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Marketing Featured ANZ

VERSA names Jen Cerqualia as new client strategy partner

Australia – Conversational agency VERSA has appointed Jen Cerqualia to the newly created role of client strategy partner. In her new role, Cerqualia will drive VERSA’s digital partnerships, including strategic planning with clients and leading cross-functional teams to optimize business and audience outcomes.

Cerqualia boasts 25 years’ of experience in digital strategy, transformation, management and implementation. She also brings a strong background working in digital management for local, state, and federal government, not-for-profits, and the private sector, and in collaborating with digital agencies on digital products.

She spent fourteen years developing and implementing digital strategy, communications and technology initiatives for the Victorian Government’s Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and its former Department of State Development, Business, and Innovation, including the Live in Melbourne website for skilled and business migration. Jen has also held strategic digital and communications roles for Victoria Legal Aid, Sustainability Victoria, SA Department of Health, Water Services Association of Australia, and Copeland Publishing. 

Outside her role, Cerqualia volunteers as Digital Delivery Lead for Victoria’s not-for-profit ICT for Women that works to attract, retain, and progress women in STEAM related industries.

On her appointment, Cerqualia said, she was thrilled to be able to contribute to helping clients shape their end-to-end solutions at VERSA. 

“It’s a privilege to be part of VERSA and to be working with so many incredibly talented digital specialists who truly value their clients. I have a passion for enhancing ease of use and accessibility in the digital space to improve the quality of digital experiences for audiences and increase satisfaction and that’s exactly what we do at VERSA,” Cerqualia said.

VERSA’S CEO Kath Blackham, said that Cerqualia’s deep and wide expertise across digital, and particularly working with government, would be invaluable to clients navigating a digital journey. 

“We’re excited to welcome Jen on board and know that our clients and teams will benefit greatly from her strategic influence, digital best practice recommendations and deep understanding of how digital products can be developed to influence audiences in a positive way,” Kath said. 

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Conversational agency VERSA drives AI gains with two senior appointments

Australia – The global digital and conversational agency, Versa, in Australia, has announced two senior appointments, as part of its growing uptake in conversational AI technology across various sectors. 

The new hires are Vanessa Tout, the new global head of client partnerships and growth, and Michael Oso-Hughes, the new design director.

Tout brings with her 15 years of experience in client engagement across the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. She has led strategic digital and commerce programs for brands including GM Holden, T2, and Marks & Spencer, as well as Goodyear Dunlop, among others. Tout has previously worked as the client partner at digital experience firm Isobar, and the client director at marketing and technology company Digitas UK.

In her new role, Tout will be taking responsibility for driving growth across new business and existing client partnerships in key markets, including Australia, the US, and India. By leading the newly formed Growth Team, Vanessa will bring together marketing, new business, and client services experts, providing a holistic experience to clients at every stage of engagement.

Meanwhile, Oso-Hughes joins VERSA with a strong pedigree working on some of the brands including Samsung, Microsoft, and Disney, as well as Unilever, and Cancer Institute of NSW at agencies including Isobar, Soap, and The Monkeys.

In his new role, Oso-Hughes will be leading VERSA’s design offering, from approach and methodology through to voice UX and UI. He will also be adding his expertise to the agency’s team of conversational AI experts shaping the future of conversational design.

Commenting on her appointment, Tout said, “I’m thrilled to join VERSA to drive the next phase of growth in conversational AI, contact center automation, and voice technology at a time when meaningful dialogue between brands and people has never been more important.”

Oso-Hughes also commented, “It’s an honor to join the VERSA team of thinkers, problem solvers, and creators working at the cutting edge of conversational AI globally. I’m already blown away by the caliber of work we’re delivering.”

VERSA CEO, Kath Blackham, shared that they are excited to have two amazing talents of the quality of Tout and Oso-Hughes join them to take on these incredibly important roles. 

“Vanessa is one of the best in the business, with loads of experience leading digital transformation engagements at scale and galvanizing cross-functional teams to deliver exceptional results, while Michael has already made a big impact in a short amount of time, both through his work and his infectious personality and passion for his craft that makes everyone around him better too,” said Blackham.

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Technology Featured ANZ

State Trustee Australia appoints Versa as conversational AI agency partner

Australia – State Trustees Australia, the State Government-owned company that provides tailored services to clients and supports Victorians to protect their legacy and financial wellbeing, has appointed global digital and conversational agency Versa in Australia, to be its conversational AI agency partner.

Through the partnership, Versa was tasked to deliver a pilot customer service project, which aims to improve operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity. 

Following the completion of the project for the State Trustees Personal Finance administration team, the agency will now be embarking on a pilot for Trustee Services customers.

In addition, the agency has also finished an initial automation project for Wilson Parking Australia’s IVR system and is now managing the delivery of subsequent IVR updates.

State Trustees’ Executive General Manager Michael Spiegel shared that one of the reasons they were attracted to Versa was their test and learn approach, which is aligned to everything they do at State Trustees – ensuring they collect the data needed to make informed decisions before moving forward and rolling out a project. 

“The discovery process has given us the ability to analyze detailed customer insights, expose opportunities for optimization, and the best approach for customers and staff. We have already seen some quick wins for our team,” said Spiegel. 

Meanwhile, Dale Smith, the national manager of customer experience at Wilson Parking, said, “We are excited about the improvements conversational AI and augmentation can deliver to our contact center. We look forward to working with Versa further to bring the benefits of a blended approach using both automation and our human resources to our customers and our customer service teams.”

Versa’s CEO Kath Blackham commented that they are thrilled to be working with State Trustees and Wilson Parking on projects that will build and support customer service and customer service teams by using technology to augment and help humans be happier and more productive in the workplace.

“It is a really exciting time for Versa and the wider industry with increased uptake in conversational AI technology in a range of sectors,” said Blackham.

In April this year, Versa launched a navigation-less and bot-activated website – https://versa.agency, which utilizes AI-powered conversational bot technology, allowing visitors to ask for what they want using voice or text, without having to search for it.

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Technology Featured ANZ

AU-based conversational agency Versa launches global-first navigation-less website

Australia – Global digital and conversational agency Versa in Australia has launched a navigation-less and bot-activated website – https://versa.agency, which utilizes AI-powered conversational bot technology, allowing visitors to ask for what they want using voice or text, without having to search for it.

Versa.agency is the first website to dynamically present relevant content based on an ongoing conversation with the website visitors. It delivers a human-centered experience through a digital concierge, which puts the power of search into the users’ hands and immediately creates a two-way conversation by asking visitors to type in their questions as soon as they arrive via chat or voice-enabled platform. 

According to the agency, the benefits of a navigation-less website include eliminating drop-down menus and tabs, and endless scrolling, making it easier for users to find what they want quickly by directing them to the information they are looking for. Brands can also deliver hyper-personalized experiences, content, and information, as well as deals without the need for users to login. 

Kath Blackham, the CEO of Versa, shared that AI-powered conversational tech addresses the challenge of impatient website users who have become conditioned to expect instant access to information.

“People now expect a seamless experience from websites, apps, and products. Navigation-less websites give brands the ability to create two-way conversations with customers and allow brands to collect and mine better data to address their customers’ needs more accurately. Voice navigation also has the potential to reach more people through the greater accessibility by being able to simply ask for what you want in your own words, regardless of language, literacy or ability,” said Blackham.

The website experience developed by Versa enables targeted and accurate recommendations through AI’s ability to interpret, understand, and provide relative content instantly, to further increase accuracy as the user clarifies their needs throughout the duration of the conversation.

The rich data and insights are continuously gathered and refined, allowing analysts to better understand what users are searching for rather than aggregating irrelevant data. The SEO is also enhanced by replacing rigid drop-down menus and tab structures with the ability to deploy new content and unlimited pages quickly, all with unique SEO strategies.