Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Conversational AI announce partnership with global cloud provider Vonage

Singapore —, conversational AI customer support automation, has partnered with global cloud communications provider Vonage, to bolster the capabilities of its conversational AI application into new channels using Vonage’s communications APIs (Application Programming Interface).

Through the partnership, Vonage allows the ability to seamlessly manage multiple channels from a single platform namely Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Voice and SMS.

Vonage APIs make it easy for businesses to build solutions and enable essential business features like remote delivery of services, embedded telehealth capabilities, and safeguard against fraud.

Gaurav Singh, founder and CEO of, commented on the partnership, saying that Vonage’s API Platform brings both power and flexibility to businesses through the integration of multiple channels, including messaging, voice, and video communications solutions.

“We’re excited to be working with Vonage to extend the channel capabilities of, all on a consolidated cloud communications platform. This will enable brands to seamlessly build automation on their channels from one dashboard, transforming the entire user experience,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, Guillaume Calot, global vice president of API Partners at Vonage, says that they are excited to further the customer support platform’s conversational AI capabilities and enable its customers to enhance their customer engagement with intelligent, personal conversations.

Main Feature Technology APAC

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager

Customer experience is founded on customer expectations. Marketing leaders must understand the evolving expectations that consumers have of their interactions with brands – this includes customer experience and support that, hopefully, meets their needs but ideally delivers above and beyond these expectations. 

As the pandemic turns endemic, delivering a consistently excellent customer experience is by no means an easy feat. Safety measures to protect our health and well-being have created a next normal for marketers. In fact, brand and marketing decision-makers need to constantly calibrate and innovate how they deliver on their brand’s promise and keep an engaged audience base.

The silver lining is that this scenario provides a real case for rolling out genuine omnichannel customer delivery and engagement models – something that has, for far too long, been relegated to the back burner for many brands. By setting new goals for customer service standards, relooking operational processes, and investing in technology solutions, strengthening consumer connections is possible even in a time when change abounds and reliability is imperative.

As such, we’ve seen customer experience agents take on multiple and increasingly important roles: from technicians and consultative sellers to today’s need for them to be empathetic community managers.

Not just a touch-feely bonus: The importance of empathy today

A recent McKinsey study reported that businesses that have empathy towards the customer will have a net positive benefit on their bottom line. Among 170 publicly traded companies examined, the top 10 with outstanding empathy ratings outperformed the bottom 10 by two times on the stock market.

Today’s environment has led to general expectations of a certain level of emotional empathy, no matter who we are interacting with. And brands are not spared – digital empathy and human empathy have taken on a new urgency.

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager

Brands now have to understand audience emotions, their feelings, and thoughts, their pressures, their desired digital and real-world experiences, and even anticipate future reactions. Empathetic brands that are using this period to rethink, reinvent, and leapfrog will most certainly be developing evolved blueprints for the entire pre-, during, and post-transaction customer journey as a result. At the frontlines of the customer journey – the shape-shifting customer experience agent, who must now play multiple roles.

Technology as an ironic accelerator for empathy

Some may think empathy and technology don’t go together. In fact, technology can help customer experience agents manage their hybrid roles and fulfill the need to be empathetic community managers. By combining proactive support with increased automation, brands can provide personalized support engagement at scale, without sacrificing empathy.

By centralizing omnichannel communications with customers, organizations can upgrade and reinvent the role of customer experience agents. For example, with the ability to manage communication over Instagram and other social media channels through industry-leading contact-center-as-a-solution services available in the market today, customer experience agents have the ability to become community management extraordinaires. Empowering agents with 360-degree customer profiles and full conversation histories all in one place will allow them to unlock valuable insights and provide fast and personalized customer support.

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager

Unlocking the power of social media messaging for customer support is more important than ever as we consider these stats from data from global cloud communications platform, Infobip: 70% of people globally expect to message businesses for customer service questions, and 64% would rather message than call a business.

As agents and representatives help transform customer interactions from being transactional to becoming more involved, these experiences are likely to be highly engaged, emotionally charged, and mission-critical for loyalty and retention. Consumers will also in turn anticipate that agents demonstrate they understand their problems and provide relevant reassurance.

This points to agents needing to be able to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and build quick rapport. This doesn’t just affect formats that provide visual and verbal cues – it also applies to digital channels such as chat, email, and social media, where agents cannot be certain of the tone of the conversation.

AI is maturing and here to help

While human empathy is natural, artificial empathy must be learned based on the data collected within the rules or framework set up by a human. This is where technology like artificial intelligence (AI) can come into play. AI that analyzes incoming messages and highlights factors like sentiment, helps prepare agents to respond accordingly.

Thanks to natural language processing (NLP), we can communicate with chatbots using human speech. NLP is an area of AI that helps chatbots understand the way your customers communicate.In other words, it means enabling machines, like chatbots, to communicate the way humans would. 

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager

An NLP chatbot is an AI chatbot that uses natural language processing, based on deep learning, to better identify a customer’s intent and therefore provide more valuable support. 

From the customer’s point of view, NLP helps them feel understood. From a brand’s point of view, these chatbots elevate customer support, create helpful dialogue, and capture insights into your customers’ goals and challenges. This lets you build a brand voice while simultaneously providing a customer-centric approach. 

Chatbots provide instant answers. And when boosted by NLP, they’ll quickly understand customer questions to respond faster than humans can. In addition to text, these chatbots can enhance the natural conversation experience by sharing helpful images (product images), videos (how-to videos, product explainers), map locations (store or service center finders), and more. These lightning-quick responses help build customer trust and positively impact customer satisfaction as well as retention rates. 

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager
Malaysian Insurance company Gibraltar BSN launched GINA in 2019

Take for example Gibraltar BSN, a Malaysian life insurance company offering life and medical insurance along with saving and investment plans. The insurer had concerns that too many customers in Malaysia had not received important and sensitive documents sent through the post, especially during the pandemic. The company also wanted to optimize its contact center in a way that would allow them to engage customers using modern digital channels but still provide a critical level of empathy during a sensitive time.

By deploying AI-powered NLP chatbots, Gibraltar BSN facilitated the creation of its automated chatbot – GINA. With GINA handling simple customer service inquiries, human agents can help clients with more complex inquiries and offer a more personalized approach. Gibraltar BSN saw a 40% reduction in cost for delivering e-policies after rolling out this transformation.

Harnessing the full potential of the customer experience function

With the right level of support given to customer experience agents, the potential for businesses to exceed consumer expectations in a digital world is limitless. Today, customer experience, service, and support – an oft-neglected function – have the aid of readily available technology to bring another dimension of brand success.

For marketing leaders, working with CX is about quickly adapting to and adopting emerging technologies for their benefit. Be one of the first businesses to leapfrog and handle messaging at scale on social media, connect to new customers, and strengthen relationships with existing ones.

This article is written by Viven Ang, regional manager for APAC at Infobip.
Marketing Featured ANZ

Marketing specialist Delacon bags three new accounts for call analytics services

Sydney, Australia – The Australian arm of Delacon, a global marketing specialist that provides a platform for brands in call analytics, has signed in three new accounts namely auto parts brand Bridgestone Australia, energy retailer Simple Energy, and payment terminal Smart Pay.

The three are the latest brands to engage Delacon to measure advertising campaign performance and ensure optimization. . Delacon shared that it has added more than 40 new clients over the past six months, which it sees as a result of the new working from home culture leading to a surge in calls with consumers preferring voice-to-voice exchanges over online exchanges.

Michael Center, CEO at Delacon said, “We’re delighted to be working with leading brands such as Bridgestone Australia, Simply Energy, and Smart Pay to help maximize their marketing investment and provide granular call tracking data to inform future media planning.”

Through the new partnerships, the three companies will be utilizing Delacon’s call tracking solution to help determine which marketing channels are producing the most calls, to achieve optimization, and to aim for a return on advertising spend. 

“Delacon has seen huge growth from organizations wanting to better track inbound calls from consumers during the pandemic as marketers re-evaluate ad spend across all channels, including phone calls. With more calls coming in, it has never been more important for companies to ensure they are able to provide excellent customer service over the phone and track where these calls are coming from,” Center added.

The agency notes that between June and August last year, phone call volumes have doubled when compared to the total call time minutes from the same period in 2019. These call surges are seen in health and general insurance, banking, telcos, home improvement, and B2B products and services.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Proptech Ohmyhome adds renovation services to platform

Singapore – Property technology company Ohmyhome has launched its renovation services adding to the company’s suite of end-to-end services. From property searching to post-purchase services, Ohmyhome takes a step further in offering holistic home services to users, making the platform a home-dedicated superapp. 

The addition of the new service is in response to the perennial renovation woes customers face such as unclear costing, inconsistent communication, delays, and renovation disputes. Through it, Ohmyhome Renovation tackles these issues, aiming to deliver a simple, convenient, and quality experience for homeowners.

Within the new service, Ohmyhome connects users to in-house interior designers who will help translate the homeowner’s vision into concrete designs. Customers will receive a complimentary design proposal with fully transparent costing for them to know exactly what they are paying for. Once the proposal is confirmed, materials are ordered and the renovation is carried out with Ohmyhome’s partners.

According to Race Wong, co-founder and CPO of Ohmyhome, the recent launch of its renovation services extends its “ethos of simplicity, convenience, and customer-oriented service to this important post-purchase process.”

“Renovation is an integral step to turning a house into a home, every corner matters to us and customer satisfaction is paramount. That’s why we’ve gathered experienced in-house design and project management teams along with a network of trusted and reliable partners so that every renovation project will be seamless, timely, and of the highest quality,” Wong stated.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Globe localizes customer support with Viber Communities

Manila, Philippines – Philippine telco Globe has tapped the use of Viber Communities as a way of bringing localized customer support for its various services.

The added customer support channel comes in response to the growing needs of its customers in the new normal as well as Filipinos’ increasing participation in online communities to transact and communicate. 

Through the localized Viber Communities, Globe customers can use features such as addressing queries, recommending self-service channels, and product offerings from Globe.

“It is important that we are where our customers are, and Viber is among these channels. By creating Viber Communities, we are able to focus on the needs of specific groups of customers and show our care in a personalized manner,” said Beck Eclipse, Globe’s chief customer experience officer.

Globe’s Viber communities include:

  • Globe At Home Postpaid and Globe At Home Prepaid WiFi
    • These communities provide broadband customers with useful information such as troubleshooting guides, steps on how to update an account, newest promos, among others. Both communities have already been verified by Viber and have a total of almost 8,000 members as of January 2020.                  
  • Residential Communities
    • The communities provide real-time agent support from 8 AM to 6 PM daily. Outside these hours, customers may still report their concerns via an online form and a Globe representative will get in touch with them. Globe now manages 32 communities with a total of about 18,000 members.

Globe is set to roll out more Viber Communities in the coming months as well as new features to the existing ones. 

Technology Featured APAC

New Zendesk Suite now includes comprehensive messaging solution

Singapore – Global customer service software company Zendesk has unveiled its new Zendesk Suite by including access to Zendesk’s comprehensive messaging solution, as the package brings together all Zendesk’s service capabilities into one complete offering that brings ease of use to the enterprise software space.

Through the new added feature, businesses can now communicate whether customers want to text, chat on their computer, reach out over WhatsApp or through connected conversational experiences across web, mobile, and social channels. Zendesk’s messaging solution also offers advanced capabilities including proactive notifications, enabling specialized third-party bots, and allowing customers to transact directly within the conversation when browsing products, reserving seats, or making payments.

The new messaging solution inclusion coincides with a greater need for messaging solutions for enterprises. According to a CX report by Zendesk itself, 2020 saw a 117% increase in the use of social messaging in APAC, while 69% of consumers in the region said they tried a new way to get in touch with customer service, with messaging and bots as the leading choices.

“Today’s customers demand real-time experiences at a level and pace we’ve never seen before. Companies cannot take customer loyalty for granted, and using outdated, expensive enterprise software that takes months to get up and running is a thing of the past,” said Adrian McDermott, president of products at Zendesk

“Businesses need the best possible technology to remain agile and face customers’ ever-evolving needs. Within hours, Zendesk can help businesses deliver great customer experiences, with messaging front and center,” added McDermott. 

For Kyle Jenke, partnerships director at WhatsApp, the Zendesk messaging solution integration speaks to the fact that more than 175 million people across the world are already messaging using a business account on WhatsApp every day.

“People today want to connect with businesses the same way they chat with their friends and family — with personal messaging to get questions answered and receive support quickly and conveniently. Through partnerships with companies like Zendesk, we’re making it easier for businesses to shift their operations online during the ongoing pandemic so they can stay close to their customers even when they’re physically apart,” said Jenke. 

Zendesk was one of the first SaaS companies to democratize the way businesses offered email support, and with its new Suite, is now leading the shift to messaging-driven relationships. 

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

PH telco Globe boosts customer support, introduces fresh customer experience

Manila, Philippines – Usually, when customers have concerns regarding their telco provider, it is within customers’ efforts to establish initial engagement with customer support; well Globe, telco giant in the Philippines, has announced a new digital initiative that aims to change this experience. 

In an aim to transform the way it serves customers, Globe is flipping its customer experience by being the one to call customers when they have concerns that would need help from a customer service agent.

Amid the new normal, Globe has previously developed new digital platforms such as GlobeOne, Globe At Home, and TM apps to help customers save time and effort by providing answers to their most frequently asked questions without the need to call the hotline or visit a Globe store. Digital assistants were also made available on Facebook Messenger to respond to basic inquiries.

GlobeOne, one of Philippine telco Globe’s customer support channels.

However, the company said, some concerns such as bill explanation, connection issues, and sim delivery requests would require person-to-person engagement. In this case, customers only have to report their concern via the GlobeOne or Globe At Home apps, or the hotline’s interactive menu, and a Globe representative will call them personally.

“We understand that fast and reliable service matters to our customers especially at a time when they heavily depend on our services. We want to assure them that our frontline support continues in the form of outbound calls which make it more convenient for them to get the assistance they need. They don’t have to wait in the hotline or store; we will be the one to call them,” said Rebecca Eclipse, Globe’s chief customer experience officer.

According to Globe, an internal Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey was conducted, where customers expressed satisfaction towards the outbound calls being done by Globe.

Meanwhile, Globe frontliners also give positive feedback on outbound calling as it enables them to be more prepared and confident when interacting with customers.  

“Serving customers’ needs remains to be a top priority of Globe. The company consistently delivers solutions that make it more convenient and safer for customers to raise their inquiries and concerns, especially during the pandemic when the demand for connectivity has increased,” said the company in a press statement.