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Paweł Lipiński, Talkie: “we’re on a mission to democratize conversational AI and make it accessible to companies around the globe”

There were times when standing in long lines to register for a doctor’s appointment or just check your package status was the only possible way. It sure was hard to wait, but to properly serve that many customers was even harder.

Thankfully, all that changed with the help of technology. Incredibly accurate AI bots and voice assistants significantly lowered cost rates and waiting time changed beyond recognition. Today all of that is just a few clicks away 24/7, no matter where you are or what language you speak.

Today, Paweł Lipiński, an expert on AI-powered assistants and CEO of Talkie, will enlighten us about what new challenges were brought by the latest global events, what online security measures should never be forgotten, and much more.

Let’s go back to the very beginning of Talkie. Can you tell us more about your journey?

Talkie.ai was created in 2018 as a spinoff of Pragmatists, a software house with over 30 international clients. I was a founder and CEO at Pragmatists. Myself, Ada Andruszkiewicz, and Wojciech Przechodzeń started Talkie.ai because we see huge market potential for voice contact center automation. I became CEO at Talkie.ai, with Ada as our Head of Product, and Wojciech as our Head of Technology.

The Talkie platform was initially built to answer Jean Louis David’s (a large hair salon chain) call center’s needs to automate their booking system. Twelve years of experience creating software solutions proved incredibly useful during the early days of developing our product.

Since then, Talkie.ai has become an independent company but still takes from Pragmatists’ knowledge and expertise. Pragmatists was purchased by Snowflake last year.

Can you introduce us to what you do? How is AI incorporated into your platform?

Talkie.ai’s main product is a voice assistant platform that enables businesses to automate transactional and informational processes at their contact or call centers with business-ready voice AI.

Callers can interact naturally with our voice AI and the voice AI can understand caller intent with an almost human degree of accuracy, no matter how the caller chooses to express themselves or in which language they prefer to speak.

Apart from speech-to-text translation and text-to-speech synthesis, our AI uses state-of-the-art natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language processing (NLP) technologies to create a voice experience that feels comfortable and natural for humans to interact with. We also use numerous machine learning-based algorithms to enhance the AI’s capabilities and thus caller experience.

In your opinion, which industries would greatly benefit from implementing AI voice solutions?

We work with a wide range of industries including healthcare, insurance, logistics, finance, travel and hospitality, and retail. Any company that runs a contact center can benefit from our voice AI solutions.

The main generic benefits are shorter waiting and hold times for callers even during peak calling times, significantly lower cost-per-call rates, and the ability to offer 24/7 multilingual customer support at a much lower cost without compromising on delivering great customer service experiences.

When combined with other business automation, our voice assistants can also save human agents time spent on administrative tasks or having to deal with high-frequency, repetitive transactions such as checking an order status for a customer or booking an appointment.

How do you think the recent global events affect your field of work?

We think there is an increasing demand for technology-based automation and self-service solutions as a result of recent global events.

The nature of work is evolving. Lengthy furloughs and layoffs during the pandemic decimated some workforces but rehiring after lockdown measures have been lifted has turned out to be less straightforward than perhaps many companies anticipated. Also, the Great Resignation continues to affect businesses with increased rates of employee attrition and new expectations from employees around workplace flexibility. People want to do less of the work they see as menial or monotonous. Automation can take over this type of work.

More generally, right now we are currently seeing the highest inflation in 40 years and stock markets going down, perhaps indicating a global recession is looming. This will impact the cost of work and companies that can automate their business processes effectively will be able to save on hiring costs and at the same time be able to offer more fulfilling work to their employees. So, we believe the demand for services like ours will continue to increase.

Besides conversational AI solutions, what other technologies do you think can significantly enhance business operations?

Automation in general will have an increasingly important role in enhancing business operations.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is also emerging as an important way of enhancing business operations. There’s already a strong case for RPA to take over much of the monotonous, repetitive work in administrative tasks and be capable of delivering results with even greater accuracy than skilled human agents.

Finance is just one of many areas where RPA is predicted to see significant uptake. And the combination of RPA and AI creates possibilities for self-optimizing business operations.

Talking about individual users, what security measures do you think everyone should implement to protect themselves in this age of ever-evolving technology?

Of course, there are a lot of straightforward ways people can protect themselves when using technology-based services: use strong passwords that are changed at frequent intervals; use two-factor authentication (2FA) if available; don’t disclose personal information online, especially photos of passports, credit cards or other official documents. Many people still don’t follow these suggestions — until after they have been hacked once or even twice, that is!

Have good antivirus and antimalware software and use a VPN service. Keep your operating system, software, and web browsers up-to-date. Doing all of these things will help protect you.

Be careful when shopping online. Buy from recognized vendors. Buy using third-party payment systems like Stripe or PayPal or Apple or Google Pay whenever possible rather than supplying your credit card details directly to an unknown company. Make sure you see the SSL/https lock on websites you buy from.

If you feel like you are not sure about basic cybersecurity measures, consider taking a short course online.

What tips would you give to companies looking to strengthen their relationships with their customers?

While technology can enhance interactions between customers and businesses, the foundation for strong relationships with customers lies in designing great customer journeys, from the first contact the customer has with a business to the moment they choose to leave.

Customer experience (CX) design, as an offshoot discipline of user experience (UX) design, has come into the spotlight in the last few years. A good CX designer will look across all channels your business uses to connect with customers, physical and technology-based, to ensure the entire customer journey at all points is efficient, consistent, and hopefully enjoyable. Businesses that have invested in achieving good CX design are now reaping the benefits, not just in terms of profitability, but also in terms of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

At Talkie.ai, we have a team of ‘Conversation Designers’ who work with our clients to not only implement voice bots but also help shape the voice bot interactions that drive effective transactions with customers. Our Conversation Designers are CX specialists if you like.

In your opinion, where can we expect to see AI-powered solutions be used more often in the near future?

AI is a broad field with many applications and it seems fair to say that in the near future it will drive applications across sectors for manufacturing, security, finance, creative and design industries, mainstream science, and not to forget personal computing.

One interesting area in that AI will almost certainly play a larger role in the near future is business optimization. Talkie’s AI platform, for example, ‘learns’ from your aggregated customer interactions to suggest optimizations and other business processes for automation. Machine learning is particularly powerful in recognizing patterns that the human mind often simply fails to notice because of our cognitive and perceptual biases.

Would you like to share what’s next for Talkie?

What’s next? We’re on a mission to democratize conversational AI and make it accessible to companies around the globe. To do that, we’ll keep expanding and perfecting our platform and developing our AI so it is even easier to implement.

One of our recent initiatives was to develop pre-trained voice bots for specific industries such as healthcare, logistics, security, and insurance. These off-the-shelf solutions do not require any training and are fast to deploy. We hope this saves our clients time and money and makes for better customer experiences from Day One of operation.

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