While many companies use chatbots and other forms of automation to manage their communications with customers, they’re based in Boston volume insists that humans remain an integral part of the equation.
“The traditional model of bots and people is, ‘Hello, I’m a bot, now you can fight me and finally reach out to a human,” he said volume CEO Tivan Amour. “Our belief is, ‘I’m a person who uses AI to give you the answers you need, faster.'”
Amour and his co-founder, Vlad Pick, previously founded a bicycle startup called Fortified Bicycle. He said they had “found that the best way to shut down our customers for those orders valued at $ 750-7,000 is to actually include them in text messaging calls.”
When it comes to high consideration purchases like bicycles, people usually want to discuss their questions and concerns with someone else. Over time, the Fortified team built what Amour called “a semi-automated system” to help his sales team keep track of these conversations.
“We started bragging to our friends,“ You have to do this, it’s the future of mobile commerce, ”he recalled.“ And they’d say, ‘Okay, that’s cool, but we don’t have any of the systems for that, we have no sellers. ‘”
After selling Fortified Bicycle, Amour and Pick created Tone to help any ecommerce business manage similar SMS conversations. Tone employs its own team of human agents to actually create the SMS, assisted by software to help them find the information they need.
It integrates with e-commerce systems such as Shopify and Magento and already works with 1,000+ brands such as ThirdLove, Peak Design and Usual Wines, which have seen a 26% increase in sales and a 15% order size.
Amour also noted that certain tone agents are associated with specific brands, which means customers talk to the same person when they have a question about that company. In some cases, customers have been talking to the same agent for months or years.
“Especially in a post-COVID world, it’s pretty clear that online shopping has become the dominant form of shopping, but I don’t think anyone has thought about how to replace that human experience you get in traditional retail” , he said.
Tone today announced that it led $ 4 million in seed capital Bling Capital, with the participation of Day One Ventures, One Way Ventures, TIA Ventures and executives from Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Uber.
According to Amour, the new financing will enable Amone to expand the “relationship automation” aspect of the product. He also suggested that at some point the platform could expand beyond text messaging, but it seems that this isn’t a huge priority.
“In theory, we’re more of a conversation platform than a text messaging company,” he said. “But right now there are a number of trends [such as the growth of mobile commerce] That makes SMS the most obvious place for this type of innovation. “