By Sindhu Joseph, founder of Cognicor – a Wayra Barcelona startup
As long as you believe in what you do, failure is no more than a lesson learnt.
The aim of Cognicor is to change the way companies improve their customer experience with the aid of artificial intelligence. We were recently honoured as “startup of the year” by the European Digital Assembly which was thrilling. But some background first…
I did a Phd at Insitituto de Investigación en Inteligencia Artificial – Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona, with support and funding from CSIC and the Spanish Ministry of Science. As a research engineer and inventor of 6 US Technology patents, I’ve developed the core technology used in Cognicor products.
After losing my lugagge several times and lots of emails, calls and even faxes in between (waiting four months to get compensation from the airline), I thought Cognicor would be a great solution for companies and customers.
Cognicor is an entreprise solution to make customer engagement more successful. We basically make complaints resolution processes faster and less costly.
Watch this video walkthrough that explains the concept:
I have started with small complaints that are easy to solve but can be time consuming for people, such as lost baggage or overcharges in phone bills. These are complaints that happen everyday and can have a big impact on customer satisfaction.
At Cognicor, we have technologies that are ready to automate these kind of problems and both consumers and enterprises can benefit from them. Many big companies run expensive call centres and it’s often the case that customers don’t like dealing with them. We believe that it is possible to resolve 60% of complaints automatically, learning from past complaints resolution and that only a small portion are really complex.
With Cognicor you can get a really fast resolution and because of the efficiency and intelligence behind its processes, end customers are really happy and don’t quarrel with the company.
Did you know that the cost of bad customer service is estimated to be ten times the entire cost of actual complaint handling?
The European scene for entrepreneurs and startups is interesting. I have some doubts about the current legislation in Europe – it is quite inflexible and does not provide the correct tools to start new ventures. In Spain, for example, you don’t have possibilities to start a Limited Liability Company and you will remain liable for the rest of your life if you fail, and you can’t give share options to your employees. That needs to change.
Wayra has taught me that despite the frustrations involved in setting up a startup, hard work pays off. I’ve also realised that if you are not strong enough, starting a new business is probably not the best option to take. But if you have real focus, you want to change or improve something, resolve a problem that can improve people’s lives, then it’s the best place to be.
Advice to other budding startups? Always do a market study, be close to the market and know who your customer is, even if your product is not ready. The closer you are, the more you can understand their problems and work out better solutions for them.
Lastly – and on a slightly personal note – I know I get some attention for being a woman. But I don’t see any difference… I have forged my way through and it was always my dream to create a company. I just never thought I couldn’t do it.