Talkdesk Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX

Replicant – Winner of the Talkdesk Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX

8 Jul 2021

With only three minutes to demonstrate how they’re “Driving better experiences through innovation and disruption,” six technology solutions competed in the Talkdesk Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX. With speed, humor, and technical know-how, these partners showcased their products with the hopes of winning not only industry recognition and a roundtable session at Opentalk 2021, but also $10,000 for their charity of choice.

The well-deserved grand prize winner of the Talkdesk Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX was Replicant, a next-generation voice AI company. Facing fierce competition, including an adorable Muppet-like puppet, Replicant risked it all with a live – yes live – demonstration of its conversational AI technology.

Talkdesk Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX

This live virtual event featured six solutions competing in one of two categories:

  • AI and Automation
  • Employee Engagement and Productivity

For Talkdesk, this bi-annual event brings together two core company values, Courageous Innovation and Community Giving, while also showcasing leading Customer Experience (CX) solutions from across the Talkdesk Partner ecosystem. Each vendor has only three minutes to talk about their company, their platform, and charity of choice. After each category, the live, virtual audience votes on which vendor has the most innovative solution for that category. Each participating partner’s charity of choice receives $1,000, with the runner-up’s charity receiving $5,000, and the ultimate winner (as determined by the audience) receiving $10,000 to their charity.

As the winner of the Talkdesk Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX event, Replicant won $10,000 for BUILD, an entrepreneurship program for underserved high school students that teaches them how to build their own business while becoming the CEO of their own lives.

Replicant Makes its Case

I had the opportunity to speak with Benjamin Gleitzman, CTO and Co-Founder of Replicant, who represented the company during the event, as well as Gadi Shamia, Replicant’s CEO and Co-Founder. As Gleitzman explained, Replicant set out to solve a key CX problem – most customers feel confused and get flummoxed when talking to machines that don’t understand them during customer service calls. They inevitably get frustrated and ask to speak to a live agent, which means long hold times. For the Talkdesk Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX, Gleitzman explained, “I wanted to share what we’re doing in terms of conversation design to provide a better customer service experience and let companies know why now is the time to jump on the conversational AI train.” He added, “Speaking to machines and AI is often frustrating and unnatural, and while conversational AI has been promised in the past, until recently it’s been limited to a talking IVR, smart routing, or a speed bump on the way to speaking to an agent. There’s an opportunity to do a lot better and fully resolve calls.”

The Replicant Voice solution combines several capabilities, including virtual agents, live voice transcription, channel switching and the ability to send SMS messages, intelligent call escalation, post-call analytics, CRM and contact center integrations, and much more.

During the showdown, Gleitzman’s aim was to show how the Replicant Voice solution changes the way contact centers work and how machines can fully resolve repetitive, high volume calls in a personal way. Using an example we can all relate to – calling for roadside assistance – the real-time demo featured Gleitzman calling a customer service center about a flat tire and interacting with Replicant’s Thinking Machine, a system that can understand and resolve CX issues over the phone. While roadside assistance may sound like a fairly basic scenario, as Gleitzman noted, “Speed is important – the AI technology and interaction needs to be fast enough to feel like you’re having a conversation on the phone.” He explained that Replicant’s Thinking Machine makes API calls in the background to gather information, while quickly synthesizing voice to make it feel like a real conversation, noting, “Built for the enterprise, the Thinking Machine can speak with anyone regardless of slang, accent, conversational complexity.”

The demo highlighted the speed of answer, recognition accuracy, channel switching from voice to SMS, and more. As Shamia pointed out, Replicant demonstrated the efficiency and friendliness of its Thinking Machine, while dispelling the myth that conversational AI can’t be demonstrated live, noting, “We trust our technology so much that we can show it live without any fears.”

Here’s a quick synopsis of the demo: After answering the call and authenticating the caller, the Thinking Machine asked the caller how it could help. It understood that the caller needed roadside assistance and responded that it could send a tow truck, while also texting a link to an interactive map to pinpoint the caller’s location so the service company could dispatch a tow vehicle to the right location. Replicant channel switched to SMS and transcribed everything said during the interaction. Once the caller clicked on the link to allow location access, the Thinking Machine told the caller to expect a service vehicle within 25 minutes. The entire interaction took less than a minute – all by using conversational AI.