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This Pakistani startup wants to replace much-hated customer service calls with an app

Tanzila is a blogger from Pakistan. She loves the tough task of being a mother, cooking, fashion, and her iPad Mini.

This Pakistani startup wants to replace much-hated customer service calls with an app

One Pakistani startup is looking to get companies around the world using its replacement for the much-hated customer service call system that often keeps people hanging on the line for ages listening to awful music.

Appography’s Vivid wants to get rid of waiting on the line and put customer service into an app. A helpline’s choices will be laid out on the phone’s screen, so they should be easier to navigate than the usual “press three for queries related to audio-visual issues; press four for queries about set-up” process that annoys everybody so much.

Aside from saving time, it can also make customer service more multimedia oriented, because people can send in pictures or a sound clip of the issue that’s causing them to call the company’s helpline. That can help the customer service representative give better assistance and not be so reliant on people describing their problem. There will still be someone to talk to – and, indeed, there will still be waiting times to speak to someone – but the idea is that less time will be spent in a sort of void, hanging on the line.

Omer Khan from Appography says that the usual sixty seconds of support-line calling can be replaced by six seconds of glancing and smartphone tapping.

Save customers’ time, save a company’s money

Vivid using apps for customer service

An example of Vivid’s system being used in a company’s own app.

Appography will sell Vivid to businesses as a white-label app, so the young company can make money from selling the service to companies and from after-sales support. Companies can then give the system to their customers wrapped in their own app. Appography claims it can save companies time and money, The team is offering a pilot run of six to eight weeks to clients that are early adopters. Khan explains to Tech in Asia:

Customer service is what makes or breaks a company especially in today’s competitive marketplace. [Interactive voice response] IVR causes a lot of frustration to an end-user. With Vivid in place, businesses can overcome this and build a far better brand image of themselves.

The startup is now being incubated by Plan 9 incubator in Lahore. Plan 9 has become instrumental in bringing to light some of Pakistan’s most promising startups.

Appography is the first startup in the current Plan9 batch to get seed funding. The investment comes from a firm in the UK (updated: the investor’s name is removed due to a legal issue). The team is busy right now being incubated and fine-tuned at the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in London until April 30. On top of that, the team is one of four Asian startups heading to Blackbox Connect in Silicon Valley for a two-week program later this month.

Appography is ready to launch Vivid to enterprises. The iOS apps for both customers and businesses have already been created, and Android versions are now in development.

(Editing by Steven Millward)


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