There are few, if any, areas in business that AI hasn’t touched. The benefits of AI, and generative AI more recently, on business processes are widely known. Still, it’s not often that platforms utilizing this technology address well-established pain points while taking a dramatically different approach.
AptEdge is one of those companies; it’s moved away from the automated chatbot and adopted generative AI to reimagine customer support, providing the first GPT-powered engine to give customer support agents immediate access to contextual knowledge from across an organization’s applications.
AptEdge takes a novel approach to address the challenges of data sprawl, higher ticket volumes, growing complexity of questions, and issues with agent attrition and retention. It provides agents with accurate answers to customer queries, slashing research time, and enabling them to deliver a better, more personalized experience.
Who They Are
Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Redwood City, California, AptEdge is the brainchild of Aakrit Prasad and Anthony Kilman. Both co-founders still hold positions in the company’s C-suite. AptEdge has raised a total of $12.9M over three funding rounds. The company’s lead investors include Stage 2 Capital, National Grid Partners (NGP), and Unusual Ventures.
Aakrit Prasad is the CEO of AptEdge. His former roles included Head of Core APM Product at the application performance firm AppDynamics, as well as Vice President, Product and Strategy at Applitools. Anthony Kilman is the company’s CTO. Prior to AptEdge, Kilman also held a number of roles at AppDynamics alongside Prasad.
We spoke with Prasad about how his previous experience led to the development of the company. “One of the biggest challenges in my operating role in the past — managing customer service support operations and core product teams — was trying to get to the root of customer escalations and reducing their impact,” he says.
“It all came down to a lack of intel, in quick access to knowledge and information and not having an intelligence layer that can connect to all these areas of knowledge immediately to get to our answers,” he continues. “We envisioned a world where you could connect to all these systems of knowledge and immediately be able to find answers in context.”
What They Do
AptEdge provides customer support agents with contextually accurate responses to customer queries. The AptEdge system centers on its generative AI-powered answer engine, AnswerGPT, which provides instant answers to customer questions, streamlining responses and supporting agents to deliver optimal customer service for internal and external requests.
The company uses AI technology to enable agents to connect and integrate with their company’s knowledge sources, whether that be business applications like Slack or Teams, CRM platforms, or ticketing systems. This supports universal access to knowledge that dramatically reduces the time support agents need to research answers to queries.
AptEdge enables companies to prevent escalations, reduce ticket volume, improve resolution time, and enhance customer satisfaction, or CSAT. In regards to escalation prevention, AptEdge technology uses GPT-enabled answers, alongside machine learning-powered Edge Automation for grouping and assignment of tasks, to address most Tier 1-level issues, reducing escalations by 35%.
AptEdge reports that its technology enables a 30% increase in agent productivity by deflecting tickets using automation, while average handle time improves by 40% thanks to an increase in first-contact resolutions. And the positive impact of this increased productivity is improved CSAT.
“If you can empower every rep, every front-line team member that handles (customer) interactions with all the knowledge, the collective intelligence of the whole company, you’ve basically made them a superhero in the company,” says Prasad.
Completing the Circle with Generative AI
Prior to the introduction of generative AI technology in late 2022, AptEdge developers already had the foundational technology in place. “The way that we approached it at its core was building an intelligence layer that connects to different repositories of information,” explains Prasad.
“We built an AI layer that connects to different systems of information and also to the support systems like ServiceNow. At the root, it’s all about trying to get teams to the answer as quickly as possible.”
Introducing generative AI into the platform enabled Prasad and his team to complete their vision for the product. “Pre-generative AI, we couldn’t turn that answer into a response,” says Prasad. “Generative AI models are really good at language manipulation and being able to take language as input and transform it into something else as output. We didn’t have a technology to do that.”
“That itself is a very hard problem to solve. For us, it was a really exciting opportunity to use generative AI to solve the last mile of our product.”
Toni Witt, Acceleration Economy practitioner analyst and AI Index Report host, said, “We’ve all had so-so experiences with AI-powered chatbots. AptEdge is taking a different approach. Instead of focusing on autonomous agents, the company focuses on empowering human service agents with the power of AI.” As a result, the customer experiences the “best of both worlds: a data-backed response with the human touch that customer service so often lacks.”
Who They’ve Impacted
One of AptEdge’s most well-known customers is the digital communications giant Cisco. We contacted the Cisco customer success team to learn more about the impact of AptEdge on its operations.
“AptEdge has been a great benefit, allowing Cisco to fully leverage internal business data repositories. It gives us greater agent response accuracy and efficiency we couldn’t get to on our own, which helps reduce our Average Handling Time and deflection in other cases,” says Charles Coaxum, Head of Customer Success at Cisco.
Coaxum noted some of the key benefits the company has seen since adopting AptEdge:
- Quickly and accurately answering customer inquiries in a way that provides a better customer experience than most existing chatbot technologies.
- Summarizing customer feedback and letting human agents and managers know the most common questions and complaints.
- Creating automated customer responses to common questions and inquiries.
- Summarizing internal performance metrics such as response times and customer satisfaction scores.
- Providing guides and how-to’s to walk customers through any processes they might have to follow.
- Augmenting human customer service agents’ ability to provide satisfactory outcomes by summarizing key points and providing checklists of items that their responses should cover.
- Onboarding new hires more quickly, from shadowing to actual customer engagement.
AptEdge is tackling a common pain point in customer service: The problem of sprawl when it comes to accessing data needed to serve customers. One of the negative outcomes of becoming a data-driven organization, when governance isn’t installed from day one, is dealing with dispersed data sources. The trouble is, the larger a company becomes, the more customers they serve, and when committing to digital transformation, the more data services they deploy.
AptEdge elegantly addresses the issue by connecting these sources so customers and customer service agents alike can benefit from the complete knowledge in an organization. Generative AI has provided AptEdge with another layer of functionality that, when paired with its existing AI-driven system, enables organizations to leverage more data to create more opportunities to wow their customers.