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AI social robot uses IBM Watson technology for customer service

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AI social robot PepperAccording to Forbes, “Offering second-to-none customer service could help your business to succeed no matter what the economic climate or latest technology craze.” Being available and offering knowledge go a long way toward strengthening customer relationships.

That’s why Computer Gross Italia S.p.A. (CGI), an Italian information and communications technology distributor, uses Pepper, an AI sales associate robot that works in CGI’s Cash and Carry retail stores, welcoming and interacting with customers to deliver personalized service.

Providing customer service with Pepper

CGI recently opened its network of Cash and Carry stores throughout Italy. Its large product catalog comprises more than 5,000 items in any given store, which means it can take customers a long time to find what they’re looking for.

Pepper greets customers as they enter the store, serving as a point of information to help shoppers find exactly what they need from the company’s vast stock of products.

When customers responded favorably to Pepper, CGI decided to enhance its performance with AI customer service capabilities, so it could recognize customers and suggest products relevant to their unique purchase histories.

Incorporating AI technology

With its longstanding relationship with IBM, CGI did not have to look far to find a leading-edge AI solution. CGI uses IBM Watson Analytics and IBM Watson Assistant running in the IBM Cloud to monitor and analyze interactions between its customers, Pepper and its back-end systems.

Pepper uses the natural language processing capabilities of IBM Watson to analyze customer requests, search through the CGI product catalog and suggest the most relevant products or product combinations in a matter of seconds.

Pepper also gathers information about the customer’s previous purchases and interests and uses that information to predict current needs. Pepper then identifies the right products and provides all the necessary information, such as technical specs, prices, product availability and more.

Pepper performs as an extra staff member at Cash and Carry stores.

Improving the customer experience

With help from Pepper, sales associates can move beyond helping customers navigate the store catalog. Pepper handles routine questions, leaving more time for sales associates to engage in deeper interactions with customers. Pepper is especially helpful during store traffic peaks.

Because customers are curious and enthusiastic about the AI social robot, Pepper helps create a positive in-store experience. Ultimately this means customers leave satisfied – with a purchase – and are more likely to return.

Pepper has created new up-selling and cross-selling opportunities at Cash and Carry stores, increasing sales by 5 percent.

Additionally, with Watson Analytics, Pepper helps identify best-selling products, which helps store managers optimize stock levels. Predictive analytics capabilities have contributed to a 4 percent reduction in stock and inventory costs.

Read the case study for more details.

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