Case in point: Verizon’s cognitive journey and the customer experience

Product Marketing Manager, IBM Analytics, IBM

Imagine you get up one day and find yourself in the 1980s without a laptop, smartphone, tablet and other gadgets and without Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other mobile applications. The first question that may come to your mind is, how will I survive without them? After all, you wouldn’t be able to check email, read messages, make FaceTime calls or chat electronically with friends, book cabs online, make online purchases and so on. Such a scenario demonstrates the degree to which our lives have evolved with technology. These wifi-enabled gadgets have changed the way we work, play and even raise our children.

Our digitized personal and professional lives

For most of the last century, communicating professionally meant writing letters and memos, sending faxes or spending hours on the phone. Not anymore. Email is now the primary means of communication in the modern workplace. We are communicating more often, faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Emails, business software and smartphones have increased the productivity of employees. And we don’t leave technology at the workplace. Our private lives may even be more technology-enabled than our professional lives. In the 1980s and 1990s, televisions, tape recorders and Walkmans arguably represented the height of our home technology use. Now we have desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, Apple watches and other wearable devices, global positioning system (GPS)–enabled cars and many more devices. Just look at the possibilities we have today—possibilities we could not have possibly imagined even at the turn of the millennium:  

  • Many of us no longer receive physical salary checks anymore; we can use our smartphones to check that our salary has been automatically credited to our bank account.
  • Plastic and virtual money help us to make electronic and e-commerce transactions.
  • Online calendars help us coordinate our schedules with others’ schedules and can be accessed by a variety of devices.
  • Some doctors are now accepting Skype or using other video technology or using messaging services to chat with patients or the parents of young patients.
  • Teachers can use websites or apps to keep parents updated about their children’s progress in school.
  • Information about virtually anything is now at our fingertips, and we can make video calls for meetings and even monitor aspects of our health. transformed consumer behavior

Because of digital disruption, consumer behavior is rapidly changing and compelling companies to adjust and conform to the interactive world. Nearly every consumer activity has shifted to digital in some way, from listening to music, to shopping, to booking restaurant reservations and so on. Now, our purchase decisions often depend on online reviews and information.

Organizations cannot afford to discount the power of a bad review because their potential customers won’t. As consumer expectations around customer service rise, Verizon knew it needed to seize every opportunity to outthink its competitors. It partnered with IBM to create its cognitive customer experience platform that optimizes millions of customer interactions to deliver a best-in-class experience.

Verizon’s next-generation mobile app helps the organization to understand the customer journey in real time and take immediate actions to improve the experience. In the past, the company used to act on historical information but with digital engagement of customers, understanding customers in real time was important.

IBM Watson Speech to Text and IBM Streams—the real-time analytics component of the IBM Watson Data Platform—helped Verizon stream real-time data from multiple sources and scale it for superior performance.

Learn more by watching this video presentation from IBM Insight at World of Watson 2016, where Damu Bashyam, vice president, IT, at Verizon, explains how the organization is partnering with IBM to enable artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for predicting customer intent. In addition, get more information on IBM Streams, and try the cloud services or the IBM Streams Quick Start Edition. Also, be sure to join the IBM Streams community.