Advance in Customer Care Technology Introduced by Interactions

Interactions, a provider of customer care communications for interactive systems, officially unveiled its new breakthrough technology and automated voice platform now being used successfully by industry leading customers. The company also announced an additional round of investment totaling $6.3 million and a new management team led by president and CEO Mike Iacobucci.

Building on earlier speech recognition and Web customer care solutions, Interactions’ patented HumanTouch technology integrates a crucial level of understanding into automated systems, enabling a productive two-way dialogue, quick and efficient responses to customer requests, and an easy and natural way to communicate. 

Since ramping up investments in both its technology development and operational improvements, Interactions introduced its new voice platform to a select group of customers. Now millions of calls and transactions later, these customers’ expectations have been exceeded on every measure of performance.

One such customer, Allconnect, provides a service to consumers of many energy and communication companies in the U.S. Through a network of service providers, Allconnect helps consumers easily compare and connect home services, such as satellite and cable TV, Internet, phone, and utility service.

"Allconnect works on behalf of some of the most well-known brands in the world, and it is critical that we deliver the best possible consumer experience," said Allconnect Chief Information Officer Neil Singer. "Interactions is the first automated solution we’ve used that is truly the same as talking directly with an actual person. With Interactions, we are able to respond to callers more quickly, improve their overall experience, and optimize the time our home services consultants spend with callers."

Interactions’ patented technology captures virtually any data—including email address, login IDs, product and problem descriptions—and it can even interpret free-form responses. These applications are resilient to background noise, accents, and other factors that can degrade the performance of speech recognition systems and frustrate callers.

“We’re delighted to be implementing a customer care technology that provides an unprecedented level of understanding and gives consumers the information they need anytime and anywhere,” said Iacobucci in a statement. “Our technology is fast becoming the new model for voice automation that, when combined with a company’s existing systems—telephony, Web, or back-end—delivers a customer experience and economic value unlike anything on the market today.”

Supplemented by a small pool of human “intent analysts,” who provide an additional layer of understanding, the technology automatically routes a customer’s utterances to either a traditional speech recognition engine or an intent analyst at any point during the call.

"There is a real need to improve both the customer experience and performance of service delivery,” according to Keith Dawson, senior analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “By boosting a company’s level of understanding of what customers actually need, Interactions helps meet both of these needs. Interactions has the potential to change the negative consumer perception that has plagued the IVR industry for years."

The company also announced a Series D round of funding from leading venture capital firms, Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, North Hill Ventures, Sigma Partners and Updata Partners. The additional funding will be used to support sales and marketing efforts, as well as the development of new products in the areas of mobile, Web-based and “at location” customer care.

“After truly listening to what their customers need, and then adjusting and perfecting their technology, Interactions is implementing what was a missing link in the evolution of self-service systems,” said Robert E. Davoli, managing director of Sigma Partners. “The recent results achieved by the Interactions team in honing their technology and then securing several top customers, establishes Interactions as a company that’s able to quickly scale and make a major impact on the market.”

The company’s management team is led by Iacobucci, who joined the company as president and CEO in 2009. Iacobucci recruited key industry veterans for senior management roles at Interactions’ new corporate headquarters outside of Boston, augmenting the company’s existing technology center near Indianapolis:

Yoryos Yeracaris: chief technology officer; brings a proven track record of delivering highly scalable products on multiple platforms, most recently as vice president of engineering/chief technology officer at Silverlink Communications. Previously, he held executive positions at businesses including InfoMedics, Harlequin, and Language Technology.

Joseph Gildea: chief financial officer; with 25 years experience, including at River Ridge Consulting Group, Forum (a Pearson company), Books24x7, Quebecor Printing, Phoenix Technologies, and KPMG.

James Nolan: vice president of professional services; before joining Interactions, he ran the technical account management and advanced technical services at Sepaton, and previously held executive positions at companies such as Incipient, Avaya, and Cereva Networks.

“We are delighted to have assembled an all-star team, at all levels of the company, who are totally focused on the experience of our customers’ customers and swinging the pendulum back to providing great customer service to the end user,” Iacobucci said. “While call centers represent our initial point of contact, increasingly companies are realizing that this gateway into their business is actually an opportunity to build brand reputation, increase sales and reduce expenses all in one.”

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