Two data scientists and a businessman from the Bay Area got together to change the way organisations engage with their customers in India and the globe.
In the current system, customers have to go through a rigid process to resolve their queries. They go through a series of time consuming support options before their query is resolved. The inefficiency of this system has led to a drop of rates in loyalty for retailers, bankers, automakers and all forms of trade. The activity of identifying the right agent for the customer to close in on queries and leave a happy customer is being built by ScoreData Corporation.
The software built by Prasanta Behera, Moidin Mohiuddin and Vasudev Bhandarkar are being used by several global corporations. The company spent two years building the product and is finally generating revenues and expects to be profitable in 2018. Prasanta was a data scientist at Yahoo, Moidin built a communication module at Stanford University to find intelligent alien life and headed IBM Research Labs till 2013 and Vasudev started a slew of companies including a data science company Selectica, which went public in the late 90s. The three of them quit their corporate jobs after 35 years to startup in 2014.
The three men who say they are not as old as Clint Eastwood, but carry the same vigour and tenacity, in going after the customer relationship management market with AI based technology.
The modern Digital Contact Center is an indispensable touch-point for customer engagement in the enterprise. ScoreData’s product is revolutionizing how customers interact with agents at enterprise contact centres. The platform intends to increase revenues with significantly improved operations and superior customer experiences for Fortune 1000 companies’ customers.
"ScoreData is reinventing how customers engage with the enterprise. The vast majority of enterprise engagement centres use script and attribute based routing,” says Vasudev. ScoreData’s engine not only streamlines the process of routing customers to the appropriate touch points in the enterprise but also simultaneously empowers agents to deliver superior customer service. “Early validation by leading firms, the extraordinary management team, and attributable business impact of the ScoreFast-powered applications at the engagement centres, were important reasons why we invested in ScoreData" says Sridhar Chityala, Chairman Elevate Innovation Partners VC, NYC.
ScoreData recently raised an undisclosed round from 500Startups in Silicon Valley, USA, Global Reach Investments Ltd, London, UK, Elevate Innovation Partners VC, NYC, USA, and 3one4Capital, Bengaluru, India.
“We are helping corporations connect with customers faster and figure out the importance of a customer calling the service centre,” says Vasudev. Most businesses operate on static rules when it comes to data. ScoreData uses dynamic rules where the machine understands the customer’s profile and matches them with the most appropriate agent.
An example would be in home loans, say a customer knows he will default on the loan and he calls the customer care. The customer care should know how to handle this type of call. A robot voice in the BPO would not know how to handle such a query. Once the customer calls, the software picks up the details of the customer from the bank and the location he is calling from. The software profiles him and then connects him to the best agent suited to respond. In short, the data scores customers and agents and measures their ability to communicate with each other.
“The customer is profiled using more more than 150 variables,” says Moidin. The variables include the type of question asked, the credit profile, the payment patterns and the likelihood to default.
Why is this different? Organisations are very good at data warehousing and analytics after an event. They take actions after the event has happened. The ScoreData platform solves a query at the intent level using AI and not people. The system learns about millions of queries and can score customers and agents.
The competition in the AI-based data led industry in enterprise verticals are companies like MatterSight, SatMap, Nice, CrayonData, and 24x7. Each of these companies focuses on specific areas of the enterprise like human capital management, document management, semantic search and contextual awareness management and business queries. ScoreData’s business model is an annual subscription and license model. It is both a cloud and on-premise based service.
“Data science with AI is going to change the way entrepreneurs work with enterprises in their pricing and customer retention strategies,” says I Vijaya Kumar, co-founder of CrayonData.
Vasudev says his first manager in his first job was Narayana Murthy at Patni Computer Systems in 1978 and thanks him for setting him on this course of entrepreneurship. Dr Moidin was a computer science and Mathematics PhD student at Stanford University with 40 patents to his name and worked IBM Labs. He also worked on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project in the late seventies. Prasanta comes from constantly learning about behaviour of people in the digital world and developing targeted ads for the likes of Yahoo. Therefore it is true that entrepreneurship is not about the romantic notion of being young and taking risks. It is about diligence and carrying the exuberance of building great businesses that last in the long run.
“For a winning business, the team and the experience that it brings earns them credibility. The question for any startup is that they have to get large enterprises to sign them up on long term contracts,” says Mohandas Pai, MD of Aarin Capital.
ScoreData Corporation is already in India serving multi-billion dollar local conglomerates. Now that the company has its experience and only time will tell if it will spread its wings from the Bay Area to the rest of the world.