IBM Teams on First Watson Application in Africa - Page 2

Customer service agents will be able to use Watson's ability to rapidly sift through vast amounts of information, analyze it and supply evidence-based responses to questions, providing more precise and comprehensive information to customers. This will enhance the consistency of responses, as well as reduce the response time.

"We believe Watson will enable our customer service agents to make better decisions, ultimately driving better health outcomes for the public," Garnett said.

As Watson learns, it will be able to anticipate the "questions behind the questions" and prompt agents to proactively share information. This allows for all relevant information to be provided in one call, which would normally require two or three follow-up calls. This saves time for both customers and agents. Over time, Watson will be taught to respond, where possible, directly to customer enquiries, and the convenience of having access to health and wellness information 24/7 will be made possible, IBM said.

"This is a continuation of our journey to deliver improved health and wellness outcomes-based services," Garnett said. "It reinforces our commitment to providing more targeted, personalized services to customers that help them live smarter."

Metropolitan Health is among the first companies globally to adopt cognitive technology to enable new and improved ways of meeting customer needs. The company will further augment the power of Watson with an extensive portfolio of IBM capabilities, including business consulting, advanced analytics, health care informatics and IBM Research assets, IBM officials said.

IBM launched its Watson Engagement Advisor in May of 2013 at its IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit. Watson can proactively engage with a business's customers and continuously learn from interactions, any time and any place, providing fast, accurate and personalized interactions. The IBM Watson Engagement Advisor helps companies make their interactions count by knowing, delivering and learning what each customer wants—in the context of their preferences and actions—sometimes before even the customer knows it themselves.

According to IBM, some of the factors that make the time right for a Watson advisor for commerce include that millennial consumers will comprise nearly half the workforce by 2020—using paychecks for major purchases that require top-flight customer service—from cars to insurance policies; there will be more than 10 billion mobile devices by 2016, outpacing the human population; and a recent IBM study of 1,700 chief marketing officers revealed that 65 percent of CMOs feel underprepared for the growth of choices that today's empowered consumers have for communications channels, such as smartphones and tablets.