Elio With Watson: Transforming customer support at NetApp

By | 2 minute read | March 14, 2018

NetApp is leading a digital customer experience transformation by changing the way customers interact with the company. Our goal is to assist customers anytime via any channel. And we must respond quickly and accurately with minimal effort on their part.

Typical customer support: a missed opportunity for customer connection

Today, too many companies only think about making customer support as cost-effective as possible. At NetApp, we believe that support interactions are a critical touchpoint with our clients, and help build our relationship with them.

When customers or partners interact with NetApp digitally, we take a different approach. Since support is essential, we want to make it great. And that means delivering the best response as quickly as possible.

Integrated customer support: part of the larger customer experience

We started from the premise that we wanted to create an optimal, integrated digtial customer experience. My team provides many levels and types of digital support, which I see as a continuum of care. For example, a customer may have an installation issue. Or, after implementing a solution successfully, he may want to learn how to do more with it. Then there are those who just want a quick answer, and they don’t want to search multiple places on our site. Finally, we have customers who need in-depth troubleshooting or one-on-one assistance with their NetApp solution and want to reach an online support representative quickly.

All of these touchpoints, whether simple or complex, are part of the customer experience. We wanted to make each interaction as personal, enjoyable and efficient as possible. To do that, we looked to AI technology and IBM Watson to help us deliver always-on digital support.

Introducing the Elio With Watson virtual assistant

Working with IBM, we developed an AI-powered virtual assistant that provides real-time support 24 hours a day. We named him Elio and gave him a bit of a personality. Elio uses IBM Watson Conversation capabilities running on IBM Cloud to understand and answer queries posed in natural language, not just preset search terms.

Elio’s job is to understand customers’ problems and quickly recommend solutions. Elio can also help troubleshoot an issue or, if needed, connect the user to the right resource for rapid resolution.

Using Elio’s data helps improve both our customer interactions and our products. First, we get the right answer in front of the customer quickly. Second, we can use the information to improve our products.

Future customer support: as important as the product itself

Elio is playing a critical role in helping NetApp move into the new era of digital customer support. At NetApp, we already believe that providing great support is as important as having a great product. I think our competitors are still catching up with that idea.

In the meantime, we’re leapfrogging our competition with Elio. By bringing Watson AI technology into our customer support offerings, we can provide always on, always available, consistent digital support assistance throughout the customer’s experience with NetApp.

Learn more about how NetApp transforms digital customer care by watching the Introducing Elio video below:


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