the end of getting the answer.

Faz: card is activated. That’s all. What matters in the

end?

Tanya: yeah, so I guess the answer is, and also by the way, my husband’s not particularly technologically brilliant.  and this is actually true. but yeah, he can do with Grace and actually ask the questions and get to the, and so I guess in short, yes.

Faz: Well, I mean, let’s, let’s talk about why we’ve engaged Clevertar at mate, and what let’s talk about the project that we’ve done there today, to date.

Right. And, you know, one of the things that. We we were trying to solve was, you know, our business is not 24 hours right now. We haven’t got 24 hour support. We haven’t got somebody answering the phone 24 hours and that’s because we want our team to live their life at some, some way shape or form. Cause I spent, we spent, you know, pretty much our whole week here and we obviously open Saturdays as well.

And and. We obviously want to support customers that want it to be a mate or a customer of ours in after hours, times as well. And this is where this whole conversation started. And we didn’t. I mean, when you, when you grow as a business, you don’t always have the money and the resource ready to have a business that’s open 24 seven.

you know, and there’s, there’s a lot of things that we need to do as we mature as a business. And one of the things that we wanted to focus on is after housr support, you know, Where, what will people missing? How could we support them? we know there’s a need. We know people come from all different places, all walks of life and do things very differently, right.

And people want to consume information and get access in their time, in their place, the way they want. And. And one thing, the only thing that we, we knew during business hours, right? We had it covered, we had people on the phone, we had our, you know, live chat that was manned by real people. We had, you know, Facebook messenger.

We had all these contact points for people, which was good, but after hours is a challenge and don’t forget advertising doesn’t stop after hours. Right. We can’t go to a Google ad and say stop or, or go to a billboard and say, don’t turn, don’t turn on between, you know, from. Eight til or eight in the morning.

And so we need to keep the conversation going and that’s where the Clevertar platform came in. A project came in. And I think, yeah, and from our side it made a lot of sense. Right. We, we had somebody that was, we had a virtual agent that was visual. Right. And so we’ve got grace, we call her grace.

That’s actually my mom’s name. I’m not sure if you knew where that came from. Grace. Yeah. So my, my GRA Grace is my mom’s name. And, and so she takes care of everybody in the business and the, you know, like literally today we’re in the office today and she lives around the corner and she’s bringing lunch for everybody.

Right. And so the whole point of grace was that grace takes care of everybody. Right. And so. Hence why we call it our, by a conversational virtual agent, grace, that’s where that came from. And so it became very visual. grace on the virtual agent wears her mate shirt, you know, and you know, the, the voices is very local and, you know, very, it’s very human as well.

and the ability to put the, the magnitude of needs in selling NBN into a virtual agent. So if you think about it, when you connect to NBN, you need to know what type of technology, you know, then that technology that drives what they call a service class. And that service class drive is a timeframe when you can connect it.

And that service class determines is it a, is it a remote connection? It is a, is it a, somebody needs to come out. And then you need to work out. Okay. What type of hardware do you got? Is it, do you have, is the hardware right for your connection and so on and so forth? And so you could imagine all the different, I guess, journeys a consumer could take would that needs to be driven by, not a non-human after hours and that’s okay.

Where the Clevertar platform allows us to feed that in. And I don’t know if you guys want to elaborate on that and what we’ve done with Clevertar there, because I feel like what we do is probably quite in depth and, there’s a lot of different paths and a lot to like, if you wanna talk about,

Dom: maybe Matt can sort of jump in and talk through the process of that we went through, but what I and other business would go through as well, too, from very start to getting grace on their grace equivalent on online.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. yeah. Well look, I mean, the, the installation that we’ve got with grace has been, probably from a personal point of view. the one that I’m probably the most passionate about, I’ve really enjoyed. And I would say ms. Really enjoyed working with the main team, I think because there is quite a synergy in what are you guys represent and, you know, your, your core values and how we operate as well.

you know what you’re really trying to, to break down something that’s a complex task. If someone goes to, you know, get their, their NBN input, or we’ve got another project we’re working with government where it’s bonds and tendencies and housing matters,

Faz: you know, the quiet,

Matt: like can be quite cold topics.

Faz: Yeah.

Matt: And if you’ve got somebody there with a nice face and they can hold your hands for that process and talk to you, then you know, it can be a fantastic experience. And that’s, that’s really what we’re about. And I guess starting out with you guys, this has really taken an organic process over the last six months, and we’ve continued to build on that and improve things as we’ve gone, based on, you know, looking at real world data and that’s, that is the best way to.

To work out what’s what’s working and what isn’t. but starting out with you guys, it was looking at what are people coming to after hours in terms of what are their main support issues? and how can we. Try to have Grace for the most part, help them to solve those issues. And example might be, you know, my modem stopped working.

and I, I haven’t got any internet and it’s walking them through, a first level support call. and really that was, that was one thing that became quite clear was that, you know, for a vast majority of the content that people ring up for, there is a process that can take place where, you know, you could script it out.

but, obviously it does become quite complex quite quickly sometimes. And, that’s certainly something that we’re very careful of is that we don’t ever think that, what we do can ever completely replace a call center or a human support team, you know, Human issues are often very complex. and for that reason, you need to have people on the front line, I able to deal with them.

So, but what we’re doing is, is looking to take away the load that gets put on that call center by answering those first level support questions where you might be able to have a two or three minute chat with grace or any other bot, and then be able to walk away and go, actually, I saw, I solved that myself.

So going back to the start of the question, how do we start out? Where we look at areas that we. that, that an organization is currently feeling the pressure of, so where are they are experiencing pain? you know, for lack of a better word. So in your case, it was that people are coming to with, with lots of technical problems.

So, we go through a process of scripting out a base program, and then really trying to get it out into the markets. As quickly as we can. so that we can then look at the way that users are interacting with that and optimize the system. So I’m looking at a six months journey. We started out doing majority support type information and helping people with those types of issues, but weaving that incorporated natural language, understanding, you know, the ability for users to talking questions.

And you touched on that earlier in the conversation Faz, and I guess that’s. Been important because it gives not only the ability for Grace to be able to respond intelligently, but also for you guys to be able to see, types of businesses insights that you might not ordinarily have access to. you’ve got the real voice of the customer.

They’re what are they actually going with? It? 11 o’clock at night within Netflix has stopped working. how are they feeling about that? What are they trying to get solved? and we’ve been able to use that data then analyze it and say, well, like I, we need to incorporate this feature or we think we could expand that into a different arra and completely, and I guess that’s what we’re working on.

Now. We’re looking at, how we can best optimize Grace to continue to have her deliver a great service to your, to your customers.

Faz: Yeah. And you, you speak about the part where, you’re trying to get grace to alleviate some of the load, right. And especially in, in our world. w one thing that we don’t want to do is outsource our call center to a different country right. Now,

and it’s not that the call centers. in different countries are bad, is it that they’re not managed properly in our opinion? And hence how much can you train somebody on an ongoing basis, right. And how much access do you have to them? And what we’ve sent during the COVID period is the lack of support because of, you know, call centers, closing down and things like that.

And so we’re not going to go away from keeping our support on shore. Right. But on that, but as we grow as a business, there’s more demand on support, right. And the, the money you make, doesn’t always. Warrant the, the, the investment in resources. Right? And so you always have to have the right balance of investing in more, pick more heads versus, you know, you know, how many customers you get and things like that.

And what, what grace and I know we’re working on this and, you know, future phases is to how do we could implement. Grace it’s to take that first initial step to try and take away a percentage of the load, because there might be a simple question. Like how do I take my credit card or, Oh, how do I know where to find out how much data I’ve used and things like that.

And grace is a very simple way of achieving that. Right. and, and so I think that’s. That’s the way we’re looking at it and not to give all our secrets away to our competitors as well. but I mean, I think that’s, that’s a real big element of it. I mean, Ross, you’re, you’re heavy in support. Right. And supporting us important.

I mean, how, how great would it be that, you know, a conversational bot could answer a bunch of questions, before he even got to you?

Bosco: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I think, I think that is a key in what you, what you touched on Matt was taking away. Some of the pain points, I mean, not necessarily even pain points, just, just giving the customer another.

another option basically. So, you know, if you can go online and get your question answered, then you’re not going to call. and then it’s another, it’s another call, call that can be saved. And obviously we can then tend to another call. So, anything that obviously cuts down on, on support the load in the support team, in the call center, is, is obviously really beneficial for us as a business.

And I think, you know, even though it was initially a trial, I think it’s worked really well. with grace. I mean, as you mentioned, we’re not open 24 seven and. Whereas other call centers who are overseas have probably the option of going 24 seven. It’s not something we can financially afford to do.

And I, you know, we’re sticking to our values. We want, we want a hundred percent local support. And to do that, we can’t really be open 24 seven. So I think this is a good way and I’m not look, I know a lot of other businesses probably have, things like AI chatbots and things like that. But I don’t know if there’s another competitor in our space that has something similar.

Probably not that I don’t think there is from what I’ve seen, but

Faz: it’s probably a good leading question for you guys. Right? I mean, what do you see the advantages of Clevertar versus maybe some other AI bots that are out there at the moment, maybe, give a bit of insight to that, to our, to our listeners.

Tanya: Hmm. Well, I think one of the key things, I’m really glad you asked that is that, we, you know, obviously we use a virtual character, so that’s, that’s a. Very much part of our product. and, because that’s really how origins as I was telling you before. But the ELA thing is that we might hit really easy to create a virtual agent.

So, we have a really, it’s an end-to-end system. So as you know, it’s only a couple of lines of JavaScript that gets inserted onto your website. And, we host it, we do the rest, And we have a portal so that you can create your own view, your own content and reports and things like that as well. So we’re an “as a service” provider, so you don’t have to have coders on board who can actually create the bots, or you don’t have to, put different services together to try to create, you know, it’s basically an end to end solution.

So it just kind of really fits. I I’m a provider like myself who. Just wants to put a solution in and focus on what you do best, which is the content. That’s what you do, you know, what your customers need and what we can do is create a way of delivering it. yeah,

so that’s what we do

Matt: by the same token though.

We don’t, No, we certainly don’t make it so that our customers are relying on us to make changes either way. you know, we, we hand the keys over, so to speak in and train them in how to use, you know, our portal and how to make changes so that, if I do need to jump on late at night and make a script change because some sort of crisis has happened, I can do so quite easily.

So, that’s a pretty key part of what we do.

Faz: Have

Dom: you seen any customers or even. I don’t know whether even this is a good experience, but using a nonhuman, I only put only one I can think of say St George bank using their dragon. Like is, do you think that that’s still relatable or do you think that loses some of that connection?

Tanya: Actually it’s pretty good. you don’t have to have a human, because there’s, there’s actually good. research theory behind this, basically we anthropomorphized these characters, so our characters quite stylized very deliberately. but you could do the same thing with a, with a dog or a dragon or other characters or, you know, a microphone or it could actually anthropomorphize Eddie.

Any kind of, any kind of thing, but you know, if you see a face, it just kind of makes sense that you’re dealing probably with, with a support person. So that’s what we’ve tended to do. but yeah, there’s options. You could think about something else if you

Faz: wanted to. No, I mean, it might be, I was always thinking about an in different seasonal periods or different, and I was even thinking on, is it a may eight?

Is that the star Wars day? What state or may. May the fourth be with you, that’s it. Sorry. I’m not can tell them I’m not a star Wars fan, but I’m, you know, if that could, on that day be in a darth Vada or something  or storm tooper or something like that would be pretty cool. Right? I think that’s, I think relevant and, and seasonalities drives a big thing.

And if we talk about. You know how our world works right. In, in, in retail. And when you sell to consumers, they, there are buying cycles in the year that drive them. Right. There’s you know, right now we have in the tax time and what they call toy sale, right? When toy sale, everybody goes into the store, lay-buys everything for Christmas.

Maybe it’s not so big anymore from a lay-by perspective because people buy online and you’ve got after pay and all these different things. But he does a lot of those. There’s a lot of seasonality, especially in Australia that people buy at certain times for certain reasons, which is, which is good. Yeah.

From that point of view, you

Tanya: know what, that’s a great idea. I think, I think we’re doing our product development publicly here, but we could add, we could definitely add a Christmas hat towards Christmas.

Faz: Yeah, absolutely. The brief was probably coming

Bosco: little touches like that. Just make it a bit more personal.

So I think anything like that.

Faz: Yeah. And we talk a lot of feedback. We’ll talk about a lot about personal service and customization and things like that. And I think that’s, that’s, that’s key. Right. And I think one thing that Clevertar has  enabled us to do not only give the information, but. Put it in our tone of voice as well, when we’re not there.

That’s, that’s huge. Like, you know, if you know our brand we’re about being Mates through about being, you know, dumbing it down and being simple and getting straight to the point and making sure that everybody feels like they’re at home when they’re, then they’re there in our world and our space. And I think a Clevertar allows us to achieve that as well.

It’s

Dom: probably a good segue, but where do you guys see sort of the next evolution of this going, or, you know, Is the market responding in a certain way that you need to change the way you guys do a business? Like what’s in say 2025. What are we looking at from an AI perspective?

Tanya: It’s really extending the, Applications of this sort of technology.

So the technology will definitely change as AI, gets better, but it’s probably more about application. So, you know, you guys are actually a good example of this. So you started working with. Support. So it was mainly around support for, you know, as, as Matt said, the first level support call. And then I remember there was a point when your sales team said, hang on a sec, people are talking to grace about sales, about, you know, what plans right for me.

And, let’s explore that a bit further. And, and so just having Grace as a sales assistant, as well as a support assistant. And so that’s. That’s something that the market learns, you know, in an evolutionary, way he wants to have started using, using the technology. And I think that’s what we’re going to find.

We’re going to find a lot more varied and different applications of, of this kind of. Technology. I think that’s going to be one of the key things that will change.

Matt: I think they’ll become a lot more commonplace as well. I think that’s the key there. I mean, I think chatbots in general, getting to be quite common place now.

certainly web chat has been around for a while and that’s been increasing in popularity, but. Automated conversational bots. I certainly something that you’re seeing pop up on more websites, and I think a natural extension of that is when you put a face to that. So, putting, putting a face and having a 3D character speak to you with a personality, I think he’s going to be saying that by 2025, it’s going to be certainly tenfold more than, than what you’re seeing

Faz: in that

Dom: two way.

Voice. Alexa and Siri, and not at the moment, do you think that’s going to become something where you can literally just talk to this person and they’ll

respond?

Tanya: Absolutely. Yeah. We had that in a, well, we’ve got some prototypes happening ourselves, so yeah, there’s absolutely. Say it once again, stay tuned.

Faz: Well, we’ll definitely get you back on at another point and like voice for me, it’s becoming an everyday thing, right? I mean, I don’t even turn my lights on at the switch anymore. I talk to them. So, you know, if it’s dark, you get home. And when he’s finished in this business, you go home really late and then.

And when I get home, my, I say it to my phone before I even drive in the driveway and the lights are on when I get in. It’s pretty, I know you can set it, you know, automation as well, but it’s just the, just the powerfulness around all of that stuff. Right. It’s, it’s crazy. And you know, people always come over and say, well, what the hell do you, you know, what do you need the tool to speak, to turn your it turn on your lights.

Why don’t you just flip the switch? But last year I tore my Achilles and I, I don’t know if you guys remember. I don’t know. Yeah. So I was in a boot. Right. And so. I’m so getting to a light switch was hard work. And so I could easily say, Hey, Google is telling the kitchen lights. And so, and all these different things.

So, I mean, I guess you don’t need, you don’t know what you need in towards, until you experience it, you know what you need it, but until you experience something that you’ve never experienced before, and then you realize how it can fit into your world. And I think that’s the same. That’s what we say.at Mate as well.

Like we feel like that. Okay. We don’t offer anything revolutionary compared to other people, but the way we do it, Ease once you experienced it, we feel like that that’s an experience that you have never had before. And that’s, that’s something that you get that’s unique to us. And, and I think about the same way with what you guys offer as well.

Right. And, yeah, and I mean, talk about other customers and I know we’ve spoken about Telco and we spoken about MATE, but I mean, I know you’re doing a project with, SA health, right? South Australia health. what are the, the, the different things that has a Clevertar powered in that world?

Matt: Yeah.

Well, I’ll give you a bit of background. the SA health projects. So this all came about as a result of COVID-19, and. SA health being South Australia’s government health authority. We’re getting absolutely slammed with customer inquiries, the public’s inquiries, but with basically panic as it is around the world, you know, panic at that early stage, especially around what’s what’s going to happen.

What are the, what are the issues? How do I get tested? where can I go? What can I do all those things? And, you know, their website traffic went absolutely through the roof and. this was,

yeah, that’s right. That’s right. And, as you mentioned, you know, this is another channel, so we offered another, another channel for people to be able to communicate with Zoe.

So Zoe is the, the character that they chose and they chose Zoe. Similar nice meaning as, as your one with Grace and your mum, Zoe is the great meaning for life. and it’s a nice, easy name to say. And, they, they chose Zoey and she’s on the website answering questions about COVID-19. So I’ve started off as quite a small framework.

Similar to you guys in that we took a, an MVP approach, but that was really pushed because we wanted to get something out into the public stage as quick as we could. and we were able to turn that around. So we get something live with them within six days, which was an effort that we’re really quite proud of.

and that was, we took a basic flow chart of all the things that you. That did a user. If they came in and I come frominterstate and what they have to do, do they have to quarantine for 14 days to that to not go to work. All of those things, we prototyped that into a nice little program. and then over the next three months, we’ve continued to add to that basically in line with the changing conditions of COVID-19, but also incorporating other technologies and seeing the way that the public are responding and the sort of questions they’re asking Zoe and expanding the content accordingly.

Faz: That’s a perfect example of where it works so well when you have such an influx, I mean, we had an influx of customers as well, and, you know, COVID Ctype here drove such demand for all different types of services. And I think businesses are reevaluating now that we’ve sort of. I wouldn’t say we’re out of COVID yet, but we’re sort of coming to the end of the mass panic.

Right. you know, we saw people, stockpiling internet and mobile is just like toilet paper. Right. And there was that many people coming in and I guess it’s because it wasn’t essential service. People were working from home, doing schooling from home. So connectivity was, was massive. Right. And so, but at the same time, we need to make sure our team was mobilized at home and working properly, as well as keeping the same level of service.

And then we saw. Our competitors go out, out the market, right. Because they’re call centres closed down for a week. He couldn’t get in touch with them. And I mean, just go, I’m just thinking about that. I mean, not only is the, you know, the clever top program or conversational AI, virtual agents important for the everyday, but when it comes to those situation, it keeps your business running.

Right? I mean, some of our competitors, if they had invested in this type of technology, like Clevertar. Their business would have kept running and delivering, maybe not everything they needed, but you know, there would’ve been a good chunk of the percentage of what people asking about would have been solved and they could have seen as open when they potentially weren’t.

Right. And so it’s another thing that they need to think about, right. I mean, have you, have you seen that type of conversation come from different people that you’ve spoken to since COVID has started. Yeah,

Tanya: thanks for that intro. Cause you points absolutely spot on. We had an, we had another customer who had to shut their contact center down for a couple of days and they were really pleased because I knew they had Claire they’re ready for their customers.

And I add for them, it was just like this service could continue, you know, obviously not to the same level and not. The queries that grace, sorry, Claire, in this case couldn’t handle. And you know, that’s something that still got an essential service available. so, your, what you’ve talked about actually happens, that’s absolutely valid what you’re saying.

Faz: I just think more and more businesses need to be smarter, right? we always say work, work smarter, not harder. Right. And I think this is something that your product allows businesses to do. I think if there’s challenges that are out of the norm, your product picks up the Slack as well, in that case.

And, there’s just so many benefits and I think people need to open their eyes to new technologies and, and things like this that, that can really benefit your business in a lot of ways that you probably never even affordable from the past. Yeah.

Dom: And so, you know, a lot of our listeners out there is probably a struck a few chords and they’re realizing that they have a gap to fill.

How’s the best way to get started with you guys and have a chat.

Tanya: well look, the first thing that we want to do just to continue from what Matt said earlier is, find out where the biggest pain point is. So is it a situation where an automated or an AI driven conversation can support you? You know, If there’s not a strong value, you know, we can’t make a big impact.

We actually don’t want to do those projects. So we only want to work with customers where there’s, where we can actually really make impact. so the first thing that we would do is sit down and actually do some investigation of what the, what the applications are, where the needs are. And then really look at a business case is that it doesn’t stack up.

and then moved to an M as Matt said, Move to an MVP, which can happen pretty quickly. And then, so it’s test evaluate, optimize, test evaluate, and we just do that continuing and, actually we’ve implemented agile process for content development as well. Matt’s in charge of that. So we’re really, we really take a, a partnership, actually, a partnership approach with our customers.

so yeah, I don’t know if that answers the question. I think what do we do first? We’ll just get in touch and then we’ll go from there.

Hit our website at Clevertar.com And that’s probably the easiest.

Dom: We’ll put those details in our show notes anyway. So anyone who’s interested can now scroll down and hit the link.

Faz: Awesome. Well, Tanya, Matt, it’s really been great having you guys on. Thank you very much for joining us. I think what we’ll do, we’re working on a new phase of Clevertar or grace as we call her.

I mean our business and I think what we’ll do, we’ll get you on at a later time. Once we implement that as well, and, and talk about the benefits that’s happened with that. love to hear about some of the stories that are, and the projects that you’re working on after. So I think this, this is to be continued this conversation.

Matt: Thank you very much.

Faz: No worries. Thanks.

Tanya: Thanks guys.

Bosco: Thanks for listening to the let’s be mates podcast by the team at mate. Search

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Faz: See you soon, mate.