What was the scope of their involvement?
We first worked on a chatbot. The challenge was efficiency, cost, and automation. Around 80% of our calls make up for 20% of possible questions, and those can often be basic—many of the questions are easy and quick to answer, but there’s a high volume of them.
We decided to automate one part of our customer service using a chatbot implementation. Their team helped us structure a knowledgebase, which was later automated on the messaging platform via a chatbot. For instance, a customer could open a chat with us asking about their next due date. We would ask a couple of ID validation questions, and the chatbot would return an answer.
They also helped us develop a smart contract. Sometimes, our customers will either forget or intentionally challenge the fact that they took out a loan, in order to avoid paying it back. We’re an online fintech, so we’re not going to send out paper forms for people to sign, as that would be hugely inconvenient, expensive, and time-consuming. On the other hand, we needed something that was digital, yet still enforceable in a court of law.
We’ve come up with a smart contract that runs on blockchain. The lending contracts are registered, and they’re provable, using blockchain. They can be easily exported into PDF format and validated by anyone. This represents a huge step forward for us, both in terms of ability to enforce contracts and in leveraging blockchain as a real tool.
What is the team composition?
I usually work with 2–4 people from their team, depending on the exact nature of the task. When we need more development talent and UI people the team may expand to four people. On the smart contracts, the team was around three people.
How did you come to work with Sphere Software?
I’ve known Leon (CEO, Sphere Software) for a long time now, and it’s why I turned to him to meet our needs. The company I used to work also used their services. I always heard excellent feedback from my tech team about them, their quality, and their cost.
Leon has a unique structure, which I call “onshore/offshore”, whereby he’s sometimes able to make available offshore people who are onshore for specific amounts of time. This is cheaper, but it also enhances the skillset and knowledge of those people. I thought that it was a rather unique business model, which had a number of advantages.
What is the status of this engagement?
Within my current startup, we started working with them two years ago.