DeviceBits is a relative newcomer on the software solution scene. Founded in 2015, the Columbus, Ohio–based software company looks to change the way businesses provide customer support to their end users and increase customer retention by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and predictive analytics.
“It’s really an extension of the omnichannel investments that organizations are making around sales and marketing into customer support,” said DeviceBits CEO JC Ramey. “Companies have focused a lot of the effort in that transformation on acquiring customers, but not as much has been spent on retention.”
DeviceBits provides a software suite of products that target the channels where customers want to be served and have their support needs met. This can present a challenge to companies, especially as the number of online channels continues to grow.
“Customers are looking for support where they’re spending time,” Ramey noted. “Oftentimes, that is on their mobile device or on social networks, on company websites and email.”
The challenge for companies becomes how to consistently serve consumer needs in an increasing number of channels while maintaining a consistent experience and still building consumer knowledge and data. DeviceBits achieves both with its software solutions, which Ramey noted is two distinct products.
The first, called Academy, is a consumer- and internal-facing, self-learning knowledge base of customer support content. Academy provides contact information if users need to call, message or chat about their issues. It also features integratable interactive tutorial guides, videos and adaptive FAQs for products.
The self-learning aspect is key, said Ramey, for a number of reasons. The AI scores the effectiveness and relevance of content, minimizing the amount of time that an agent needs to spend with customers or the customer needs to spend in messengers or chats to resolve issues.
For call-ins, this can work to increase first-call resolution as well as reduce the amount of time representatives need to spend with each customer, which Ramey said can translate to some serious return on investment (ROI).
“For some organizations, every minute on the phone can cost them anywhere from $4 to $12,” he said. “When you have an organization with 10,000 agents handling 70 million calls a year, it builds a very quick ROI.”
The second product, called Support Predict, builds off of DeviceBits’ curated knowledge base in Academy, from public sources and prior consumer interactions, said Ramey, to predict, evaluate, score and surface support content based on user demographics and data.
The more calls and messages that come in and get resolved, the more the system learns and optimizes, further speeding up the process the next time around.
“With Support Predict, we channel the data to provide a more personalized experience for that customer and getting them to that resolution faster,” Ramey said.
Today, DeviceBits’ three largest markets are in telecommunications, financial services and retail. The company’s largest client is TracFone, which Ramey referenced in an example of how DeviceBits can benefit an enterprise client.
“Not only are there 18,000 agents enabled to use us, but we’ve also built automation into Alexa, we built automation into messaging bots and chat bots to serve their clients, and we are learning all the time from all of those different channels,” he said.
DeviceBits works on the product end as well. For TracFone, this comes in the form of shortcode on the item packaging that allowing potential customers to access how-to guides before buying.
“It becomes an important metric when you’re talking about consumer goods,” Ramey said, “especially for companies like GoPro or FitBit — companies with high-cost return rates. Anything they can do to educate the buyer before they make the purchase and unpackaging that device leaves them a significant amount of value.”
The same principle applies for DeviceBits’ client Careem, the taxi-hailing app and competitor to Uber in the Middle East. Careem uses DeviceBits’ Academy solution as one way to onboard and retain customers, Ramey said.
“It gets the customer familiar and comfortable with the application, and they collect those metrics to see where the user might be struggling or looking for help,” said Ramey. “That way they can make improvements in the next release.”
For the future of customer service, Ramey doesn’t see channel proliferation dying down anytime soon. What may soon change, he said, is how organizations view their customer base.
“A lot of these markets are very saturated today,” he said. “They’re swapping customers. The focus on acquisition will shift to retention — there’s a significant benefit to the organization of keeping their customers.”