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2024 Product Plan – AI Enters Stage III

Jan 4, 2024

Hey y’all, this is Brian – Flip’s co-founder & CEO. 

We are the Voice AI you talk to when calling the world’s best eCommerce & transportation brands, handling 20,000,000+ calls last year with an experience that is smart, helpful, and fun – everything the last generation of “IVR” phone bots aren’t. 

And what a year 2023 was in AI – niche emerging technology became all the rage. Building became easier. Believing became easier. And the world of CX and customer service couldn’t stop talking about it. 

It’s funny, when we started in 2017 Alexa was the face of AI. And now it’s all, of course, about ChatGPT. 

But we’ve always focused on Voice—and really phone support—for very specific verticals: first transportation, and more recently retail and eCommerce as well. 

Why? 

Because it allows us to build a product that is easier to deploy and higher quality than we (or our customers) can imagine – just listen to what Jessica-Rose and Erica had to say. 

Last week, we shared our top 5 new product capabilities introduced in 2023, with automated experiences better than I’ve personally ever seen in the industry, accessible with the flip of a switch and performance-based pricing. 

We got so, so much done – turning imagination into reality, paving the way for the next wave. 

Let’s Talk 2024…

Now comes growth – retention, marketing, and direct sales, starting this year. The big (third) next step for these automated experiences is to drive business impact, moving these most important metrics to any business.

Everyone thinks AI automation is all about saving money – which it certainly does. 

The proof is in the pudding that ~good~ automation improves customer experience, too. 

Now comes growth – retention, marketing, and direct sales, starting this year. 

(2017 – 2020) Cost Savings 

(2021 – 2023) Customer Experience 

(2024 – 202?) Growth 

Cost Savings 

Automation = Savings. 

If you receive 1k calls per day and AI automates half, you can downsize your team accordingly. 

It’s really a simple savings calculator. How many calls do you receive? How much do you pay per call with an agent? How many calls is the AI automating and at what cost?

You can download the excel version we go over with customers here

The question of how much you can save is really driven by how much automation happens. That’s why our pricing is per automated call, and why we take pride in automating 5-10x more than other vendors.  

Customer Experience  

Contacting support is not fun, it’s a to-do list task – so success means getting it done fast

Hence the classic contact center metrics of hold time, handle time, abandon/missed calls, etc.  

And the newer nuanced CES and CSAT, customer effort and satisfaction, respectively. 

When it comes to speed, nothing is humanly faster than voice-based self-serve. Talking is faster than typing or clicking, and self-serve has 24/7/365 availability. 

If self-serve automation reduces agent volume, then they suddenly have time to give a better experience to the contacts they do get.  

Brands like Princess Polly, Caraway Home, and City Fleet wouldn’t use AI if it didn’t improve their CSAT – and, well, they all became Flip customers in 2023. 

Some even changed the actual metrics they judge their agents on… that’s awesome. 

🔘 Growth

It’s ironic that AI automation will be the thing that turns contact centers from cost centers to profit centers, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen. 

In 2024, we will start to see support AI platforms that drive growth – directly impacting metrics across retention, marketing, and direct sales. 

This might seem crazy futuristic until you hear Breanna Moreno from True Classic talk about how her team is P&L positive, i.e. they generate more revenue than they spend on their team. Hear her Flipdate with my cofounder Sam here

Let’s unpack these… 

Retention 

30%+ of support calls are save opportunities – customers looking to cancel, return, get a refund, etc.  

Many companies require contacting support to initiate these negative financial outcome events. 

But the strategies to handle these contacts are underdeveloped. There hasn’t been enough time to focus on it, too much agent turnover to train on it, and it’s been really hard to even get metrics on it. 

With AI freeing teams from bottomless queues, there is now time to develop and execute more complex strategies here. 

Flip is currently beta testing AI analytics to track Save Opportunities, Attempts, and Successes on a per intent and per agent basis – solving the reporting problem. 

Last year, we rolled out a v1 of Automated Saves where Flip can suggest an alternate next step, or even offer and give a discount code. We also released a Saves Queue so these calls are forwarded to the best agents for handling them, and the ability to collect a Cancel/Return Reason. 

These sorts of capabilities—while just the beginning—directly impact what will soon be readily accessible retention save metrics. 

The teams at Bonafide Health and Hexclad are two early adopter examples who have seen big measurable progress.  

In the past year, we introduced a range of retention features within our transportation product, too. One noteworthy enhancement involved presenting the next available booking time when a fleet reached full capacity. 

This strategic approach not only resulted in a remarkable 30%+ conversion rate of fully booked calls to actual bookings but also proved more effective than simply informing the caller of the fleet’s capacity status. Instead, we focused on providing a proactive solution by suggesting the next available time for booking, ultimately turning potential disappointments into successful reservations. 

We’ve also introduced a valuable feature called “Hangup Callouts” in our system. This innovative addition automatically calls back individuals who have disconnected during the booking process. By re-engaging these callers with the fleet agents, we ensure that no potential bookings slip through the cracks. 

Taking this proactive approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also maximizes the chances of securing valuable reservations.

Marketing 

The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. It feels like problem solving. Funny thing is, that’s what support is all about, too. 

Your SMS program gives delivery updates, so make it easy for WISMO callers to subscribe – see our release in December

Your app or loyalty program offers advanced self-serve and more lenient policies, so callers with these problems should be prompted to download & join – a v1 also released last year. 

Similar for first-time customers taking brand quizzes, and so much more. 

Look at your marketing programs/channels, ask the problem they solve, confirm it drives support volume, then connect the dots – easier said than done, but also way easier to do with AI automation. 

Analytics to track and report on marketing conversions are also currently in beta. Madison Reed, Helix Sleep, and Kitsch are some brands at the frontier here. 

Direct Sales 

For eCommerce brands, 20%+ of volume is sales calls. In transportation, this number is 75%+.

How well are you doing at converting here? Which agents are the best? Is your team taking credit for driving these sales? How much do you lose to missed or abandoned calls? 

In 2023, we released automated payment processing to confirm existing cards on file or collect the details from scratch, fully PCI compliant. We built automated cross-selling and upselling. Automated callbacks for customers who were looking to make a purchase but didn’t end up doing so. 

We built a Sales Queue to instantly escalate sales calls to your best sales agents, and the ability for After Hours to take voicemails of these calls only, transcribe them, and put them in a dedicated helpdesk inbox. AI sales analytics are in beta too. 

Already mission-critical functionality for A2B Transportation, Blueline, Nuts.com, and other sales-centric support teams. 

We dipped a toe in growth in 2023, which showed just how big the opportunity is. 

Now in 2024, we do the labor of love of bringing it to life – the functionality, its effectiveness, and helping as many teams out there as possible to achieve it. 

2024 is the year the cost center starts to become the profit center. Agents start to be judged on business impact, not just speed. 

A few trailblazers will even start looking to maximize call volume. 

Now that will really be something. 

Anyway, enough for now. Thanks for reading – if you made it this far and want more, I discussed much of this in my 30 minute podcast with Liz Tsai in December

Watch this unfold in our weekly product releases for eCommerce here and for transportation here. Check out www.flipcx.com to explore our product, or click here to meet our team anytime. 

Happy 2024 – LET’S GO BIG 💥