IBM Takes Customer Service to Another Level

Michael Vizard

Everyone can relate to this customer predicament. You need help with a particular product or service, but you wind up having to call customer service multiple times. Each time, however, you have to talk to somebody different. So each time, you have to explain the problem over again.

Wouldn't it be nice if somehow the call center systems used by the customer service department knew it was you who was calling and automatically routed you to the representative that could best handle your call. That's the promise of a Real-Time Analytics Matching Platform (RAMP) that IBM has developed in conjunction with Assurant Solutions, a unit of the specialty insurance provider.

According to Toby Cook, practice leader for the analytics team at IBM, the software analyzes what a company knows about its customer, the performance history of the customer service representatives, and the previous interactions the customer has had with customer service representatives to determine where to route a call.

Cook says the application runs on an IBM Power 6 system, which now provides the kind of raw compute power needed to deliver this type of analytics in real time.
The software also takes into account how long a particular customer might want to wait to speak to a particular customer representative before routing the call elsewhere and the fatigue that might result from routing too many calls to the same customer service representative.

Companies can also expect to see a bump in sales by routing the best prospects for additional sales to the appropriate customer service representative, he added.
Customer service is activity that more often than not subtracts from the bottom line, so many companies are anxious about keeping customer service costs to a minimum. But at the same time, a happy customer is also more likely to buy additional products. The challenge is finding a way to accomplish both these goals at the same time.

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