“As opposed to making employees rely on interrupting or shoulder-tapping their colleagues or managers, they can actually just ask Kiite in an anonymous way that’s faster, dedicated to them, and le ts them focus on getting their work done.”- Joseph Fung, co-founder and CEO of Kiite Inc.
Anyone who has ever phoned a call centre, only to be put on hold for 10 minutes while the employee checks your question with their boss, knows a thing or two about frustration.
Now new technology is changing the way frontline sales reps track down solutions and find answers more quickly, with less reliance on management and colleagues. Waterloo-based Kiite Inc. was launched in 2017 to offer the world’s first sales coach that uses machine learning and natural language processing. In other words, its chatbot searches company data at lightning speed and delivers answers in bite-sized chunks of text.
Kiite fits inside whatever chat system the company already uses, so there are no new products to learn.
Watch Joseph Fung talk AI in the workplace
AI-powered sales coach helps employees focus
“As opposed to making employees rely on interrupting or shoulder-tapping their colleagues or managers, they can actually just ask Kiite in an anonymous way that’s faster, dedicated to them, and lets them focus on getting their work done,” says Joseph Fung (BASc ’07), a Waterloo computer engineering grad who co-founded the company.
With a list of startups on his resume including Lewis Media, OnMyBlock.ca and TribeHR, a human resources software company that was sold to Netsuite in 2013, Fung’s new technology comes at a perfect time. Millennials make up the majority of today’s workforce, but this generation can be a complicated one from an employer’s perspective. Younger employees request more interaction with bosses, and they also switch jobs more often.
Kiite gives millennials the support and training they demand without taking up too much of the boss’s time. It’s a win-win, especially if the employee moves on to another opportunity.
Fung — whose own personal website declares “It’s not enough to do no harm. We need to do more good.”— says there’s another upside to giving employees the support they need to solve problems: it frees them up to make positive changes in their personal lives.
“People who are more engaged and aligned with their company volunteer and donate more,” he says. “We want to make sure people are fulfilled.”
Photo: courtesy of The Waterloo Region Record