IBM has announced the launch of new AI and automation capabilities in IBM Watson Assistant, designed to make it easier for businesses to create enhanced customer service experiences across any channel/platform.
The announcement includes a new collaboration with IntelePeer, a Communications Platform-as-a-Service provider, to set up and test a voice agent and a new agent app designed to enable a seamless hand-off to a live agent while maintaining the conversation’s context.
“One critical challenge facing nearly every business today is the need to better communicate with their customers and employees across all channels. We’re continuously delivering new innovations in natural language processing, automation and advancing responsible AI, and building a strong, open ecosystem with partners like IntelePeer to help businesses transform customer care with Watson Assistant,” said Daniel Hernandez, General Manager of Data and AI, IBM.
What are the new features?
- Add voice capabilities to Watson Assistant: The IntelePeer Atmosphere Communications Platform-as-a-Service is now available as an add-on in Watson Assistant so that users with a Plus and Enterprise plan can set up voice capabilities and a new phone number for a virtual agent quickly. Using IntelePeer, Watson Assistant is now designed to connect to nearly every major contact centre platform that uses the SIP protocol in as little as half an hour with no coding.
- Help customers resolve issues on the first contact with Watson Assistant Search Skill: Watson Assistant’s Search Skill feature now includes short-answer retrieval based on an innovative question-answering (QA) system from IBM Research. This enables the virtual agent to return an answer — in a few words — from longer sentences or passages and provide the context on where the answer came from. FAQ extraction is also now generally available in Search Skill.
- Facilitate a seamless hand-off with the new agent app: Watson Assistant’s new agent app feature is designed to help customer service agents pick up with a customer right where the virtual agent left off. When a customer calls in, IBM’s speech detection models, which are designed to provide more accurate transcriptions out-of-the-box, deliver a near real-time transcription of the conversation. When the hand-off occurs, the new agent app provides the customer service agent with the latest transcript right on their screen.
With constant developments in AI and natural language processing (NLP), virtual assistants are gaining popularity. According to IBM’s 2021 Global AI Adoption IndexMorning Consult on behalf of IBM, “Global AI Adoption Index 2021” (May 2021), 52% of global IT professionals surveyed report that their company is using or considering NLP solutions to improve customer experiences.