LivePerson, Inc., and IBM have announced LiveEngage with Watson, the enterprise-scale, out-of-the-box integration of Watson-powered bots with human agents that combine IBM’s Watson Virtual Agent technology with LivePerson’s LiveEngage platform, to accelerate customer service.
LiveEngage with Watson allows brands to easily deploy conversational bots that get smarter with each interaction. Thereafter, it lets consumers message brands from their smartphone through the brand’s app, SMS, Facebook Messenger, or even the brand’s mobile site.
“LiveEngage with Watson is designed to meet the needs of today’s ‘always on’ consumers and deliver the sort of timely, high quality brand experience that they expect. This is yet another powerful example of how cognitive technologies like Watson are helping professionals improve and enhance how they interact with customers,” said David Kenny, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson and Cloud Platform.
To help companies integrate LiveEngage with Watson as part of their broader business transformation, IBM Global Business Services, the company’s consulting unit, is providing a set of strategy and implementation services.
IBM also plans to operate a Cognitive Care Center of Excellence, together with LivePerson to help enable brands to build experiences that learn, and adapt, into core processes, and deliver better engagement with customers.
Personalized interaction through AI-powered bots
LiveEngage with Watson helps brands deliver pre-set answers from AI-powered automated bots. A customer care representative is brought in seamlessly, in real-time, if a bot is not able to resolve an issue.
The enterprise–scale bot platform gives brands the ability to customize bots based on their own unique masses of data, ranging from product manuals to customer service guidelines. This enables a personalized interaction that can be up and running in a few days.
These bots can be informational, personalized, and transactional that can quickly address the most commonly raised customer service issues such as taking bill payments and finding contact information. The human expertise is leveraged when necessary to drive effective customer engagement.
Puts to rest the legacy voice-based customer support
Dimension Data reports that while there has been a 12 % decline in phone volume, there has been growth in every digital channel.
Customers make more than 270 billion phone calls to customer support lines each year. The customer care sector has lagged behind consumers in terms of technology adoption, still requiring most interactions to be conducted by analog voice call.
Forrester’s 2017 Customer Service Trends report revealed that “Customers of all ages are moving away from using the phone to using self-service, web and mobile self-service, communities, virtual agents, automated chat dialogs, or chatbots, as the first point of contact with a company”.
Robert LoCascio, Founder, and CEO, LivePerson, commented: “Providing customer care over 800 numbers is not just extremely costly, it is a poor and antiquated experience for consumers. Nobody likes waiting on hold. The partnership between IBM and LivePerson marries the technology and services to solve the problem at scale.”
“We’re working with top brands in the telecom and banking space right now to get this done, moving customer care away from costly, analog voice calls with frustrating hold times and toward consumer-friendly mobile messaging. No other company but IBM brings this sophistication of cognitive technology and breadth of supporting consulting and implementation services,” LoCascio said.