IBM unveils new Watson Assistant features for call center automation

The partnership with IntelePeer has made it easier to set up and test Watson Assistant voice agents

IBM unveils new Watson Assistant features for call center automation

Watson Assistant, IBM’s platform that enables clients to develop conversational interfaces into apps, devices, and channels, has received new features. It’s now easier to set up and test Watson Assistant voice agents thanks to a partnership with IntelePeer. A new Agent App enables a smoother transition to a live agent.

Because of technological advancements in natural language processing, virtual assistants are becoming more popular. 52 percent of IT professionals said their firm is utilising or contemplating natural language processing solutions to improve customer interactions, according to IBM’s 2021 Global AI Adoption Index. AI and automation, in particular, are becoming increasingly important in call centres, allowing businesses to keep up with escalating client demands.

IBM customers with an existing contact centre phone system can connect directly to the Watson Assistant platform thanks to IntelePeer’s integration with Watson Assistant. Watson Assistant can also now integrate with most major contact centre platforms, such as Talkdesk and Aircall.

Meanwhile, Watson Assistant’s search skill, which was first made accessible in testing last December, is now available to everyone. It contains short-answer retrieval, which is based on an IBM Research question-answering system that allows a virtual agent to extract an answer in a few words from lengthier sentences or chapters. The search capability can assist admins to update virtual agents with larger sources of information, reducing the need for manual updates, in addition to providing context on where each answer comes from.

When hand-offs happen, the new Agent App feature uses IBM’s voice detection models to give a real-time transcription of client dialogues to agents. The goal is to save callers the time and effort of having to repeat their inquiries to many persons, while also getting agents up to speed faster. 

One important challenge facing nearly every business today, according to Daniel Hernandez, IBM’s general manager of data and AI, is the need to better communicate with consumers and employees across all channels. They’re continually releasing new natural language processing and automation innovations, as well as building a strong, open ecosystem with partners like IntelePeer to let businesses use Watson Assistant to transform customer service.

Businesses have increasingly turned to cloud-based contact centres to handle emerging customer service concerns in recent years. The pandemic hastened this trend, as service conveniences were implemented out of necessity, giving customers more ways to contact businesses. According to Canam Research, 78 percent of contact centres in the United States want to implement AI in the next three years. According to The Harris Poll, 46 percent of consumer interactions are currently automated, with the percentage anticipated to rise to 59 percent by 2023.

Watson Assistant is being used by companies such as DirecTV Latin America, Humana, CVS Health, Kroger, GlaxoSmithKline, Lloyd’s Banking Group, and Regions Bank, according to IBM. The State of Rhode Island, one of IBM’s public sector clients, has been using Watson Assistant since last October to handle over 100,000 calls on COVID-19 test scheduling, test results, travel restrictions, vaccine eligibility, and vaccine scheduling.