Cisco Systems - Best Use of Technology in Customer Service



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Company: Cisco Systems, Diegem, Belgium
Company Description: Cisco Systems is the world leader in networking equipments ranging from telephony, wireless, switching and routing, security, datacenter and servers.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Use of Technology in Customer Service

Nomination Title: Charlotte, the Virtual Service Request Assistant at Cisco TAC

Tell the story about how technology has improved your customer service initiatives since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

How Cisco’s Charlotte virtual assistant is transforming the customer service experience

A longtime challenge for tech support centers involves documenting and updating customer trouble tickets (or “cases”) when complex issues require assistance from different engineers or specialists.

Engineers typically prefer to spend time doing actual work rather than documenting and summarizing their work. So when a case is re-assigned to a specialist, the new engineer must parse through all the prior case notes to get up to speed. Enter “Charlotte,” the Cisco Technical Assistance Center’s new virtual assistant.

Charlotte is a server engine that parses case notes related to all customer trouble tickets. Charlotte then tracks the latest communications to the customer and whether the case contains a proper and recent summary (a summary is defined as current problem description, action plan and documented business impact) of the problem, customer impact and remediation plan. Charlotte embeds these updates directly within the engineer’s customary case tools to flag when a customer needs an update or the case was not updated in the past week.

In this way any engineer picking up the case can quickly resume where things were and customer satisfaction is preserved. Some cases are resolved quickly but other cases might take weeks or months due to their complexity or are treated through several support centers (24/7 support model) or have to change owner for week-end support and this is where Charlotte adds unprecedented value.

This transforms an old best practice that was time-consuming to maintain into a seamless requirement of the daily workflow that is assisted by automation.

Advantages are countless: any sudden case transfer where engineers could not complete a warm handover will provide a nearly identical experience to the customer as the new engineer can immediately rely on the notes and analysis of the previous one. Not only does it save a considerable amount of time for engineers but also to managers. In any customer escalation, the reviewing manager or escalation engineer can now get a very quick overview of the current status and identify if the current engineer is on track and what actions can be taken. Engineer won’t like to admit it, but it also prevents a given ticket to be forgotten about for some time as Charlotte will remind the engineer the case requires action. All this requires minimal efforts from the engineer as Charlotte shows the last updated case summary for the engineer to update with the latest information. Many small daily or weekly updates are smoother than requiring rarer but bigger summary re-write. This also brings value to the customer who can consult the case notes online and see the latest summary as written by the engineer.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to this database of case documentation, Charlotte can run many other algorithms and apply machine learning. A customer sentiment engine is currently being developed and will be able to raise a flag (and possibly reach out to managers or team leads) when a customer shows signs of impatience or unhappiness. A commitment engine (also being finalized currently) can also identify the commitments made by the engineer and populate a calendar with events like promised meetings, or simply dates where the engineer promised to get back with an update. A chat bot (based on Cisco Spark) is also being developed and will be able to answer when asked natural language questions and give a list of cases owned by a given engineer, or list of cases opened by a given customer, give the current status

(thanks to the case summary made by engineer) of a case or simply remind the engineer of the tasks he has for the day.

All these features and many more possible future updates truly make Charlotte the perfect virtual assistant to provide a constant and positive customer experience. The secret of Charlotte is that it’s made by engineers for engineers.