06/20/2018  |  CODE_n Alumni, CODE_n18 Startup CONTEST, Interview

Worried about AI taking over your job? Don’t be. Our CODE_n finalist i2x is here to help you stay relevant as the technology develops. A Berlin-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) software startup, they believe nothing is more powerful than human to human interaction. They’ve spent the past two years bringing together talented machine learning professionals, engineers and entrepreneurs from across the world to develop an innovative tech solution that optimizes sales and customer calls through real-time automated coaching. Their aim is to make you an expert in verbal communication. How do they do that? Magdalena Pohl, Business Developer at i2x told us everything you should know about this cutting-edge technology.

Iulia: What is i2x all about?

Magdalena: Our digital communication coach, i2x, enables sales and customer support agents to streamline their verbal communication and stay relevant in a world driven by automation. We accomplish our vision by continuously providing real-time micro-training sessions and giving instant feedback to users interacting with customers on the phone. The communication coaching is automated yet personalized and is delivered on the job. In addition, i2x structures call data and detects best practice patterns through machine learning. Our software not only provides more transparency for companies, it also facilitates easy A/B testing of different communication strategies and generates an analyzable database for call data. Steering a larger sales or customer support team can be challenging, so i2x helps managers identify what works and apply proven best practice.

Iulia: How did you come up with the idea?

Magdalena: Our founder, Michael Brehm, is a passionate tech enthusiast and a successful German serial entrepreneur. By selling StudiVZ, Germany’s largest social network before Facebook, he made one of Europe’s biggest exits of the time. The idea behind i2x, however, came after he founded and scaled up Rebate Networks, a platform for local e-commerce companies all over the globe. Rebate Networks experienced the challenge of training and monitoring agents firsthand while employing an international team of 2500+ telesales agents. In fact, his biggest headache at the time was how to safeguard the quality of customer interactions on a global scale. Based on his passion for technology and advancements in speech technology and machine learning, a tool was developed using speech recognition and artificial intelligence as an answer to the challenges many companies face.

Iulia: What issues are you trying to solve?

Magdalena: i2x was founded in January 2017 in Berlin, Germany, after the founder experienced firsthand the problems encountered when managing an international sales team of 2500+ agents and safeguarding the quality of every single customer interaction. Companies know what happens before a call, they know the outcomes after a call, but they don’t know what will happen during a call and what drives the outcome. i2x cracks open the black box of customer calls and enables businesses to automatically coach agents, run smart analysis on big data, A/B-test communication strategies, and gain full transparency on the actual quality of customer interactions at any moment in time. Our founder, Michael Brehm, invited a small team to be part of his incubator and test, research, and validate different ways to solve the problem. One year later, the team had grown to 30+ people, mainly consisting of engineers, machine learning specialists, and full-stack developers. i2x is a genuine tech company with a core focus on building the best possible technology for our users.

Iulia: This solution is relevant in all areas of business, but what is the biggest benefit for customers? Are you working on any other innovative solutions to enhance customer experience with AI?

Magdalena: At the beginning, we decided to focus on who we could help the most: sales and customer support agents who spend a lot of time speaking to customers on the phone. Any company with a team of 20+ sales or customer support agents falls into our target market and is a potential user of i2x. The key benefits lie in the enhanced communication skills gained by agents and data-backed insights on best practice for each specific firm. This translates into increased conversion rates, higher customer satisfaction, and motivated, energetic, and more loyal agents. In the near future, we will target specific vertical markets with sales and support functions. Later on, we will provide training and development opportunities to all individuals who want to gain new skills. Besides providing agents and managers with a tool that helps them perform better, the customer experience is enhanced due to more competent conversation partners.

Iulia: Thanks so much for the interview and all the best to the i2x team!