TL; DR: SentiOne is a provider of AI-powered social listening and customer service automation tools designed to help businesses better engage customers. Social listening, data analytics, chatbots, voice bots, and omnichannel support help brands monitor and react to the activities of both clients and their competition. These cloud-hosted services are especially vital due to their ability to support brands in a rapidly expanding ecommerce market and remote workplace.
Black Friday has never been for the faint of heart. You’re waking up early to wait in long outdoor lines, avoiding shouting matches between desperate customers, and forking over money for things you may not need in the name of a deal.
Set against the backdrop of this year’s ongoing pandemic and economic downturn, the scene is far more grisly. Packed lines make social distancing impossible. Tighter budgets make needless spending more reckless.
And those yelling matches? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, forceful exhalations from an infected person, including coughs, sneezes, and shouting, can cause a significant number of coronavirus particles to be lodged into the air.
It’s no wonder that many retailers are shifting their Black Friday events online. Fortunately, a web-based Black Friday doesn’t mean retailers can’t be closely connected to their shoppers.
Companies like SentiOne make it easy to gather input from your customers and react to their needs via automation. The company’s platform provides a clear view of customer conversations occurring on various web channels, including social media, news sites, blogs, and forums.
“It’s all about the ability to be closer to your customers,” said Agnes Uba, Product Marketing Manager at SentiOne. “We can provide you with data and insights about your customers, whether in terms of your brand, your competition, or the trends in the industry. Then we save you time and resources with the online customer service tools.”
SentiOne’s online listening tools, omnichannel integration, and conversational bots make it easier than ever to take customer service to the next level as shoppers migrate online at unprecedented rates.
The Original Focus: A Social Media Search Engine
SentiOne was co-founded in 2011 by two computer science students and one business student on a mission to create the Google of social media.
“They were looking to crawl social media and analyze all the different mentions, comments, opinions, feedback, and customer communication on social media, web forums, new sites, blogs — everything,” Agnes said. “So that’s what they did. They decided to pursue the idea of online monitoring, and became one of the first Eastern European companies of its kind.”
The company has experienced rapid growth over the past nine years. Today, the SentiOne is available in 26 languages and boasts more than 500 clients, mainly in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector.
Angus told us that SentiOne serves as a go-to platform for market discovery. Say, for instance, that L’Oréal Paris is in the product development stage for a new type of lipstick.
“With SentiOne, they can scan for online opinions about any lipstick or any beauty product to determine what colors are trending, what type of packaging, branding, messaging, design — whatever it might be — so they can see what’s selling,” she said. “It’s part online research and market research, but without all the time and money spent on focus groups.”
SentiOne drastically improves accessibility in multiple ways. Since it’s hosted on the cloud, there’s no need to download software. Each user simply logs on to the system via their browser. And, because a wide range of social media platforms can be integrated into the platform, it provides one convenient source of customer truth.
Discover, React, and Automate via AI
Agnes told us that the customer service portion of the SentiOne platform came as a result of customer feedback.
“They said, ‘Listen, it’s cool that we can monitor online mentions of my brand, but I would love to reply to all those questions, opinions, and feedback. I’d love to get into the discussion,’” she said. “So, a few years ago, we launched our second line of products, SentiOne React, an online customer service tool where we combine all different digital channels.”
With React, users can join online discussions on a range of social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, email and online forums, and other outlets. Users can reply to all channels through one brand management tool, making it easy to avoid crises, build customer relationships, and keep customers loyal.
After implementing the React tool, SentiOne users began asking about solutions to manage customer requests. Many were overwhelmed by the volume of requests they were receiving across various channels. That’s when the company’s third product line, SentiOne Automate, came to life.
“We managed to secure public grant money for research, so we have our own team of 30 people dedicated to AI and natural language processing (NLP) that we use to analyze anything that’s happening in text,” Agnes said. “We also built voice and chatbots, which typically handle 30% to 40% of customer requests.”
A Data-Driven Company Committed to Accuracy
Spearheaded by computer science buffs, SentiOne has always been technologically driven. “We are very proud to be a deeply tech-oriented company — that’s the core of the business,” Agnes said.
In November, SentiOne announced that the company had been selected a finalist in EIT Digital’s renowned EIT Digital Challenge. The company was recognized for its cutting-edge chatbot technology, rapid growth in AI-based customer service automation, and ability to facilitate digital transformation in Poland’s top banks during COVID-19.
“We’ve been implementing AI in our software before it started to get sexy,” Agnes said. “We have it in our technology and our social listening tool. We also have sentiment analysis, where our algorithm can detect whether an online conversation is positive, negative, or neutral. It can also detect emotions.”
SentiOne’s years in the industry put the company at an advantage data-wise. The company has been monitoring and measuring data sets of various emotions for nearly a decade. In the world of AI, the more data you have, the more accurate your results will be.
“We’ve integrated years of publicly available data from social listening into our AI platforms, so our engine is extremely accurate,” Agnes said.
SentiOne gathers data only through official APIs. The company is fully compliant with the GDPR in its data handling and access permissions are managed by the platform owners and reviewed on a regular basis.
“We are not scanning messages unless the brand is has authorized its profile,” she said. “For the online customer platform, brands have to authorize their accounts so we can collect data. But, overall, we are only tracking and monitoring only what’s publicly available. And also we are compliant with all of the API rules of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.”
The company even offers various hosting options to satisfy GDPR requirements.
“All of our social listening and our online customer service tools are hosted on the cloud,” Agnes said. “ However, the chatbot product can be hosted on a cloud service of your choice or on-premises on your infrastructure. Some of our clients, usually banks, especially in Europe, require all of their data to be handled in Europe on their infrastructure.”
A Focus on Expansion and Education
SentiOne’s ultimate goal is to expand its customer base, helping users worldwide monitor, react to, and automate the customer experience.
“We’re trying to educate the market further about how important it is to stay very close to your customers, especially during a pandemic and lockdown,” Agnes said. “For us, that means going into new markets.”
SentiOne recently opened its first office in Mexico and is conceptualizing a possible location in the growing MENA market.
“We’re currently raising a Series A round, so I cannot reveal too much, but we are growing,” she said.