China Mobile WeChat Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay BICS has launched a new customer support AI Agent tailored for Chinese customers. The new solution has been developed with Cognigy. BICS noted that international travel to and from China doubled during the Golden Week holiday in 2023, compared to 2022. The product is, therefore, timely. The new capability integrates with WeChat, still the most popular social media communication platform in China. It has over 1 billion active users, according to Statista.

Users can message BICS in Chinese about any questions. The application translates the questions into English for the BICS support team and backend systems to analyse and react. Using the Cognigy conversational AI Platform has enabled BICS to directly interact with customers who may have an issue in their native language. No matter where they have travelled to.

While BICS already provides a connection to WhatsApp as part of its CPaaS platform, this latest development will help it improve the customer experience for Chinese travellers using its roaming Network. BICS has partnered with China Unicom since 2017 to provide instant roaming for its customers outside China.

How Cognigy makes it work

The solution uses a mix of technology vendors. Conversations within WeChat are moved to a customised BICS solution via AWS. Cognigy then translates the text using its platform, which sits on the Microsoft Azure platform. The translated text is then presented to the BICS support team within Salesforce. It means that the BICS support team has the power of its Salesforce platform available.

Asked whether the support desk can use their native tongue language for responses, BICS replied, “Yes. We use Azure translation services to make sure the customer can use his/her mother tongue, and on our own Live Chat we can use standard English as a conversational language. All is real-time translated, without a hassle.”

Malcolm Chan, Senior Vice President, Enterprise, Asia Pacific at BICS. Image credit - LinkedIn
Malcolm Chan, Senior Vice President, Enterprise, Asia Pacific at BICS

Malcolm Chan, Senior Vice President, Enterprise, Asia Pacific at BICS, commented, “This is a significant enhancement to the user experience for our Chinese customers. It not only tailors our chatbot services, available in most other markets, to the region but also meets our customers where they are, using their preferred platform. Users can easily make queries in their mother tongue while accessing BICS’ global support team, made possible by recent advances in generative AI and the excellent support and platform from our partners at Cognigy.”

Guardrails and ensuring accuracy

The solution had to meet the Chinese privacy requirements. Ensuring that phone numbers are not shared using WeChat, which is against its regulations. The platform, therefore, uses an alternative and secure ID verification solution to confirm the user’s identity. BICS did not share what this is.

The key, however, will be the accuracy of the translations and what guardrails the company has put in place. When asked about this, BICS replied, “You can do a lot before you go live with such a solution: compare different offerings, test them, have our own local team challenge the results, skipping the “edge cases” using translation markers.

“It took us a while to find the correct set-up. We also have a way to evaluate the sent translations afterwards, which we’ll do to make sure we offer the best of quality.”

To help ensure that the responses are accurate, BICS has taken a sensible approach of restricting what is asked/answered. BICS commented, “The platform has a limited set of automated tasks we custom built into it – things it can handle, do, and show. We are looking into adding extra knowledge to it. Our focus and first priority were opening this important WeChat channel, so we can reach out to our customers using their preferred app.”

Made possible with Cognigy

Cognigy was only made available on the Azure Marketplace last month. It is, however, being recognised as a leader in its field. It ranked as a leader in the recent IDC MarketScape for Conversational AI Software 2023. Gartner also recognized it in its Voice of the Customer Report. The platform is also winning customers, with over 1,000 brands, including Nuuday. Using it to revolutionise its customer service with AI agents.

Philipp Heltewig, CEO and Founder of Cognigy adds to this achievement, “We extend our congratulations to BICS for their impressive tech solution for the Chinese market. BICS has demonstrated great innovation in overcoming unique market challenges, and we commend its commitment to enhancing customer experiences.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The announcement highlights the potential for other non-Chinese organisations that have customers. Either through a partnership or direct within the country. It will be interesting to see whether Cognigy can develop other similar relationships. For BICS, they can add what will hopefully be a proven customer service solution for Chinese partners.


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