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50 Fastest Growing Companies Of The Year 2019

An Interview with Observe.AI Leadership: ‘We Have Tremendous Faith in the Call Center Market and its Potential to Adapt to Latest Technology’

thesiliconreview-swapnil-jain-co-founder-observe-ai-19“Our goal has always been to build the best voice AI product and we see us striving in that direction.”

Call centers are the front line of all big organisations, providing a vital link between businesses and customers. They are also the place that can make or break the brand experience. Therefore, these places should be equipped with cutting edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver optimum results.

AI has the potential to give customer service representatives more information to help them handle the complicated issues.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Observe.AI.

The company builds a Voice AI platform for call centers. Its first product ‘Agent Assist’ empowers call center agents to do their jobs better. The platform provides the agent with real-time feedback on customer sentiment and guides them on the next best action during the customer call. The AI platform listens to the call stream in real time, uses deep learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the context, and generates suggestions and guidance for the agent.

The company was incorporated in 2017 and is headquartered in San Francisco. It has an additional office location in Bengaluru, India.

Swapnil Jain, Sharath Keshavanarayana, & Akash Singh, Observe.AI CEO, CRO, & CTO Respectively, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform, Mr Keshavanarayana?

Swapnil and Akash spent almost a year talking to industry leaders in the call center space to assess and identify the problem areas that can be solved through technology. They felt the call center industry is ripe for disruption because it has not evolved with the changing dynamics in AI and technology.

Tell us about your first product that was launched, Mr Jain.

Observe.AI launched its first agent facing speech analytics product in August 2018. The idea was to understand how call center performance management can be built grounds-up. We believed that enabling an agent will lead to better performance outcomes. So, we focused on the agent and built features to help them get more context on their call performance, highlight the call segments where they could have done differently and enable direct, more relevant feedback from their supervisors.

What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it, Mr Singh?

We were lucky to have built a very solid and committed core team in our starting days. We believe that people are the most important assets of any company and during the early stage; all focus should be on identifying and enabling people who are a good fit for the vision of the company. Also, things are quite ambiguous during the initial phase, there is a lot of cross-team involvement and hence a good, supportive, and healthy culture in a startup in very critical.

What were the grounds on which you have expanded your company and its offerings over the years, Mr Jain?

We have tremendous faith in the call center market and its potential to adapt to the latest technology. From the hundreds of information interviews, chats, interactions we’ve had with the top leadership of some of the biggest call centers, we are sure of the ‘asked need’ – that call centers want to adapt to AI and reap the benefits that come with technology in terms of process efficiency and cost reduction.

If you have to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why, Mr Keshavanarayana?

  • People – We built a team that actually had fun at work and helped each other out
  • ‘Default Trust’ – We have a culture of ‘default trust’, people are encouraged to take up responsibilities and take it forward
  • Best Machine Learning team – We took our time, and were very mindful while building up the ML and AI team

What do you feel are the reasons behind, Mr Singh:

  • Your product popularity– Easy to use User Interface, Agent Focus, Visibility for Supervisors for their entire call center
  • Your consistence growth as an organization– Rapid improvement and a ‘fail fast’ culture i.e. surviving and flourishing with high levels of ambiguity in the operating environment

‘It is difficult to start a venture, but far more difficult to maintain it’.

How would you and your team interpret this saying, Mr Jain?

In a growing company, they say: ‘the highs are very high and the lows can be quite low’ – essentially it is a roller coaster ride. Fortunately, we have witnessed great response from our customers and this keeps everyone motivated and focused on building one of the best Voice AI products in the market.

We try to involve everyone in the decision-making process at some level. The ‘democratic’ approach has helped us maintain our venture quite well.

Do you have any new products ready to be rolled out into the market, Mr Keshavanarayana?

We are currently developing and testing our ‘Real Time Voice Analytics’ product that will be of great use for call centers that need live coverage of what’s happening on their call floor.

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now, Mr Singh?

Our goal has always been to build the best voice AI product and we see us striving in that direction.

Leadership | Observe.AI

Swapnil Jain, Co-founder/CEO: Swapnil is an IIT Delhi graduate and comes with a strong technology background. Prior to Observe.AI, he led user growth at Twitter and started Twitter India office.

As the CEO at Observe.AI, he focuses on product innovation.

Sharath Keshavanarayana, Co-founder/CRO: Sharath is a second-time entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience in building and managing global sales teams at Unbxd, AWS, and Akamai.

As the CRO at Observe.AI, he focuses on go-to-market functions.

thesiliconreview-sharath-keshavanarayana-co-founder-cro-observe-ai-19

Akash Singh, Co-founder/CTO: Akash is an IIT Delhi graduate and has both high-tech and start-up experience. He works from Bengaluru and manages the engineering team.

thesiliconreview-akash-singh-co-founder-cto-observe-ai-19

“Our team has a strong technology background as well as a deep understanding of customer needs in the call center space. We have brought together amazing people to create a voice AI platform that truly creates value for our customers.”