IBM launches Watson customer service smart bot

The IBM Watson Engagement Advisor can scan a big data repository and return an answer within seconds

Yoking cognitive computing with customer service, IBM has launched a system that can reference large amounts of unstructured data to help companies better field customer phone calls.

The IBM Watson Engagement Advisor uses IBM's Watson, the artificial intelligence software the company developed to compete on the Jeopardy game show two years ago.

According to IBM, the field of customer service is in dire need of improvement. Of the 270 billion customer service calls that are handled annually, approximately 50 per cent go unresolved. "Many customers engage with a brand through the call center," and because call centers tend to frustrate customers, the company's brand suffers as a result, said Craig Hayman, general manager of industry solutions for IBM's Software Group, during a teleconference announcing the package.

The Engagement Advisor can help answer questions, offer suggestions to aid in the purchasing process, or to help customers troubleshoot issues. Just as it was able, in a few seconds, to scan, review and select the best answer for Jeopardy questions, so too should the Watson technology be able to quickly provide relevant information for customer inquiries, drawing from a large amount of information.

Unlike most commercially available customer service chat bots, the Engagement Advisor can also learn over time how to better respond to human inquiries, said Manoj Saxena, IBM general manager in the IBM software group, during the teleconference. It can also accept questions in natural spoken language, provide references to back its answers, and work across multiple platforms, such as a computer and a mobile phone, Saxena said.

Companies could use the technology either to assist human customer service representatives as they field calls, or have it interact directly with customers through an online chat client via the "Ask Watson" feature. IBM will host Engagement Advisor as a service, or it can be deployed on premises. A Watson-based system can now be run on a single IBM Power 750 server running Linux.

A number of companies are already testing the technology, including ANZ Bank, the Nielsen market research company, Malaysia's Celcom mobile network and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Since Watson's triumph on Jeopardy, IBM has managed to optimise the code base, gaining a 240 per cent improvement in system performance. The company is putting the technology to work in a number of different commercial fields, including health care and cancer research.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Are you sure they wont start a platform that the cheese is white, pretty sure that is racist

Hite

New brand name for Coon Cheese revealed

Read more

Real digital transformation requires reshaping the way the business create value for customers. Achieving this requires that organization...

ravi H

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

thanks

Lillian Juliet

How Winedirect has lifted customer recency, frequency and value with a digital overhaul

Read more

Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities....

Sheetal Kamble

​Jurlique’s move to mobile POS set to enhance customer experience

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Why does brand execution often kill creativity?

The launch of a new brand, or indeed a rebrand, is a transformation to be greeted with fanfare. So why is it that once the brand has launched, the brand execution phase can also be the moment at which you kill its creativity?

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in