Balto, developing a conversational AI platform for call centers, today announced the completion of a $ 10 million round. A spokesman said the capital will allow Balto to triple the size of its go-to-market team while supporting product development.
With customer reps increasingly having to work from home in Manila, the United States, and elsewhere, some companies are turning to AI to help address the resulting service gaps. The solutions are not perfect – there will always be a need for human teams, even with chatbots deployed – but COVID-19 has accelerated the need for AI-powered contact center messaging.
Balto’s AI listens to both sides of a conversation and visually prompts agents what to say next. An intelligent checklist function reminds the agents of the prescribed flow of conversations, and Balto automatically checks each item on a list as soon as it is uttered. Balto also offers voice-activated dynamic prompts, including rebuttals, declarations of conformity, and product knowledge. Notifications provide agents with feedback on keywords, soft skills, and other habits. Sticky notes and leaderboards put reminders and benchmarks on each agent̵
In the backend, Balto offers a range of management functions, including an agent performance dashboard, with which all customer calls are quickly converted into data. This data is fed into a portal that shows metrics for agent and team performance as well as transcripts of calls. An accompanying win rate analysis tool analyzes the effectiveness of phrases across different agents, while a trend analysis function shows the trends of agents, customers and competitors in real time. Balto also offers a game book that allows designer phrases to send phrases, key points, reminders, and more to the agents’ machines.
Balto says it encrypts all data in transit and at rest. The thin client, which starts when agents start a call and sits next to the agents’ screens, works with any system that relies on headsets plugged into a computer to make calls.
There is no shortage of competition in the field of AI-controlled call center analysis. Gong provides an intelligence platform for corporate sales teams and recently received $ 200 million for a valuation of $ 2.2 billion. Observe.ai raised $ 26 million in December for AI that monitors and coaches call center agents. AI call center startups Cogito and CallMiner have also made claims in addition to established players such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
Business is booming during the pandemic, according to Balto, adding clients like Empire Today, eHealth, and National General Insurance. Balto claims to have improved the average turnaround time by 90 seconds and increased conversion rates by 35%.
“COVID-19 has torn the carpet out of sales executives across the country,” CEO and co-founder Marc Bernstein told VentureBeat via email. “Balto provides the real-time call guidance they need to enable agents and sales reps to work remotely. It’s like having a coach by your side every time you call, helping agents say the right thing at the right time. Customers see 35% higher sales conversion rates and 75% faster ramp times for new agents. One customer said their close rate increased 132%. We are ready to develop new businesses and this funding will pave the way. “
Sierra Ventures led today’s Series A with the participation of Jump Capital, OCA Ventures, Cultivation Capital, and others. This brings the company’s total to over $ 14 million.