Glia raises $78 million to digitize customer service interactions
Customer service startup Glia today announced it raised $78 million. The funds will be used to expand departments across its organization, the company says, with a focus on product development and strategic acquisitions.
Multimodality is fast becoming the norm in the $350 billion customer service industry. According to research published last year by Vonage company NewVoiceMedia, three-quarters of customers prefer to have their queries handled by a live agent, while the remaining 25% favor chatbots and other self-service alternatives. As a result, more than 85% of banks have digital investments as their key priority, a recent Ernst & Young survey found, with the goal of increasing customer engagement.
Glia, a New York-based startup cofounded by Justin DiPietro, Carlos Paniagua, and now-CEO Dan Michaeli in 2012, aims to capitalize on the trend with an omnichannel customer service platform that supports text, phone calls, video chat, and more.
Glia matches customers with support staff by pairing video with messaging and voice. The company claims its chatbot framework, AI Management Platform, is a key differentiator. It integrates and tracks bots powered by IBM’s Watson, Amazon’s Lex, Google’s Dialogflow, and other natural dialogue backends, which managers can divvy up into teams.
Customers who opt for human help can participate, via Glia, in live sessions during which reps provide product tours and answer questions verbally or through text. Niftily, folks who dial in are assigned a unique ID that Glia uses to intelligently route them to the person they last spoke with.
No matter which medium customers choose in Glia, its CoBrowsing tool enables agents to walk people through apps and websites with a virtual mouse cursor. The company asserts that this option, in tandem with the rest of its suite, has delivered some clients 20% faster issue reduction and an 18% reduction in average handle time.
It’s been an eventful few years for Glia owing to the pandemic, which pushed financial institutions to reconfigure systems and double down on digital solutions for customer engagement. The company grew annual recurring revenue by 150% this year and now counts among its customers over 150 financial institutions, insurance companies, and fintech providers including Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, United Healthcare, and Berkshire Hathaway.
“The events of 2020 forced businesses to reimagine how they guide and connect with customers in a digital world,” Michaeli told VentureBeat via email. “When businesses temporarily shutter their brick-and-mortar presence, customers still require support as they turn to online alternatives. In fact, this virtual shift creates an even greater need for customer service and support as many consumers who have never done business online are forced to do so for the first time … Many of our customers are happy to find that they can configure Glia to provide business continuity for displaced service workers and virtual contact center staff.”
In September 2019, Glia, which has around 100 employees across the U.S. and Europe, acquired Gigzolo, a startup developing recommendation algorithms and a platform that makes it easier for marketers to transact online with more than 16,000 event service providers. More recently, Glia inked a strategic partnership with LitLingo to enable the former’s customers to use the latter’s out-of-the-box AI models to monitor inbound and outbound communications between support agents and financial customers.
Insight Partners led Glia’s series C announced today, which had participation from Cooley LLP. It brings the company’s total raised to date to $107 million following a $20 million series B round in March 2019.
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