• March 27, 2017
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

The 2017 CRM Service Rising Stars: Cogito, Ergo CRM

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In 1637, Rene Descartes penned the famous line, “Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am).”

But while Descartes sought to use intelligence, thought, and self-awareness very broadly as proof of his own existence, in modern times these concepts are being applied much more specifically to contact center interactions to help agents better engage with customers. And one of the companies leading that effort, perhaps not by coincidence, is named Cogito.

Cogito, a real-time emotional intelligence software company founded in 2007, recently launched an update to its flagship Dialog product that makes it far more robust. The cloud-based application analyzes phone conversations in real time, monitoring them for speech subtleties, such as long pauses, conversational flow, vocal strain, or speedy chatter, to identify patterns and behaviors that could indicate customer annoyance, confusion, or disinterest, among other emotions. Then, through validated behavioral science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, Dialog provides real-time guidance for agents to better connect with the customers expressing those emotions.

Cogito’s approach differs greatly from the more traditional one of looking at the words spoken during a sampling of calls to provide insight into customers’ emotional states. Such approaches involve post-call evaluation of conversations using speech and text analytics and post-call customer surveys, which managers use to coach agents based on subjective criteria. Cogito’s Dialog technology has fundamentally changed that. The solution objectively analyzes the full scope of speaking behavior and provides an instant in-call measure of customer perception on every call. It eliminates the gap between measurement and coaching by providing live guidance to agents.

In an industry with 14 million agents engaging in hundreds of millions of customer calls daily, Cogito also changes the relationship between call center management and agents, making it far more objective and supportive. Agents become more engaged in their jobs, helping them avoid burnout and better serve customers.

“In the end, the purpose of our technology is to incite behavioral change within phone professionals to ensure they are better at their jobs and customers have a better experience,” says Steve Kraus, vice president of marketing at Cogito. “We view our AI technology as a means to accomplish that goal.”

To help with that, Cogito recently secured $15 million in series B funding, with support from OpenView, Salesforce Ventures, and others.

“Cogito combines AI-technology with decades of behavioral science research conducted by leading experts and validated through millions of real-world data points. This confluence of trailblazing technology, science, and an enterprise customer base is what gives Cogito an edge,” said Scott Maxwell, founder and managing partner of OpenView, in a statement. “Now more than ever, companies are competing to attract and retain customers through superior service. Cogito’s live in-call guidance and ability to provide an instant window into customer perception is helping drive dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction and employee engagement.”

Cogito currently has 15 enterprise customers, including CareFirst, Zurich, and a growing number of healthcare, insurance, and financial enterprises. At most of these firms, customer satisfaction has improved by greater than 20 percent and agent engagement by more than 50 percent. Health insurance provider Humana, for example, reports a 28 percent improvement in customer satisfaction and a 63 percent improvement in employee engagement since deploying Cogito’s technology.

Cogito recently inked a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which has begun using the company’s analytics platform and mobile application to better assess the mental health of veterans calling in for service and to identify at-risk callers who might need suicide prevention or other care.

Cogito plans to use its most recent funding round to continue its customer momentum by accelerating the development and delivery of deep learning and other advanced product capabilities. 


CEO: Joshua Feast

Founded: 2007

Headquarters: Boston

Revenue: N/A

Employees: 65

Customer Count: 15

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