Cognitive solutions are transforming business. Company leaders are watching for new cognitive capabilities to come to market and learning how they can use them to improve business. One of the latest cognitive solutions is IBM Voice Gateway. I’m excited to introduce it to you here.
Before I go into the detail of what Voice Gateway is, I’d like to frame it within the context of other changes going on in the customer support space. Customer support—especially online support—has gone through a lot of change in recent years. Channels such as Twitter and Facebook enable businesses to reach out to unhappy customers who are posting their frustration. Cognitive chatbots are available to support customers 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
What we haven’t yet seen: businesses taking the cognitive bots that they have available online, and making them available over the phone. An omnichannel bot that provides support across multiple channels means that the experience for customers is the same, no matter how they want to contact a business. And it means that your investment into improving that bot benefits across your support workflow, instead of only improving online support.
That’s why we built IBM Voice Gateway – a solution that connects to Watson’s conversation service—the backbone of cognitive bots running on Watson—and brings that conversation service to your telephone network and call centers.
What does IBM Voice Gateway do?
First is the Cognitive Self-service agent. IBM Voice Gateway connects to a telephone network and routes the calls through Watson Speech-to-Text, Conversation, and Text to Speech services. Watson can understand what has been said and how to respond appropriately.
Simply put, Watson acts as a call center agent. This works out-of-the-box with Voice Gateway. IBM Voice Gateway helps you build integrations with databases as well as bring in additional Watson services like sentiment analysis. You can use Watson to access customer records, provide a customized solution to answer queries and provide quotes. With Watson, you can handle and resolve more customer queries on their first call.
If Watson can’t resolve a query a to your call center, IBM Voice Gateway can transfer calls to customer service agents. When a caller is speaking to an agent, IBM Voice Gateway can use Watson to detect what is being discussed, sending helpful information to the agent in real time.
For example, the system might send a link to an internal document showing the agent how to resolve a specific issue or answer a caller’s questions on a given topic. This can make it easier for agents to focus on the customer’s experience, not searching for answers. And this also means agents don’t have to be experts on every topic, reducing training time and helping agents to handle a wider range of queries.
Where does IBM Voice Gateway run?
Watson’s services are only available through IBM Bluemix, so that part of the solution will be running in the cloud. IBM Voice Gateway itself is delivered as a collection of Docker containers, so it can run either on-premises or in any cloud. You can run the whole solution in IBM Bluemix if you want to move to a full cloud deployment. Or you could run it on-premises if you want to keep applications accessing customer data within your firewall. But know that you can secure your environment wherever you run IBM Voice Gateway. Your choice of where to run the solution can easily align with your overall cloud strategy.
Get started with IBM Voice Gateway
Want to learn more? Watch the quick demo to see IBM Voice Gateway in action. Or test out the caller’s experience with Watson by calling (855) 969-4241. If you’re ready to try Voice Gateway, download the developer and trial use Docker images from DockerHub linked from our documentation here.
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