Returns, refunds, and quality control questions are among the most common types of customer service tickets. Not only are these tedious, but they also leave little time for more sophisticated demands, such as transmitting product information or assisting a customer in finding the best product for them. Zowie co-founders Maja Schaefer and Matt Ciolek believe that much of that monotonous labour can automate. They started the company in 2019, combining their product development and customer survey knowledge from working with an e-commerce startup.
“We found that prior solutions were not solving customer service since their installation was so difficult,” CEO Schaefer told TechCrunch. “It would take months to put in place, then be difficult to sustain.” They presented chatbots to a client as a repeatable work solution, and after being charged with constructing them in a couple of weeks, they came up with the idea for Zowie.
It is not new to use AI-powered chatbots for customer assistance. Companies like Forethought, Heyday, Cognigy, Landbot, and Heyflow have all announced financing in this field in the last year. Some competitors, however, need the organization to input responses and other workflow information into the application, according to Schaefer. Instead, Zowie’s Zowie X1 technology automates request workflows that customized to a product or brand from the start. In minutes, the company can analyze data and tell a customer what proportion of support tickets Zowie can handle, which can be as high as 50%.
According to Schaefer, chatbots free up around two hours each day per agent, allowing them to take on queries that the chatbot does not answer, manage sophisticated issues, and convert more assistance into sales. Customers can generate up to 45 percent more revenue on average, she claimed. After seeing its revenue triple between 2020 and 2021, the firm opted to raise $5 million in a seed round led by Gradient Ventures and 10xFounders, with participation from Lattice CEO Jack Altman, Giesswein CEO Markus Giesswein, and returning investor Inovo Venture Partners.
Giesswein is one of the company’s approximately 100 customers. She plans to spend the money on product development, marketing, and sales, as well as expanding the commercial staff in the US and across North America. Zowie now employs 36 people, with plans to expand that number this year. Automation across as many channels as possible, from websites to email to Whatsapp, is one of the product features the firm is trying to expand, as is the ability for salespeople to travel through the client journey.
Gradient Ventures general partner Darian Shirazi says his firm was drawn to Zowie in part because of the company’s rapid sales growth and the business that the founders are establishing. “When we looked at Zowie, one of the differentiators we saw was that it was the first AI chatbot for e-commerce that generated your knowledge base,” he explained. “Others must provide the knowledge basis to answer the inquiries, and some businesses simply do not have the resources to do so.” We looked around the chatbot market and found that no one had done a good job with e-commerce, which is a huge vertical.”