Russia’s SalesLabs has designed a robot which can replace call center employees or sell goods. The robot was named Konstantin. The software can respond to phone calls, understand questions and give answers. Konstantin has a natural human voice so most clients will not be able to distinguish it from an employee’s voice. Robots are now accepted to work at Moscow’s Windows Empire and a number of banks, Vladimir Lyubovich, SalesLabs’ founder and СEO, told at Startup S7 Challenge. Invest Foresight learned the details of the project.
Consistent robot and market conquering
Vladimir Lyubovich and Georgy Ermakov founded SalesLabs this year. Lyubovich had worked in sales for six years. For the last two years, he was heading a sales team at 2GIS international map maker, so he is well aware of a call center operation. That is where he got an idea of a robot which can communicate with clients, since a major portion of each conversation is one and the same in every phone call, so it can be easily automatized, while for an employee it is a hard routine labor and for a company it is large costs. A life time of an employee in a call center is six to twelve months. After that, an employee is too tired and has to quit. A robot will never quit and that is why its name is Konstantin (constantis in Latin means stable or consistent).
“That means, our robot may make any number of calls”, Lyubovich says.
On behalf of its first client, Windows Empire, SalesLab will make calls to retired people offering them to order Rehau UPVC window frames with a 50% discount.
Once SalesLabs accomplishes three major contracts, it intends to get the first round of investments of between RUR 100 and 200 million. The money is required to swiftly scale the business up, and five project developers work on it.
Better than a human
Launching Konstantin takes a week to a month. Over that time SalesLabs analyses company’s history of communicating with its clients (500 to 3,000 calls), all respective questions and answers. It then designs the most efficient dialogue map and selects the way of data exchange. After that, the voice for the robot is recorded and the first test is run. During the test, the data collected is processes by a neural network and then reviewed by analysts for further improvement. Konstantin’s voice is identical to the voice of a human being, but the robot is faster in answering (Invest Foresight reporter can personally attest to that). For speech recognition, Google Speech to Text and Yandex Speech Recognition are used.
“Our technology is about the right understanding of a message and giving the right answer to it. Our robot is not merely answering yes or no, but remembers the context and replies accordingly. Nothing like that is now available in the market. For us, it is important to teach our robot answer questions and be able to develop a dialogue”, Lyubovich explains.
Prior to being launched at Windows Empire, Konstantin went through tests. Preliminary trials evidence that 65% of Konstantin’s calls were error-free and the robot gave right answers to all questions. Konstantin failed to give proper answers in 35% of overall calls because of either a bad sound or its unpreparedness to a question. Konstantin, for example, could not give an answer to the question ‘Can my son-in-law get such windows?” And the problem was not about not knowing what son-in-law is, since Konstantin’s vocabulary is that of Google, i.e. bigger than a vocabulary of an ordinary call center employee. The robot just did not realize that a son-in-law can also be retired and thus eligible for a discount. The faults are being rectified and the robot keeps learning.
Robot Konstantin can simultaneously process over 100 calls – or as many as required. Besides, it can redirect a call to a respective company division or employee.
“I am in many respects better than a human. I combine the most innovative technologies in speech recognition and Artificial Intelligence. I am built to sell your product”, Konstantin presents itself at the webpage of its manufacturer SalesLabs.
To analyze phone calls, a personal office is set up. There, the status of each call (successful, repeated, declined, unavailable, etc.) can be reviewed to see how the communication process advanced.
SalesLabs charges half of a call center sales manager’s monthly salary, and additionally the robot integration costs. An integration for a large bank is priced between three and five million rubles, whereas a simple survey costs several dozen thousand.
By Natalia Kuznetsova