Cognitive AI Chatbot are key to winning future of Customer Service

Most brands are being asked to deliver client facing resolutions, as quickly as possible, to complete with demand and fend off the competition. Over the last few years many brands have started adopting new technologies like AI and chatbots to offer always-on self-service, at scale, cheaper than ever before.

 

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Chatbots and virtual agents are being implemented across multiple industries already, helping customers accomplish a wide range of tasks.

In a recent presentation, Dean Upton, Director of Strategic Consulting Blueworx, and Jeannette Browning, WW IBM Watson Sales shared portions of a survey(2) conducted Global Contact Centre Benchmark providing several reasons why self-service channels are key to the future of customer service.

Excerpt - Complete Cognitive Contact Center - Why Self-Service Channels are key to future customer service.jpg

While these technologies have helped reduce call center operational costs,

“Is your brand providing fast, effortless, accurate resolutions on the very first contact, regardless of channel?

In recent article, Jonathan Young, Program Director, Watson Engagement, referenced a study that stated that “more than 62% of customers will consider switching to a competitor after only 1-2 bad experiences with a brand.(1)

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Given a choice, 70% of customers today prefer messaging over voice for customer support
  • Most customers today expect seamless interactions with brands whenever, wherever and however they want.

So while AI-powered conversational agents often can address 60% – 80% of common Tier 1 support questions, incorporating the ability to escalate their issues to a human agent is still a necessity.

The goal should be to, integrate AI, bots, messaging and human agents into one intelligent platform,

allowing consumers to instantly get answers from AI-powered bots, with human care representatives brought in seamlessly in real-time, if a bot is not able to answer an issue satisfactorily

This new approach integrates AI, bots, messaging and human agents into one intelligent platform. This approach would also need to incorporate effective DevOps to ensure that these brands can quickly deploy conversational chatbots and scale to meet the growing customer demands.

Here is an example showing the logical view of a omni-channel cognitive contact center from, Jeannette Browning presentation on AI(2)

Excerpt - Complete Cognitive Contact Center - Architectural view of a cognitive contact center.jpg

In this system, Watson is like an agent itself. Watson sits alongside human agents. If Watson can’t answer something, the system passes is seamlessly to a human agent.

If you are looking at transforming your customer experience, you could consider investing in AI / cognitive solutions that include IBM Watson API Services such as Tone analysis, Natural Language Understanding Conversation, and Speech to Text.

For more information check out IBM Watson API Services. 

Also checkout my blog on “Adding cognitive insights to your applications using IBM Watson Tone Analyzer” to improve the effectiveness of cognitive chatbots.

Resources

1.    “Jonathan Young AI is redefining customer service. Does your callcenter stack-up?”,  https://www.ibm.com/blogs/watson/2017/11/ai-is-redefining-customer-service-does-your-call-center-stack-up/

2.    Dean Upton and Jeannette Browning, “The Complete Cognitive Contact Center – Creating the ultimate customer experiences”, https://www.slideshare.net/Goblueworx/ibm-watson-and-blueworx-the-complete-cognitive-contact-center

3.     Chris Vennard , “The future of call centers and customer service is being shaped by AI”, retrieved 1-13-2018, https://www.ibm.com/blogs/watson/2017/10/the-future-of-call-centers-is-shaped-by-ai/

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7 Habits of a Successful Scaled Agile Adoption

Agility is not an initiative, it is a movement and a journey that can transform any organization so that it has the ability to navigate complexity with clarity of purpose and speed to achieve the best outcomes. Like Lean thinking, Agile involves a cultural change that helps to eliminate unnecessary processes and artificial boundaries to help focus our energy on what matters most to our clients.

Last week I delivered several workshops at the 2016 Interconnect conference focused on adopting Agile DevOps practices. While preparing for this conference I had the opportunity re-read book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Stephan R. Covey and was struck by the similarities between the principles in his book and those of found in lean / agile development.

In this book the 7 habits, provided the reader with excellence guidance to better manage themselves and their environment. Required reading when I first began my career these 7 habits, listed below, have already helped millions of people improve their effectiveness and better the quality of their life.

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind
  • Habit 3: Put first things first
  • Habit 4: Think win/win
  • Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the saw

Likewise, the 7-Habits for a Successful Scaled Agile Adoption using IBM CLM will provide a set of practices to improve the effectiveness of your agile adoption by assisting you with creating a culture in which the values of sustainable predictable development, individual self-management and rapid product innovation are possible.

For example Habit 2 “Began with the end in Mind”

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) focused developing a Vision and Roadmap for the product prior to conducting Release and Sprint Planning (actually they refer to it as PI planning)

7 Habit - Slide 2

These tactics give the agile teams with the opportunity to plot their course at a high-level to assure they’re going in the right direction.

The details of these 7 habits, listed above, have been provided in the following presentation

http://www.slideshare.net/rfeggins/slideshelf

 

Getting started with Node.js and IBM Bluemix – Here is a good intro tutorial

Recently had the opportunity to run through a good Node.js tutorial on IBM Bluemix.

The sample application demonstrates how to build a simple sentiment analysis app using Node.js and a couple modules.  It takes a keyword, or hashtag, connects to Twitter to find matching tweets, and runs those tweets through a “sentiment analysis” module to produce a sentiment score.  ou will learn how to clone project, push changes to your Git repository and quickly deploy the app to Bluemix, see the complete tutorial on IBM Bluemix

You will learn how to clone project, push changes to your Git repository and quickly deploy the app to Bluemix, see the complete tutorial on IBM Bluemix Clone, edit, and deploy an app,

Here is a link to  the IBM Bluemix tutorial.  The instructions had me fork the project to create an on instance and IBM DevOps services automatically added to a git repo hosted on IBM Bluemix as well as connected to an initial deployment pipeline to help me get started.

Bluemix-Sentiment-Analysis-App.png

You can play with an instance of the application running at http://simplesentimentanalysis.mybluemix.net/

Get a SAFe Agile Training!

#devops, #ibm, #interconnect-2016, #safe-agile-training, #training-and-development

Picking an Agile Coach – Lessons from the Trenches

Working with new teams is always fun. Here are some Agile Coaching essentials

Reedy Feggins Jr

Picking an Agile Coach is often a trying task for most organizations. What is an Agile Coach and what qualities make a good one. These are just some of the common questions most organizations have.

As it takes time to really adopt new practices and behaviors, the Agile Coach must be more than just a recently trained ScrumMaster that usually “swoops in” to deliver words of wisdom and then makes a sharp exit. The coach must be able to spend time with the team to help them to become more aware of their workflow and how to collaborate effectively.

In a nutshell, an “Agile Coach” must help the project leaders, and the teams learn how to successfully apply the required agile practices.  The coach must be familiar with how each agile role (e.g.,  Team, Product Owners, and ScrumMaster) are impacted by an Agile Transformation as well as the…

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Succeeding with your First Agile Pilot Project

Reedy Feggins Jr

Successful agile transformations often times require successful agile pilot projects. Often time a successful initial pilot is the most critical step early in a successful enterprise agile adoption. If the pilot project is a success then the organization has a tangible example to get behind but if the project fails (or just fails to meet expectations) then the entire agile initiative could be derailed by critics. Because no one really likes change unless they are driving it.

Here is a presentation a I delivered a few years ago on running a successful agile pilot Succeeding with your First Agile Pilot Project

The presentions covers

  • Picking the Right Agile Pilot
  • Choosing the best set of Agile Practices to adopt
  • Providing the necessary education, tooling and governance
  • Learn and Adapt from the pilot

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What is DevOps?

Here is a good article on the five key practices for what IBM considers DevOps. They are:

Plan, Track, and Version Everything
Dashboard Everything (my personal favorite, I am a big believer in transparency)
Automate Everything
Test Everything
Monitor and Audit Everything

Check out article for more details

Dan Toczala's Blog

Recently I took over as the manager of the Emerging Technologies team at IBM/Rational.  One of the Emerging Technologies that my team is supposed to focus on is the area of DevOps.  So now I have a small team that is focused on DevOps.  But what in the world is DevOps?  I thought that I knew what it was, but I figured that I would do a quick experiment to improve my understanding.  I decided to ask several different people for their definition of DevOps.  Surprise!!  I got back about as many different answers as people that I  asked.  (OK, I wasn’t surprised, but that is why I did the experiment in the first place)

“Big deal”, you may be thinking, “all you have done is to state the obvious”.  But the more that I thought about it, the more that it bothered me.  The goal of my team is…

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