I’ll Take Customer Engagement for $1000, Alex
Daniel Davis 270006VHAC firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  self_service customer_service consumers customer_engagement watson self-service smarter_commerce enagement wea watson_engagement_advisor
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There will soon come a time when we no longer think of Watson as “that computer that won on Jeopardy!” The cognitive computing marvel is set to touch our lives in ways great and small, including ones we might not have expected – for instance, by improving customer engagement.
Watson in the World
Watson is already hard at work in the healthcare industry, aiding physicians at institutes such as Wellpoint, Inc. and Memorial Sloan Kettering with data-driven recommendations on critical decisions. While as an IBMer I’m proud of that use of Watson and as a human I’m heartened by it, knock on wood I don’t have to take advantage of it any time soon.
As a customer, however, I’m looking forward to Watson impacting my life in more immediate ways. At Smarter Commerce Global Summit, Vince Padua, Director, IBM Watson and Rahul Garg, Product Manager, IBM Watson explained how all of us as consumers stand to benefit from a new solution of the cognitive system, already in place at some IBM clients, called Watson Engagement Advisor (WEA).
Watson as Cognitive Agent Advisor
Imagine this: You do a web search trying to find a fix for your malfunctioning mobile phone. Not knowing which of the fifteen different answers the web spits back at you you’re supposed to follow, you call customer service.
You ask the customer service agent your question, she asks WEA, and you get an answer back much more quickly than if the agent had to spend time looking it up herself. The agent can see the evidence the answer was based on as well as Watson’s confidence rating on the answer.
Watson as Empowered Virtual Agent
Or, you’re more of the self-service type. You log on to your carrier’s site and, in natural language, you ask WEA how to update your phone. You get an evidence-backed answer, but that’s not all – WEA will also advise you on a different plan that will cut your monthly bill. Not a canned daily offer, mind you, but a specific plan which Watson has determined will in fact save you money based on your actual usage.
Then if you need to follow up on the phone update, the next time you log on, WEA remembers the content and context of your previous interaction, so you don’t have to start from square one.
Watson Learns, You Benefit
These examples become more powerful when you realize that due to Watson’s ability to learn, you’re going to continue to get faster and more personalized engagement. You will benefit from the knowledge Watson accumulates in its interactions with others. You will get more tailored advice as Watson remembers its interactions with you. Padua and Garg’s credo is, “Don’t just meet customers’ expectations – exceed them.”
Companies that deploy WEA will benefit from fewer and shorter customer service calls, shorter ramp-up time for agents, increased customer satisfaction and more. But by my calculation the consumer is the real winner in this game.
Padua and Garg spoke of Watson’s ability to leverage multiple algorithms to perform deeper analysis and other equally impressive-sounding attributes. The first time I ask WEA a self-service question, however, and it immediately provides me with a single, easy-to-follow fix, that’s what’s really going to impress me.
If you’d like to learn more:
Watson Landing Page: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/meet-watson-engagement-advisor.html
Watson Engagement Advisor Journey Map: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/meet-watson-engagement-advisor.html
Or you can reach out to Rahul Garg directly at email@example.com.