Toronto's IntelliResponse quietly provides virtual agent technology for big businesses.
We say "quietly," because chances are you haven't heard of them. Yet many of biggest brands in Canada and the US trust their customer experience management and online self-service needs to IntelliResponse—including some of the nation's biggest banks such as RBC, CIBC and TD, as well as well known consumer brands like Charter, Virgin and Kobo.
With IntelliResponse's virtual agent technology (think Siri for the enterprise), corporate websites, mobile apps, social media channels and agent desktops can all be transformed by an engaging virtual concierge that delivers instant answers to customer questions using natural, conversational language.
"You could say it's a win-win scenario for both our clients and the end consumer," said David Lloyd, CEO of IntelliResponse. "Today’s customer demands instant access to information and often their journey for answers begins online, so our Virtual Agent technology empowers them to get answers when and where they choose, while also reducing service costs for the organization and relieving strain on the contact center."
IntelliResponse is not your typical startup, however. The company has been around since 2000. Its current incarnation is an evolution of their original business, which was focused on higher education. Expansion into the corporate market, combined with the explosion of online, mobile and social customer service needs have resulted in significant growth for this Toronto based company, particularly over the past 24 months.
In 2009, Mr. Lloyd became the CEO. He's responsible for company’s strategic direction and driving growth. And while IntelliResponse hasn't abandoned their educational roots, Lloyd has placed a big bet on the corporate market, the increasing consumer demand for great online service, and perhaps above all, the transformation of their unique analytics data into true voice of the customer.
“IntelliResponse is a perfect example of a hidden gem in the Canadian technology industry," affirms KPMG's Christopher Chapman. "David and his team have built a solution to a problem in self-service customer care which many have promised to solve but few have delivered on. At the same time, they have built a solid company and culture setting themselves up for sustainable growth in US and international markets.”
"We feel we have an enormous opportunity here, an opportunity to elevate online service technology beyond the status quo," adds Lloyd. "Virtual agent software solutions like ours take in literally millions of questions for a customer, each posed in the true voice of the customer. There is unbelievable value in this big unstructured data, if you can extract it and present it in a way that is useful to the organization. Our unique ability to harness, analyze and communicate this value to clients is a game changer for us."
This approach is paying off: IntelliResponse has more than 360 live customer-facing implementations answering hundreds of millions of questions annually.
As an example of their success, IntelliResponse client Kobo was recently recognized for their online self-service solution. Using IntelliResponse's tools, Kobo was able to reduce customer service effort during their peak season, where they saw a 700% increase in web traffic but only a 4% increase in call center volume. Their customers were able to self-serve on Kobo’s website and one their Vox eReader and receive answers to their questions.
Customer success stories like this have got IntelliResponse on the radar of more than just potential clients. Lloyd visits Silicon Valley regularly to tap into the Canadian-friendly C100 network and has been able to connect with like-minded partners and potential investors. “The C100 has provided us with a unique opportunity to connect with potential partners and investors in the valley. In order to drive the success of IntelliResponse in North America and beyond, it is critical to have visibility in Silicon Valley as it is a core ecosystem. The C100 provides that exposure.”
Unlike a lot of the startups that participate in the C100's 48Hours in the Valley event, IntelliResponse isn't necessarily focused on raising a series A round or moving to the Valley. They're happy growing their North American business from their Toronto headquarters. "Although our team members live and work across North America, if you aspire to build a globally relevant technology company, Toronto can be a great home base" says Lloyd. "We have found exceptional talent, a strong base of like minded peer companies, and a receptive investment community here in Toronto."
The article was sponsored by KPMG Canada and is part of a series of interviews conducted by Techvibes with CEOs of Canada's Top Startups.