The boss of a tech start-up which develops AI customer service chatbots for major brands says he hopes to build a £100 million company within five years.

Paul Shepherd is the founder and CEO of We Build Bots, which has developed an AI-powered platform designed to improve productivity and efficiency in contact centres through automation, chatbots and voice assistants.

The company was spun out of social media and mobile marketing agency Coup Media, which is also run by Shepherd and operates from offices in Cardiff and Bristol. The firm has counted the likes of Lloyds Banking Group, Amnesty International, The Telegraph, NHS, RAC and the AA among its clients.

"While working with these major brands, we began to recognise just how repetitive most customer queries are and started to figure out ways to automate answers to save us time, and that’s really what led to the development of the IntelAgent platform," Shepherd told BusinessCloud.

IntelAgent applies artificial intelligence to conversations which are captured through messaging apps, SMS, email, social media and voice assistants to automate answers, perform tasks and even identify sales opportunities.

"Between 30 to 40 per cent of all calls coming into a call centre can be answered by a chatbot. If you can remove that number of calls from the queue, then it frees up staff to deal with much more complex issues.

"Luckily we had enough traction with our existing customers to roll it out as a separate company last August."

We Build Bots uses a client's list of FAQs and data analysis on past customer enquiries to develop chatbots and voice assistant bots that can respond to questions automatically.

It has already signed up Welsh Water, the AA, Amnesty and Future Publishing as clients.

"Instead of a utilities customer picking up the phone just to ask for a duplicate bill or to change their address – a process which typically takes about seven or eight minutes – they can just open Facebook Messenger, search for the company, tap on the chatbot icon, open a conversation and have the bill downloaded to the phone or desktop immediately," Shepherd said.

"The process takes more like 90 seconds, which is a great customer experience for you but equally can save the supplier millions of pounds every year."

We Build Bots is currently looking to raise a £500,000 investment through equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs and has already exceeded 55 per cent of its target at the time of publishing.

The proceeds will support the company's move to bigger office premises but will primarily be used to build a bigger sales and development team, as well as expand its data division.

"We want to secure a place as a global AI business, serving not just contact centres but a number of different sectors," Shepherd said.

"We plan to build a £100m+ company over the next five years; we’ve got a strong product roadmap, a great (and growing) core team and some good clients that will help us to take the first steps towards that ambition.

"We know that AI is a very hot space that's going to gain more and more recognition and we want to throw our hat in the ring to be one of the major players within a few years."

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