operative intelligence helps contact centers figure out what customers really need

A company may have a good contact center, but ideally they are able to help customers before they need to make a call. Operative Intelligence helps contact centers figure out what customers want more quickly, improving automated inquiries and cutting down on wait times. The Melbourne and Los Angeles-based startup announced today it has raised $3.5 million in seed funding led by Bonfire Ventures with participation from Wonder Ventures.

Operative Intelligence was founded in 2019 by brothers Peter and James Ianesk, who have spent 25 years working in customer service and contact centers.

More than 10 years ago, James developed a methodology to find out why customers were calling a large Australian health insurer. At that time, contact center systems didn’t have that information, so James came up with a manual system to analyze thousands of Post-It notes transcribed by contact center representatives from customer calls. Those notes were analyzed by a team using the “5 Whys” system for finding the root cause of a problem. As a result, James was able to help that contact center increase its net promoter score 5x.

The brothers continued to work on their method with high-growth tech companies and three years ago, started looking for a way to turn it into a software system.

“What we found 10 years on was that all the contact centers we had worked in continued to experience the same problems and there still wasn’t a solution in the market that surfaced the type of insight that contact centers and businesses need to better meet the needs of their customers at scale,” Peter, Operative Intelligence’s CEO, told TechCrunch.

Operative Intelligence gives contact centers data about why their customers are contacting them without the need to spend time shifting through different sources of data. The fully automated platform analyzes customer inquiries through several channels, including phone calls, emails, chat, web requests, social media, online reviews and customer warranty requests. Then it delivers reports on the root causes of why customers are contacting businesses.

Its platform also breaks down customer inquiries into prioritized lists. One details customer pain points and what they cost the business each year in service costs. Another one is of inquiries that can be completed through self service and its potential ROI. Operative Intelligence also produces reports on contact center performance by site, team and inquiries, and agent effectiveness by inquiry type.

One of Operative Intelligence’s customers used its data to prioritize fixing customer issues over deploying new features, which James said resulted in a 32% reduction in their call volume and a seven figure reduction in service cost. Another moved more than half of their call volume into digital channels and reduced the time spent on phone calls by 23%, using best practices identified by Operative Intelligence.

The startup’s main competitors include NICE Nexidia, CallMiner and Call Journey. James said Operative Intelligence differentiates as the only platform that can automatically identify the root cause of a customer inquiry, requiring no model training or business tagging of data and having an ROI built into its insights. It can be deployed by a business in two weeks.

In a statement about Bonfire Ventures’ investment, managing director Mark Mullen said, “James and Peter have built an intuitive solution to improve the customer experience at a time when needs are heightened. We look forward to their next moves to utilize AI technology to reshape an untapped space.”

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