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IBM - Best Use of Technology in Customer Service

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Company: IBM, Armonk, NY
Company Description: IBM is a values-based enterprise of individuals who create & apply technology to make the world work better. Today, more than 400,000 IBM employees around the world invent and integrate hardware, software and services to help forward-thinking enterprises, institutions and people succeed on a smarter planet.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Use of Technology in Customer Service - Other Service Industries

Nomination Title: Capitalizing on the Power of Cognitive Technology to Deliver Outstanding Client Experience

Tell the story about how technology has improved your customer service initiatives since the beginning of July 2017 (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:

EMEA Quote to Cash (Q2C) Operations are eager adopters of technology that makes support to our clients instantaneous, accurate and available at any time.

IBM Cognitive (AI) capabilities are appropriated by local teams, scaled and replicated, to successfully boost seller efficiency and customer support excellence. Project teams in different locations tapped the power of Watson Assistant (formerly IBM Watson Conversation), adapted the same core to local user groups, languages and information corpuses, and overcame the intrinsic limitations of human information sharing.

Clients request IBM Company Information (ICI) in every RFI, RFP and proposal; our sales teams need this information to be fully up-to-date, at their fingertips.

Clients also contact our Accounts Receivable (A/R) teams for administrative support (Customer Support On Line – CSOL shields sales from having to field those types of questions themselves).

Our recent deployment of Watson-enabled solutions had a significant, positive impact on our sales teams and our ability to promptly address our clients’ administrative queries.

ICI cognitive capabilities were deployed in France and Germany. The chatbots, powered by IBM Watson Assistant, answer natural-language questions, with additional insight that delivers specific answers and recommendations to each seller. The French chatbot with artificial intelligence – a gateway to other chatbots – is fast (answers in less than 5 seconds), can understand natural language in French just like humans and interpret the meaning behind what is written.

The German ICI is constantly learning and ensures provision of German and global information, 100% pertinent for German requirements; the solution is flexible and open, so that any Watson Assistant-based Chatbot can be integrated in minutes – several were already.

The CSOL Adviser chatbot helps our staff address clients’ queries accurately and promptly. It supports agents responding in real time to customer enquiries. The project consolidated the full corpus of CSOL FAQ, into a single database. Watson Assistant was then trained to create nodes between the topics and the corresponding answers. The last step was to link the database to Slack and IBM Sametime platforms. This cuts down waiting time, as the information is available to agents in a matter of seconds. This information is fed back to the client immediately, improving the customer experience.

Teams are sharing experience and best practices: IBM Belgium is now replicating the German ICI solution.

Business outcomes since inception:

-Time & workload saving via quick access and search to current ICI and CSOL information;
-Very easy and fast for sellers, bid managers and others to find reliable and validated IBM Company information, and for A/R agents to access pertinent client data and responses;
-Solutions mask the complexity of data storage, ensuring ICI is accurate, up-to-date and relevant for the respective Markets, and CSOL agents can provide impactful and immediate responses to clients.
-The chatbots delivered up to 98% total cycle time reduction as compared to the previous process and over 15,000 workhours savings.


In Germany:
-More than 6.100 responses from 18 IBM company information categories, e.g. ISO, quality, certifications, company profile, revenue figures, IBM locations, corporate responsibility, environmental information, etc. and constantly learning;
-Nearly 370 users have ICI as their primary Chatbot;
-Over 800 conversations per month;
-Reduced cycle time by 20 minutes for each conversation;
-Roughly 6400 work hours saved annually.

In Spain:
-The CSOL Chatbot assists 200+ collectors performing CSOL activities, supporting 5000+ requests in the Web Request Tracking (WRT) tool and 28000+ calls per year;
-90% of users state that the chatbot helps reply faster and more efficiently to our clients and 70% of users state that it helps to save time on new employee training;
-Roughly 700+ work hours saved annually.

In France:
Within only two months,the “Sherlock“ Chatbot already yielded:
-524 conversations
-2057 responses for 43 categories
-User satisfaction @94%: feedback and comments monitored real-time through a dashboard and integrated in the chatbot learning process for improvement.
-Roughly 98% total cycle time reduction with estimated 8000+ work hours saving.