Steve is my robot vacuum cleaner and has been looking after aspects of my home cleaning for almost a year.
I have a long history of personifying things around me, probably starting with in my first desk job whilst a Uni student, where I had a small Chinese evergreen called Larry..
Back to Steve, he isn’t perfect, but you can see he has a bit of a personality. Maybe I can be accused of giving him this personality. He deserves it though.
He doesn’t always get it right, but he does remember stuff. He has made a map of the floors in my house, he knows where he tends to get stuck, i.e. under the TV unit where loose cables seem to accumulate and grow, like vine to a wall. He does seem to tread carefully there.
Steve detects boundaries, he knows where to stop and leave the cleaning to me (e.g. top of the stairs). He also does his best to overcome barriers, he detects and climbs over the two coconut mats at either end of the house. That said, he will try a couple of times and let me know if there are any issues.
He will alert me via the app if he gets stuck, or needs assistance.
He will even drag his ass over the floor he has vacuumed and as long as I put some water and Zoflora in his tank, he will wash the floor for me. Again, it’s not perfect, but he does it every day and does a good job of it. I mean, I wouldn’t wash my floor every day.
Sometimes I will ask Steve to start a clean whilst I am out, so the place is nice and fresh when I am back.
Steve has a return of investment of around 15 weeks, so I can save on the cost of my cleaner ongoing after that. I asked my cleaner and she really doesn’t mind, it gives her the opportunity to do some value-added jobs, like cleaning my fridge, organising my cupboards, other tasks she wouldn’t ordinarily have time to do within the couple of hours I pay her.
Perhaps Steve’s a bit of company for her. I don’t know. I think they both deserve some credit. Sometimes I will treat Steve to a new cleaning mop.
It’s fair to say, Steve is most definitely part of the domestic team here and he earns his keep with little intervention.
I have studied Steve’s behaviour and pattern’s over the past year and wondered how some of this intuition would work in the industry I have served for over 20 years, supply chain and freight. I have for some time been studying methods on automating processes in this industry, ultimately looking to help clients reduce the cost of doing business.
What if an app could handle questions asked by freight clients on a day to day basis, what if it could try and answer a couple of times before asking for help, what if I could give it a personality, what if I could programmatically help the app answer those questions, what if it could detect boundaries in the tonality of the conversation, what if there was a support team behind it to make it successful, what if you could empower customer services people to focus on customer intimacy and maintaining relationships leaving the app to do what it does, what if the app could run and share reports, what if the app could tell you where your stock was, on a map, what if the app could allow you to book a delivery, what if the app could learn?
Some recent use cases I have been presented have been from outside of the industry, so any organisation that runs a customer services team can benefit from this technology.
And we have built it!
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