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The Service Widget Wonder: Nanorep's Scalable, Self-Learning Question-and-Answer Tool Has Clients Seeing Significantly Less Consumer Demand for Live Agent Assistance

NanoRep CEO Doron Herzlich says proudly that his fledgling company "didn't invent self-service, but instant self-service."

This bold statement is not just typical corporate posturing. Launched in 2009, the Israeli company is revolutionizing e-commerce with its recent introduction of the first sales and customer support ticketing system that provides instant, accurate answers for customers via self-service across all support channels, including email, forums, live chat, Web support pages, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

"Within the few months since we launched nanoRep, the number of calls into our call center declined, with an increase in our customers' satisfaction," said Elik Kaplan, service operations manager at IKEA Tel-Aviv, in a statement. "We have learned that using nanoRep for answering new customers' [questions] online instantly has the highest impact on our customers' purchase decisions and on a reduction in incoming support calls."

NanoRep does this via a scalable, self-learning question-and-answer tool that can be placed anywhere on a Web site as a floating widget that follows customers across every page on the site or can be embedded within company support, contact, or Facebook pages. Companies input their FAQs into a single knowledge base via the nanoRep API, and with every customer question asked and responded to by a support rep or member of an online community, the knowledge base automatically builds itself up. When, for example, a chat session leads to a new issue being resolved, both the questions and answers are learned by nanoRep and added to the knowledge base. In this way, a single chat session now has the power to resolve the same issue instantly for millions of customers in the future.

NanoRep claims that after three months, it can accurately answer up to 92 percent of customers' questions without escalating them to a live contact center agent.

NanoRep's widget supports 34 languages, and with a natural language interface, it can recognize up to 190,000 questions, no matter how they are phrased. The company promises up to 90 percent accuracy in understanding each site visitor's requests on the first attempt.

The company has a vested interest in making sure that site visitors get the right answers quickly. Its business model is built on monthly subscriptions, with pricing based on the number of accurate, instant answers nanoRep provides to its clients' customers each month. Small-business pricing for nanoRep begins at $199 per month for up to 1,500 answers.

NanoRep also stores its information in free text, eliminating the need for site visitors to flip through multiple FAQ pages, select categories, and then read all the entries that come up in response to entered keywords.

NanoRep's business benefits go far beyond the contact center. On the sales side, nanoRep can answer questions about products and promotions, strengthening customers' site engagement and comfort with online purchasing. The result, according to the company, is decreased site abandonment and a 15 percent increase in sales conversions.

The tool can help marketing departments find out about customer needs and wants. All nanoRep searches are logged, and detailed analytics reports let clients' marketing departments know the types of questions asked and answered each month and who provided the answers.

NanoRep was originally funded by a grant from Israel's Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor, but has been growing organically on its own as well. And this past winter, it launched an integration with LivePerson's intelligent engagement platform to improve customer service for online businesses during the holidays. That alliance allowed online merchants to automatically display relevant answers to customer questions from their nanoRep knowledge base without having to leave their existing live chat sessions.

NanoRep claims that its solution can be integrated with any other third-party ticketing and CRM system. "And as we continue to grow, I'm sure we'll see some competition come up," Herzlich says.

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