After spending more than a decade in the customer experience industry, three friends, Jaime Scott, Michelle Dinsmore and Alex Richards, decided to launch their own company, EvaluAgent, to develop quality assurance testing software for contact centers.

The three co-founders say that they were motivated by a shared desire to find a solution to the problem of contact center manager overwork. Reviewing customer calls and texts for quality assurance calls takes time — so much time, in fact, that it’s rarely done regularly. According to one source, only between 1% and 2% of calls to a contact center actually get evaluated.

“At its heart, the contact center’s role is to serve customers,” Scott, who serves as the company’s CEO, told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Those customers are human beings and, as such, are always going to demand a level of service and experience technology alone won’t be able to offer. Our belief is that the greater the employee experience for agents, the greater the customer experience they’ll be able to offer.”

Scott, Dinsmore and Richards incorporated EvaluAgent in 2012. The team grew quickly, but was largely focused on working with a small number of corporate clients. That changed in 2018 and 2019, when Scott says the leadership recognized a gap in the market for a more flexible software-as-a-service-based quality assurance testing solution.

Today, EvaluAgent’s platform aims to help quality assurance staff analyze conversations — both text and voice — across channels to coach and train customer agents. Via mostly automated workflows, EvaluAgent tries to boost the efficiency of QA teams, showing quality assurance-related stats in a unified dashboard.

Managers can give employee feedback via EvaluAgent’s dedicated tool while employees can find answers to common questions in EvaluAgent’s built-in company knowledge base.

“EvaluAgent not only delivers quality assurance, but also provides customers with tools to ensure that evaluators’ findings convert to ongoing behavior change in the agent base,” Scott said. “Altogether, the platform represents a complete system of record for contact centers’ quality teams.”

EvaluAgent also offers an automated scoring system, driven by a combination of speech recognition technologies and OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The system, SmartScore, transcribes conversations if necessary and uses ChatGPT — an AI chatbot that understands text — to summarize them for insights, rating line items and providing coaching tips.

“Out-of-the-box key moments, such as customer frustration, repeat contact, and complaint escalation, are automatically tagged,” Scott explained. “It … empowers organizations to achieve more interaction coverage and streamline the quality assurance process while keeping quality teams in full control.”

Image Credits: EvaluAgent

One wonders about bias creeping into the algorithms used to evaluate agents’ actions, though. After all, studies have shown that AI is more likely to classify Black speech as “toxic” or “offensive.” And it’s well-understood that voice recognition tech, too, is racially and ethnically biased. So can SmartScore be trusted?

Scott didn’t elaborate on which measures, if any, EvaluAgent takes to combat bias in its algorithms. But he stressed that they aren’t intended to replace human quality assurance evaluators.

“EvaluAgent has made investments in its technical resources to incorporate the best AI models available for its use cases,” he said. “We are model-agnostic, which we believe is a significant advantage in the modern rapidly-evolving AI landscape. Additional AI-fueled innovation and automation, which incorporate the latest AI models but allow quality assurance teams to remain at the center of key workflows, will follow on the back of this financing.”

The lack of transparency hasn’t gotten in the way of the company’s success, it seems. EvaluAgent claims it’s seen revenue grow nearly fivefold over the last three years, with customers ranging from Fortune 500 enterprises to mid-market business process outsourcers and tech companies.

The momentum captured the attention of major investors, which poured cash into EvaluAgent’s Series A. Announced today, the Series A, led by PeakSpan, closed at $20 million, bringing EvaluAgent’s total raised to $21 million.

PeakSpan’s Phil Dur, the lead partner on the deal, says that he saw “tremendous opportunity” in what he described as the “quality arena.” That’s despite stiff competition in the over-$35.3-billion space, apparently — startups including Invoca offer features similar to — but not exactly the same as — EvaluAgent’s.

“Having spent years studying the category, we believe EvaluAgent is the strongest vendor of quality assurance and performance improvement software,” Dur said via email. “The platform shines for small and mid-market contact centers, while maintaining the capacity to serve enterprise-level businesses with large contact center operations.”

Scott says that the Series A funding will be put toward enriching its products, expanding its remote team and supporting customers in “new and existing geographies.”

“Roughly 25% of the contact center market still runs their QA programs on spreadsheets, while another portion makes the best of in-house legacy tools,” he said. “Contact centers are facing a new dynamic — balance leaner staff and fewer onsite agents with an increasingly demanding customer (call volumes, hold times and escalations have been steadily rising) all while optimizing cost to navigate a potentially choppy macroenvironment.”

EvaluAgent raises $20M to build out software that evaluates call center agents by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch