The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Creative Virtual is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
29CREATIVE VIRTUAL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Chris Ezekiel, founder and CEO,
receives The Queen’s Award
for Enterprise: Innovation 2017
from Mr Leslie Morgan OBE,
Deputy Lieutenant of Greater
HSBC is a Creative Virtual customer in the UK and Hong
Kong. Chatbot Amy answers questions on their Hong Kong
website in English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese
Creative Virtual develops and sells chatbot technology to
automate customer service for large enterprises. Founded
by Chris Ezekiel on the Isle of Dogs in London’s East
End in 2003, the company has become a global leader with a
turnover of £10 million and operations in the United States,
Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore and Hong Kong. Still
headquartered in the United Kingdom, the company won the
prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2017.
Our vision at Creative Virtual has always been to offer organisations the technology
to enable seamless, fully integrated, end-to-end customer engagement, and to
back that technology with the experience of an expert, knowledgeable team.
Listening to our customers, prospective customers and business partners is key to
the ongoing development of our technology.
An industry pioneer
As a pioneer in the chatbot market, Creative Virtual has had an important role in
the evolution of this technology and the ways in which it can be implemented.
The current product roadmap was formed back in 2007. Through the combination
of the experiences of our own team, input and feedback from our customers and
business partners, and our predictions for the future of the industry, we outlined
the specifications for a truly unique and innovative tool.
Creative Virtual developed a platform that allows conversations to take place between
people and machines by focusing on three main objectives: knowledge sharing,
»Founder and CEO: Chris
»Established in 2003
»Based in London
»Services: Virtual agent,
chatbot and live chat solutions
for customer and employee
»No. of employees: 120
»Winner of The Queen’s Award
for Enterprise in Innovation,
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | CREATIVE VIRTUAL
» UNDERSTANDING THE JARGON
» Chatbot – A computer program that conducts a conversation via text or
voice, simulating a conversation with a real person; also called virtual agents
and virtual assistants.
» Live chat – An online customer service software that allows the user to have
a text conversation with a human customer support agent.
» Knowledge management – The process of creating, sharing, using and
managing the knowledge and information of an organisation.
information delivery and chatbot
conversation reporting. The
result was V-Portal™ – a robust
knowledge management platform
that allows organisations to engage
in personalised 1:1 conversations
with customers and employees
anytime, any place, on any device
and in any language. Described as
“a product strength and competitive
differentiator” in an independent
analyst report, our platform is unique
in today’s marketplace.
Identifying gaps in the market
In 2016 we introduced V-Person
Service Desk™, designed to automate
service desk support for employees.
This solution reduces service desk
support costs for organisations and
improves employee productivity
Later that same year, the official
release of our own live chat product,
V-Person Live Chat™, was another
important milestone for Creative
Virtual. Our many years of experience
with integrating our chatbot
technology with other live chat systems
made us realise that there was a
huge opportunity for organisations to
benefit from a deeper blending of the
two technologies. This inspired us to
develop our own product that is now
defining industry best practice through
the tight integration of a single
knowledge base for both virtual and
human agents, a unique feedback loop
and a customisable workflow provided
A company culture of
innovation, teamwork and
It has been important to Creative
Virtual to maintain complete
ownership and control over the
development and distribution of our
technology in order to see our true
vision come to life. This is why we
decided to fund all our development
work ourselves and to build up our
own R&D team. This has helped
create a company culture based on
BT uses a Creative
Virtual chatbot to
provide instant, 24/7
partners is key
»CREATIVE VIRTUAL’S SUITE OF PRODUCTS
» V-Person™ – Virtual agent/chatbot technology; can be deployed across all
contact channels (web, mobile, social, SMS, messaging platforms, contact
centre, service desk, interactive voice response and voice assistants).
» V-Person Live Chat™ – Live chat technology that combines self-service
chatbots and human customer service agents for a fully integrated support
» V-Portal™ – Knowledge management, workflow management and business
intelligence reporting platform; provides tightly integrated editing, testing,
workflow and reporting functionality for V-Person™ virtual and human
31CREATIVE VIRTUAL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
innovation, teamwork and ownership
of which we are very proud. Without
needing to please investors or
board members, we can keep our
development work agile and focused
on making technological improvements
that will benefit our customer base.
An explosion of media hype
Over the past two years there has been
a renewed interest in chatbots and
a great deal of media buzz around
artificial intelligence (AI), partially due
to Facebook’s introduction of bots
for their Messenger Platform. While
this had a positive effect in garnering
more attention for automated self-
service, media hype combined with
overpromising from some industry
vendors created confusion and
unrealistic expectations for AI chatbots.
Based on our experience we knew
that pure AI was not the right option
for automated customer service,
and so Creative Virtual continued to
present our hybrid approach of self-
learning and human gathering and
organising of content as industry best
practice. Instead of jumping on the AI
bandwagon, we worked to educate
the marketplace about the realities of
the technology and using chatbots to
provide a predictable and reliable self-
This decision strengthened our position
as thought leaders and trusted
consultants in theindustry.
The future is bright
In 2017 Creative Virtual was honoured
with the UK’s most prestigious
business award for British companies,
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in
the category of Innovation. This award
is an incredible recognition of the
innovation the company delivers to our
customers every day. It also helps shine
a spotlight on the virtual agent industry
and the important role this technology
is playing in customer engagement.
By leveraging our long track record of
delivering successful solutions (our very
first customer is still a customer today),
our growing global network of partners
and our company culture of innovation
and teamwork, Creative Virtual is well
positioned to continue as an industry
leader in a rapidly evolving marketplace.
which we are
Members of the Creative
Virtual team, customers
and partners celebrate
the company’s historic
Queen’s Award for
»Over 75 million questions answered per year
»90 per cent guaranteed minimum accuracy within two months of
»12 months or less to deliver return on investment
»20 languages currently supported with more to be delivered soon
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.