Google Purchases Customer Service Automation Firm Onward

The Acquisition Will Add Further Depth to the Search Giant’s Artificial Intelligence & Customer Success Endeavors

Google’s acquisition of Onward might have been easier to miss but is an important event for both the organizations. While Onward now gets global recognition, their technology can help Google build phenomenal AI-centric products. The purchase price of Onward was not disclosed. The company in the past has raised $120,000 for itself through private funding in two rounds. A select few of Onward will be joining Google along with co-founders Rémi Cossart and Pramod Thammaiah.

Basically, Onward specializes in personalized customer service by leveraging Natural Language Programming (NLP) capabilities. Onward has developed an Artificial Intelligence powered enterprise scale Chatbot platform to extract meaning from customer interactions. The platform contextualizes and personalizes answers to consumer questions by applying aspects such as:

  • Location
  • Login status
  • Historical activity

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Onward uses a unique decision tree algorithm that allows its bots to be exceptionally functional in delivering world-class customer care. Furthermore, Onward has partnered with the following enterprises:

Partnerships with leading organizations like the ones mentioned atop further bolster Onward’s Chatbot Platform. The platform can single-handedly manage customer conversations, generate leads and keep a track on shipments.

Previous to this, Onward successfully launched Agent Q, a Virtual Assistant capable of recommending products to consumers. Q utilized a healthy mix of human operators and data aggregators in order for it to function.

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“We started Onward with the mission of allowing computers to participate in natural, human conversations. With Google, we’ll be able to expand the reach of the technologies that power Onward. These core technologies are what got us excited in the first place, and we are excited to bring them to Google,” the Onward team wrote in a message posted to the company’s website.

Google, on the other hand, had previously announced the release of its AI-driven Contact Centre. The crux of this technology is a virtual customer service agent that is capable to answer calls over the phone with the help of sophisticated NLP algorithms. Hence, this virtual agent is capable of answering most questions of its callers. However, if the agent is unable to answer a customer question, Google has developed the program in such a way that the virtual assistant has the abilities to do a hand-off to a human agent. Google is calling this as ‘agent-assist.’ Prior to the hand-off, virtual assistant transfers information known to it, to the human agent.’

Chatbot deployments from major corporations such as Contact Center AI, eBay’s ShopBot are ensuring that the Chatbot market will be poised to reach more than $1.34 billion by 2024.

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