Clive and Emma – the new Virtual Assistants to Celcom Customer Service


(Caption for pic above: L-R: K. Raman (MD of Microsoft Malaysia) and Michael Kuehner (CEO, Celcom Axiata Bhd) at the strategic partnership signing ceremony. To K. Raman’s right stands “Genius”, the bot, which executed some nifty dance moves and was also a co-emcee today.

Celcom Axiata Berhad, recently launched its latest channel to better serve customers – an intelligent Virtual Agent service, in the personas of two young and trendy customer support agents, named Clive and Emma.

The name “Clive” was chosen as a codename of sorts to indicate “Celcom Live” whereas “Aisyah” gave way to “Emma” in a modern update of an ubiquitous name that can apply to most races. They certainly roll of the tongue easily.

Both Clive and Emma are powered with Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligent (A.I) and machine learning technology – which enable a customer to help co-create the personalities of Clive and Emma the more he or she interacts with them. The combination of technology, transaction capability and personality is touted to be the first of its kind in Asia.

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These capabilities will provide the opportunity for the virtual agents to initiate conversations with consumers with a personal and humanised touch, which certainly enhances customer experience. Microsoft’s machine learning feature will allow Clive and Emma to auto-learn question variations via a knowledge-based system that improves over time. Clive and Emma will also be integrated with Microsoft’s Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS), which results in a more natural chat experience compared to the more common static and pre-scripted interactions available in many other customer “chatbot” experiences today.

“There will be no dead end to the customer conversation,” says Rene Werner, Celcom’s Chief Customer Service and Experience Officer, “because at any time, a live agent can take over a consumer concern, at his request”.

Rene continues, “Clive and Emma enable us to serve our increasingly tech-savvy consumers around the clock in the channels they prefer – Online Care Web and soon, Social Media. We have chosen Microsoft as a partner with the most advanced technology for the best customer experience. This is for us, a stepping stone – as we will be adding more functionality, more channels and new interfaces in the coming months based on this platform.”

Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia added, “We believe that the AI building blocks that Microsoft is developing, such as computer vision, speech and knowledge recognition, should be made available to all so that they can create their own AI-based solutions. Our partnership with Celcom stems from this shared interest and vision.”

At the moment, Clive and Emma respond in English … they can also understand basic conversational Malay and believe it or not, some semblance of “Manglish”! In time to come, Celcom will be advancing these virtual agents’ Malay capabilities and is even toying with the idea of adding in Hokkien.


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