Support calls too long? Shorten response times with a virtual assistant

By: Calvin Xu | Co-written by: Ruchi Mahindru


As hard as they work, companies simply don’t have the time or resources to effectively manage every aspect of technical support service. With the products vastly growing, support needs support to run support. Well, help has arrived — in the form of virtual assistant technology based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. An AI-based chatbot assistant can streamline technical support by having answers at the ready, thereby cutting down response times, reducing costs and avoiding headaches.

Customers have increasingly high expectations, and rightly so. If a technical support issue isn’t resolved in a timely manner, it can lead to huge negative impact with unhappy users. With the backing of an AI-based virtual assistant, your company can quickly and efficiently resolve technical issues and exceed customers’ high expectations.

Navigating the Maze

Conventional technical support can’t always meet the needs of today’s fast-paced digital environment. Not all support team members have the same level of technical knowledge and diagnosis experience. When they can’t solve an issue, they often transfer the customer to another agent, who may or may not be able to help. Compounding the problem, support staff might not have access to a customer’s complete history. This can leave the customers feeling as if they’re in an endless maze, having to explain their issues all over again every time their call is transferred.

These customer frustrations are amplified — and often, even caused — by the many back-end systems that support agents have to contend with in order to do their jobs. Having data stored and accessed across a multitude of systems makes the support experience overly complex, with an abundance of potential points where the process can slow down or mistakes can be made. But the customer doesn’t see the back-end problems: They only see a bad service they receive as a result. Not only do these inefficiencies run up costs for the company — but they also harm brand reputation.

The Next-Generation Virtual Assistant

We are here to support the generalists, who can now handle it all with confidence at their fingertips. An AI-based assistant platform simplifies support by allowing your customers to seek help from a single point of contact: a chatbot that has the answers.

While chatbots are the products of complicated computer programming, by using IBM’s Virtual Assistant for Technical Support (VATS) platform, your company barely has to lift a finger to get its chatbot talking. You don’t need to worry about programming language and can use it on day one. Startup is as simple as clicking on a user interface, choosing a chatbot from a wide array of templates, loading your technical content, authorizing users and then customizing the platform to focus on the support issues you need to solve fast. Or you can let IBM prepare your Virtual Assitant Technical Support — we can configure the platform based on your organization’s specific needs.

Virtual Assitant Technical Support isn’t just one chatbot. You can create many chatbots at scale to help manage the wide array of technical support cases that your agents handle. Stumped customers will be able to quickly find the technical answers they need through your virtual assistant, or they can speak directly to one of your newly empowered service representatives. Meanwhile, your support team has access to VATS at all hours, every day, enabling them to get answers from your own support documentation and from IBM Watson Assistant.

Reduce Handle Time and Costs

One of the biggest cost drivers stems from training employees and delivering technical support service for their wide range of products. By incorporating Virtual Assitant Technical Support into your support efforts, your service team can reduce its average handle time with customers and improve its overall performance. Team members will have an AI assistant with them to learn on the go while resolving technical problems with ease and confidence. They will have the flexibility to intervene when customer issues truly call for a human touch.

Improve your end-user SLAs, give them a new technical support experience, answer their pressing questions and solve complex issues with ease. Your end users will become your recommenders with a new way of quick and seamless support.

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About The Co-author

Ruchi Mahindru

Ruchi Mahindru

STSM, Cognitive and Analytics for Technical Services

Ruchi Mahindru is a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM TJ Watson Research. Her research interest includes knowledge extraction, knowledge representation, knowledge management, and data analytics. She is driving the innovation and technical solution for the creation of scalable and effective Artificial Intelligence Assistants for IBM Technology Support Services-Multivendor Support business


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About The Author

Calvin Xu

Global Leader for Artificial Intelligence, IBM Technology Support Services

Calvin has been an innovative problem solver with extensive experience in product development and management, strategy, analytics, and business development in High Tech Industry. Calvin currently leads Artificial Intelligence product management, strategy and new product introduction. He is driving the growth and development of Artificial Intelligence products for IBM Technology Support Services-Multivendor Support business.