While many businesses use chatbots and other types of automation to handle their customer contact, Tone, based in Boston, is betting that humans will remain a key component of the equation.
Traditional bots and human models are, ‘Hi, I’m a machine, now you’re going to compete with me to finally get a human,'” said Tone CEO Tivan Amour.” “‘I’m a human using AI to get you the answers you need more easily,’ our version of that is.'”
“Amour and his co-founders Vlad Pick and Kyle Weidman founded a bike company named Fortified Bicycle earlier, and he said they” found out that the best way to close our customers on these orders of $750 to $1,000 was to directly engage them in conversations with text messages.
After all, individuals typically want to address their questions and concerns with another human being when it comes to “high consideration” purchases like bicycles. Over time, to help its sales team remain on top of these interactions, the Reinforced team designed what Amour said was a “semi-automated device”.
We began boasting about it to our colleagues, ‘You have to do this, it’s the future of mobile commerce,'” he remembered.” “And they’d say, ‘All right, that’s nice, but we don’t have any systems to do that, we don’t have vendors.'”
So, after selling Reinforced Bicycle, Amour and Pick generated Tone to help manage similar text message conversations for any e-commerce business. To do the messaging, Tone hires its team of human agents, helped by software that helps them locate the information they need.
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It interacts with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento, and it already partners with more than 1,000 brands such as ThirdLove, Peak Design, and Normal Wines, which are seeing a sales growth of 26 percent and an order size growth of 15 percent.
Tone today reported that it has raised $4 million in Bling Capital-led seed funding, with Day One Startups, One Way Startups, TIA Ventures, and Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Uber executives participating.
With the new funding, Amour said that Tone would be able to improve the product’s “relationship automation” feature. He also indicated that outside text messaging, the platform could potentially broaden, but it sounds like it is not a major priority.