Automation software leader UiPath on Monday said it acquired Re:infer, a London-based provider of natural language processing (NLP) software for unstructured documents and communications, to help deliver superior customer service interactions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Re:infer adds “communications mining” capability so that software robots can understand email context and semantics, online chats, and voice sessions, UiPath said in announcing the deal. UiPath customers will benefit from real-time understanding of the context, intent, and sentiment of communications from their customers.
The announcement comes on the heels of a recent conversation with UiPath co-CEO Rob Enslin, who noted the opportunity to apply automation technology to customer service for better outcomes. By combining Re:infer technology with UiPath’s Document Understanding and artificial intelligence (AI) products, UiPath is unlocking new customer service automation capabilities for customers, the company said.
In our recent discussion, Enslin laid out one example of how customer service could be improved through automation. Companies can get back to customers in an automated way, then promise a more detailed follow-up, say, within 24 hours, which is especially important when there’s a complaint or frustration on the customer’s part. “If you can guarantee those kinds of responses, customer service levels get elevated,” Enslin said.
UiPath co-CEO Rob Enslin recently discussed the opportunity to streamline customer service interactions by applying automation technology.
Why is the ability to handle unstructured communications so important? Today, over 80% of enterprise data is unstructured, so it can’t be easily analyzed and used to improve business operations or outcomes, according to Ted Kummert, Executive Vice President of Product and Engineering at UiPath, in a blog post further detailing the strategy. This data is growing at the rate of more than 55% per year. Organizations must address these forms of communication, as 95% of customer service teams use email to communicate with customers.
Re:infer uses machine learning (ML) technology to mine context from communications and transform messages into actionable data quickly and accurately. It supports ML models that analyze documents and communications data that were previously lost or ignored due to processing limitations. Its no-code interface allows business users to train AI models for greater specificity and flexibility, while allowing for rapid training and deployment of data models.
When combined with the UiPath technology, developers can build automations to optimize CX and scalability of contact centers, Kummert noted. Re:infer also includes dashboards to monitor and analyze business communications data and workflows for historical and real-time reporting.
Re:infer’s enterprise customers include UBS, Deutsche Bank, Hiscox Ltd., and Farfetch. Hiscox, a business insurance provider, currently uses UiPath and Re:infer technology together to automatically catalog, triage, and respond to tens of thousands of email-based requests per month. “With UiPath and Re:infer, our insurance brokers get instant, automated responses to email requests,” Hiscox head of automation Marco Rodrigues said in the company’s announcement. “Our service-level agreements have been reduced from days to just hours, and we have true, organizational visibility into business conducted over email.”
UiPath said communications of the type being automated by Hiscox can have as much as 95% of the work handled by robots, while processing can go down from three days to three hours.
UiPath said Re:infer technology is available to customers in private preview, and it will provide additional details at its customer conference in late September. UiPath previously had an internally developed solution in preview with customers, but can now provide a more mature, robust system in the near term.
The ability to apply automation and NLP to email is currently offered by a startup named Auditoria, which has touted NLP functionality and email integration (offered exclusively for finance functions) as key differentiators. That is clearly changing with UiPath’s acquisition of Re:infer.
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