Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Customer Service

Vickmar Martinez and Yenny Velazquez – Simple TV

About this episode

In this episode, we chat with Vickmar Martinez and Yenny Velazquez, from Simple TV.
As the Head of IT Operations and Customer Care Manager for Simple TV in Venezuela, Vickmar and Yenny are in charge of creating a customer-centric program to enable their customers to find answers to their claims and queries 24/7, from the channel of their choice.

We will cover:

– How Simple TV was launched in the middle of the pandemic
– How their informational chatbot, called Simpaty, was adopted by their customers
– How they integrate AI in their strategy
– Their feedback on working with Inbenta

Listen to the full episode or read the transcription below. 💪

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Interview Transcript

Jordi Torras:
Hello everyone. And welcome to this new episode of the Future of Customer Service with Inbenta. We are really happy today because we have a very special guest from Simple TV, a company in Venezuela, and I’m so happy to have here, these two amazing professionals on the field.
We have Vickmar Martinez, Head of IT Operations, sorry for my pronunciation. And Yenny Velazquez is a Customer Care Manager. That’s amazing. So I would like, Vickmar, if you could introduce yourself for our audience.

Vickmar Martinez:
Okay. Hi Jordi. First, I want to say to you that we appreciate a lot the opportunity to talk to you and to share this space, to talk about our experience with Inbenta. My name is Vickmar Martinez, and I’m in charge of the operation direction in Simple TV.

Jordi Torras:
All right. Amazing. And Mrs. Velazquez, could you introduce yourself?

Yenny Velazquez:
Hi Jordi. My name is Yenny Velazquez. I’m responsible for customer care, thank you very much for this invitation.

Jordi Torras:
Absolutely. It’s my honor. So thank you for being here. That’s going to be great. We’re going to have a great time today because there’s a lot to talk about today, about many things, but one of the things that I find fascinating is the story of Simple TV, right? How this great company is doing now in Venezuela. So maybe Vickmar, you could tell us the story of the company with this impressive building that you have over here.

Vickmar Martinez:
Yes. Simple TV started operation from scratch in the middle of the pandemic, in December 2020.

Jordi Torras:
Wow.

Vickmar Martinez:
We have the privilege to work with a highly qualified team, and it allowed us to start our operations in a very fast time. At this time, we are leading as a private company in the subscription television market in Venezuela.

Jordi Torras:
Wow. That’s amazing. So it’s the pandemic, everybody’s at home, and now at that time is when you guys start the operations.

Vickmar Martinez:
Yes.

Jordi Torras:
That’s amazing. So you start with that. There is a subscription, and now’s everything about customer service, right? So I would like Yenny, if you could tell us, what were the challenges that you were facing when it came to set up the entire customer service organization in such a short time?

Yenny Velazquez:
Yes, we created a customer-centric program. And in partnership with Inbenta, with your team, Jordi, we worked together to build Simpaty, our main customer service assistant, to be available on our digital channels, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, text message and the website. Our biggest challenge was to enable Simpaty. There was a great need to offer customers solutions, effective solutions to their claims and queries 24/7, and from the channel of their choice.

Jordi Torras:
Wow. So Simpaty, right? That’s the brand that you guys created for the conversational AI and to implement it on the website, on website, in many different channels. So that looks to me like a lot of efforts that you had to put together to make it work very quickly. So a question for Vickmar here is, that looks like a lot of work for customer service. So how important is customer service for you guys?

Vickmar Martinez:
So Simpaty has worked as an informational chatbot, but with the time, she evolved to a transactional chatbot. So after that, the evaluation that the people have been giving us has increased. In fact, at the beginning, we were receiving 35% of acceptance from our customer and at this moment we have more or less 75%. This is our evidence that our customers have adopted the self-management and the use of Simpaty, because sometimes the people are not so grateful to work with a chatbot technology, because they don’t feel that it is friendly or it’s not easy. But for us, what we have been receiving here in Venezuela is that the people have adopted the technology.

Jordi Torras:
Absolutely. So that was kind of the reaction, right? You knew that by adopting such a kind of a digital experience, some customers would react in a way that they would basically not like, but Vickmar, what you say now is that this acceptance, or these ratios or KPIs is 70%?

Vickmar Martinez:
75% at least at the moment.

Jordi Torras:
75%. That’s amazing.

Vickmar Martinez:
And we started at 35.

Jordi Torras:
Oh wow.

Vickmar Martinez:
We started with 35, so we have an increase of 40% more or less.

Jordi Torras:
That’s amazing. So we started with, well, you started with 35 and then over time… So how much time happened from the 35 to the 75?

Vickmar Martinez:
It was from December 2020 that we set up the company until January, at the end of January of 2022.

Jordi Torras:
Wow. That’s a time record!

Vickmar Martinez:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s a time record.

Jordi Torras:
It was such an improvement so quickly.

Vickmar Martinez:
And if you allow me, I think it is a good idea to share with you that Simpaty was developed by the team in three months before the operation started.

Jordi Torras:
Wow. Wow.

Vickmar Martinez:
It’s a very highly-qualified team.

Jordi Torras:
Time record. Three months, you have Simpaty developed, put it. Of course, on day one, there’s always room for improvement, right? But very quickly from 35 to 75, that’s a dramatic improvement. So Yenny, I think you worked hard on all that, right?

Yenny Velazquez:
Yes. I would like to say that a number of my team, Angel Quijano and Damaris Vega, Joalis Cabrera, Hans Sono from Inbenta and Maria Chaurez, Sergi Roca from Inbenta Academy and Jordi. Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot.

Jordi Torras:
Thank you. Thank you so much. I know that you guys give a lot of importance to customers and with any of these projects, what happens is customer service becomes a mission critical application, right? Of course, the programs have to be there. The connectivity has to be there, but ultimately, what customers might take as a reason to switch to another provider or to cancel a subscription is customer service that they believe is not good. Right. So it’s amazing that you give that importance. And yet you’re able to kind of handle both, the digital strategy, as well as give importance to this customer service. That’s amazing. So I have a question and maybe Vickmar you can help me as an idea of operations, which is about artificial intelligence and how artificial intelligence is improving customer service. Of course, there is the front end, but I guess that’s also the backend. How is the artificial intelligence revolution kind of part of the strategy here?

Vickmar Martinez:
This is a very interesting question Jordi, because at Simple TV, we think that artificial intelligence is the future of customer services. AI will help us to create seamless experiences and a greater engagement with our customers. For us, AI means high quality customer experiences that offer personalized support with efficiency and speed. So we believe in AI and we support AI because the people don’t have enough time today to solve the problems that may arise with their services. So we think that we can help people to reduce the time they invest in clarifying out with their queries or to solve some common problems. So we invest a lot. We believe in artificial intelligence.

Jordi Torras:
Yes. Yes, absolutely. Also, what we have been learning over time is like, you have to offer that intelligence to your customers, but also you need to have everything connected to your back office system. So your billing system so you need both intelligence, but also an integration with all your systems. And as we all know, that takes time. It takes time to build, and it takes time to test. So it’s amazing the kind of work that’s done there I would say almost overnight, so that’s amazing. So, well, we are so happy as a company, Inbenta, to be serving such a great company as you guys. If I may ask and I believe Yenny knows us a little bit better because we’ve been working hand in hand with her, putting that project together, but I was wondering if you could share with the audience, how is it working with us? Good or bad? Please tell everybody!

Yenny Velazquez:
We are, Jordi, we have a large subscriber base, which has been the engine and motivation to deliver and offer the best entertainment and provide the best technology for customer service, promoting self-management and self-solution for common problems and queries. We are committed to continue innovating in the artificial intelligence environment and continuously changing the technology platform to offer the best service to our subscribers.

Jordi Torras:
Got it. That’s awesome. And Yenny, could also, you let us know how is working with Inbenta?

Yenny Velazquez:
The experience of working with Inbenta has been extraordinary. From the beginning, we have had continuous accompaniment and support for the assigned team. In addition, having Inbenta Academy at our disposal. Thank you very much for that, because with expert advisors, the technical and linguistic languages team has fortified our project and it has given us a lot of learning for our incorporation into the AI world.

Jordi Torras:
That’s amazing. Thank you so much and glad for mentioning this in Inbenta Academy. We put that together because artificial intelligence is complicated. Some of these projects we try to make to have our technology and our company to make everything easy, but of course there’s a learning curve and what I can tell from what the team is telling me is, that they’re absolutely enjoying working with you guys. It’s amazing, the team, the energy, the will to make that work, it’s absolutely fascinating. All right. And Vickmar, what do you think? What do you see as the future? What exciting ideas and projects that you have for customer service at Simple and Simple TV? How is the future looking like?

Vickmar Martinez:
So, well, the future for the project is to be omnichannel too. This is our vision so we can provide the best technology to the customer services. So we want, and we have a very strategic objective, promoting self-management. This is the vision of the company, promoting self-management as a solution to solve common problems and queries. So all the work that we are planning to do for the next year will be focused in this area, to promote self-management to improve our digital channels, because our idea is to offer our customers the best digital experience.
Also, we have projects to continue working with Inbenta, of course, to take advantage of the platform that you are improving. Because one of the things that we share with other people when we talk about the success that we have seen with Simpaty is that the work, the Inbenta platform is continuing evolving. The Inbenta platform is not a rigid or a static tool. So it’s improving in the same way that we are improving Simpaty. So we have plans to continue working with you.

Jordi Torras:
Oh, I’m glad to hear that. That sounds really really exciting. Also, if you look at the website on the chatbot and there is a Simpaty, actually, there is a character there, right?

Vickmar Martinez:
Yes.

Jordi Torras:
It’s like a lady, right, called Simpaty. And there’s like a 3D avatar of sorts. It’s pretty amazing. So I believe that with all these stories on the metaverse and all that, I think that the strategy that you guys have is amazing because it’s already moving in that direction. You have your meta customer service, is ready in the metaverse, just ready to take care of customers in that space.

Vickmar Martinez:
Yes.

Yenny Velazquez:
Yes.

Jordi Torras:
That’s amazing.

Vickmar Martinez:
We have the person right now.

Jordi Torras:
Yes, yes, absolutely.

Vickmar Martinez:
Yeah, we do.

Jordi Torras:
That’s so cool. And so a little announcement here, because we saw that in the press that there were these awards is that the best chatbot that Planeta that’s the publisher in Spain. They have this global search on the best chat bot. And there were a lot of contenders this year, a lot of companies presenting their chat bots. Of course, one of the chatbots that we’re considering was Simpaty, and you guys won number one. That’s amazing. Very good impression. It was amazing to see that. I was like, “Whoa.” It’s like the Oscars of chatbots.

Vickmar Martinez:
Yes, something like that.

Jordi Torras:
That’s amazing. So I just want to share this celebration with you guys and Vickmar, maybe you can tell us how you feel about the whole thing?

Vickmar Martinez:
So the first thing that I want to mention is to thank you because you proposed us to postulate to this concourse. So this was a great idea and for us at this moment, this recognition has increased our commitment with our country, because we are offering a high quality service, and you have been part of this development that we have been developing with Venezuelan talent.
So, if we are not counting with you, maybe it will be impossible for us to generate, in a short time, this kind of technology, with edge technology in this market. And we are very grateful and we are very happy. This is our… this increases our commitment. We are very happy.

Jordi Torras:
All right. We’re really happy to hear that. And I am humbled by your words. And of course, yes, we are aware of these awards, and we say we have multiple customers in many countries, but the energy, the talent, as you say, the talent in Venezuela that was working on that with such an energy, that, of course you can see that in the results. And the love that was put in that, in Simpaty is of course amazing. So an absolutely award that’s absolutely just and well deserved. That’s amazing.

Jordi Torras:
All right. Listen, I will be talking with you guys for a long time, but we have some time limitations in this space, so we try to keep it at a certain space. And I’m pretty sure that the audience is going to be fascinated by the story. Many of them will say, “I want my Simpaty too. How did you do? How was that possible?” and then they will want to contact you. So I would say how would be the best way for our audience to contact you? Maybe Yenny, you can help us with that.

Yenny Velazquez:
Yes. To contact us you can write to the email, [email protected] Also, we invite you to follow us on our social networks at @simpletvve and you can meet Simpaty through Telegram at simpatychatbot and also through our web page, simple.com.ve and you will find the help button and WhatsApp. Okay?

Jordi Torras:
Yeah. All right. Listen, that’s a multi-channel answer. That’s amazing.

Vickmar Martinez:
And a multichannel platform. It is one of the reasons, yes.

Jordi Torras:
And the website of course and WhatsApp. That’s amazing.
All right. Amazing. Okay guys, thank you so much for being here with us today. That’s been a great time, a lot of learning experience, and I believe that as I said, the audience is going to be very excited about that. That’s been amazing. Again, thank you so much.

Vickmar Martinez:
Thank you so much.

Yenny Velazquez:
Thank you. Thank you too, and your team for this support. Bye-bye.

Jordi Torras:
Absolutely.

Vickmar Martinez:
Thank you. Bye-bye.

Jordi Torras:
Thank you. Thank you. And the audience.

Vickmar Martinez:
Bye-bye.

Jordi Torras:
That means our next episode very soon in the future of customer support. Thank you so much. Bye-bye.

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