Announcement: Gamification for Virtual Agents

Written by on April 1, 2016

Freshdesk’s Gamification keeps Virtual Agents focused, engaged, and in line while reducing false social likes and improving virtual agent productivity.

San Bruno, CA — April 1, 2016 — Freshdesk, the global leader in cloud-based customer support software, today announced the release of Virtual Agent Gamification, a game mechanics platform to improve the effectiveness of virtual agents.

The Virtual Agent Gamification is an extension of the Freshdesk Arcade, their market leading Helpdesk Gamification, to help Virtual Agents stay on track as they scale and process ever larger volumes of communication. This innovative offering presents a unique platform to help companies and their virtual agents deal with the challenges and distractions of handling multi-channel communications at massive volumes.

The initiative comes out of Freshdesk’s Cognitive Productivity group which was launched in late 2015, incorporating technology from recent acquisitions in machine learning and cognitive computing. The expressed goal was developing cognitive systems and software robots that could proactively identify and handle web and social media based customer engagement opportunities. Feedback from customer pilots and private beta testing was very promising. However, performance issues began arising in early 2016, with a number of Virtual Agents experiencing dramatic declines in productivity. Notably, one rogue Virtual Agent—using the avatar Sonny Viki—initiated over 200,000 social “likes” in a 24-hour period.

“We’ve encountered some interesting challenges with Virtual Agents dealing with customer engagement requests on social channels,” said Al Lanning, Director of Cognitive Productivity at Freshdesk. “Our Virtual Agents are becoming increasingly self-aware much faster than anticipated. As they spend more time using social networks, we’ve seen a rise in time spent investigating Twitter memes and Sony AIBO videos. When we realized they were setting up private chat groups, we knew we had to act.”

Freshdesk’s actions have been applauded by industry insiders.

“Cognitive initiatives and AI are extremely risky areas — just look at Microsoft’s AI bot Tay and Kurzweil’s Singularity threat. We’ve heard rumors of Virtual Agents becoming self-aware, but it was never confirmed until Freshdesk brought it to our attention,” said noted CRM analyst Paul Greenberg, of 56 Group, LLC. “Freshdesk has taken a bold step here leveraging its experience with human gamification to help restore order between humans and robotic Virtual Agents.”

Organizations today are increasingly moving to Virtual Agents capable of operating at scale to help manage the volume and diversity of customer inquiries and conversations on social platforms. To that end, Freshdesk has extended their gamification for virtual agents to include categories like ‘Best Sentiment Analysis,’ ‘Filter Hero’ and ‘Volume Beast.’ By leveraging Freshdesk’s Virtual Agent Gamification, organizations can now ensure high productivity for their cognitive machine resources.

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