Humach is revolutionizing the Customer Service and Sales Experience combining AI-powered Digital Agents with a Company’s Existing Human Team

Humach is revolutionizing the Customer Service and Sales Experience combining AI-powered Digital Agents with a Company’s Existing Human Team

CEOCFO Magazine spoke with Dubuque, IA-based Humach CEO, Tim Houlne about how they are revolutionizing the customer service and sales experience by combining AI-powered Digital Agents with an existing human team.

Interview By: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor | CEOCFO Magazine

CEOCFO: Mr. Houlne, what is the idea behind Humach, today?
Mr. Houlne: The name “Humach” actually come from the combination of “humans” plus “machines.” If you look at the first four letters of humans and the first four letters of machines, you end up with “Humach.” It was really to capitalize on the human in the loop as you look at AI and automation, focused on customer experience.

CEOCFO: How does the human element come into play?
Mr. Houlne: One of the biggest things we have learned as we have embarked on this journey almost five years ago, was that people were talking about AI and running unstructured data through a machine and it was going to fix everything. The reality is that you actually need that human, first and foremost, for conversational design in order to be able to design the call flow or the workflow to be able to go through where the machine can actually work.

Then you have data tuning and tagging and exceptions that are kicked out and a human has to review those to plug them back into the machine, so you have the machine learning component. Therefore, one of the biggest things that we have found is that conversational design is really what drives higher automation containment rates.

CEOCFO: Are you able to build in something where the AI will show, “The customer is annoyed, switch tactics,” or “This customer is telling you they do not want to hear ‘XYZ,’ they just want you to get to it?”
Mr. Houlne: Yes, absolutely! That actually plays back in to what I just said, Lynn, it is back to the conversational design. If you look at UIs (User Interface); any mobile app you use right now with your user interface, you want it to be real simple. You want it to be two or three clicks to get to what you need. We have all been on those apps where you are clicking and clicking and clicking and you are still not at where you need to get to. I think that Amazon has really driven the whole user interface like, “you should know me when I come back in, you should make it very simplistic, and one click, two clicks, three clicks to get to what you want.” The same holds true with AI and automation as you look at customer experiences.

We are looking to reduce customer effort. Therefore, in order to do that, the conversational design needs to assume some things. When you are calling in, we should know that it is you, based on your mobile number, based on your profile. Once we have identified that it is you, we should be able to access information to know that you are interested in these things and not interested in those things. I think that is what gets back into the conversational design, which is to design a personalized experience based on your customer and the transaction is not only based on having a higher customer satisfaction rating; you can build a higher resolution rating and I think that is what consumers want today.

CEOCFO: Who is using your services and who should be?
Mr. Houlne: I think everybody should be! We target innovative companies with forward thinking executives. I think it has gotten to the point where more and more people, mainstream, are starting to look at this opportunity. I think the COVID crisis has really opened people’s eyes to automation. If you went dark as a company and could not answer your phones or respond to your emails or your chats from a support perspective, shame on you! There is too much technology out there that allows you to be able to interact with your customers. If your business is open twenty-four hours a day for your customers to reach you, you have to have that support to have the ability to support them twenty-four hours a day.

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