79: How DialogTech Is Using Machine Learning to Automatically Categorize Phone Calls

Jul 25, 2016
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Tonight we’re going to be talking to Irv Shapiro. He’s the CEO of a company called DialogTech. He’s going to be talking about how this company is empowering human connections in a digital world. Since 2014 DialogTech has experienced over 300 percent growth. They have handled over one billion minutes of phone calls and have over 5,000 enterprises, digital agencies and fast growing companies as clients. At the moment we track almost every aspect of communication that is digital. We track websites, clicks, links and all those email inquiries. What we don’t track is actually phone calls to the business. Imagine every single phone call to your business is tracked, transcribed and tagged automatically with minimal input. This enables a quick look up where you can look for keywords and find every single person that called with that particular query.

Can you tell me a little more about yourself and your role at DialogTech?

I’m Irv Shapiro; I’m the CEO and founder of DialogTech. What I do fundamentally for a living is build technology companies. This is actually the third tech company I’ve built. In general tech companies are the result of a personal challenge that I faced. In this particular case back in 2005-2006 I was shopping for a very high-end professional grade digital camera. There were a limited number of them. Most of them were sold via e-commerce solutions and on the majority of the websites I went to there was no way to reach out and talk to a human being and I found that frustrating. The result of that was DialogTech.

Irv Shapiro

Irv Shapiro

We’ve all been lost in that sea of options haven’t we? It’s an absolute nightmare.

It’s a nightmare and what’s interesting is a characteristic that makes us different from every other species on this planet and that’s our ability to talk to each other. It’s what humans do. It started with two people in a conversation and then as transportation improved you could send a letter. As electronics improved you could send a telegram. Then came the telephone, then the radio, then television and today Skype. We always seem to come back to talking to each other. The move to e-commerce is important and at least in North America almost 7 to 8 percent of  commerce is e-commerce. That means over 90 percent is still done another way and there are two ways to do it. You either walk into a store or you pick up the phone. Humans are going to keep talking to each other no matter what technology does about facilitating those conversations.

I think one of the things we’re going after now which I find fascinating is the personalization of almost everything. The reason for that is we want to feel special, we want the other person to look up and know our name just like the old days don’t we?

Very true and I believe the difference between businesses that succeed and businesses that struggle will be in many cases that personalization. You can’t always differentiate on price. Being the low-cost leader will only take you so far. If you’re looking to expand your business one of the ways businesses continually differentiate is on the quality of the service and the personalization that occurs and that requires something more than text. That requires engaging with customers at the right time. Not all of the time, but at the right time in a very human way that’s appropriate to the moment.

For anyone listening that’s completely new to you guys at DialogTech what is it that you do, how does it work and what value does it offer?

We help major brands (big companies) deliver human connections in a digital world. The barrier to delivering human connections is that in today’s world of marketing discipline is quantitative, not qualitative. In the marketing world, you want to be able to measure everything you do. That’s why digital marketing grew so fast.

I believe you just launched a new Dialog analytics platform. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

There are three core things we have done for a long time is a call comes into your business:

  1. We track it back to the advertising source. We tell you what ads, what keywords, what landing pages or what app drove that call.
  2. We use all of that information in real time to forward or contextually route that call to the best person to take that call.
  3. We have the ability to take and record every phone call we’re involved in and we transcribe it.

We take all three sets of data and put it in a big data repository and we give you a tool called conversation insights to look at all the ads, how many calls they generated and for those calls to explore the conversations.

What’s next for DialogTech?

I think what you’re going to see in the future is we want you to have a complete picture over your customer engagement when it involves human connections.

If anyone listening wants to find out more information or contact your team what’s the best way of reaching out?

Our website is www.dialogtech.com

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