Donna introduced a chatbot trained to answer questions and solve technological problems anytime and anywhere—up to 60% of student help desk issues can be automated, allowing students to get help on their schedule.

Learn how you can see results with Watson Assistant for Customer Service

What challenge are you trying to overcome with AI?
The university operates in a decentralized environment with departments that use different systems to perform operational and service functions. This puts the onus on the students to determine what their problem is, who is responsible for the solution, what department they need to contact and what tool they need to use to submit a request. As you can imagine, this is no easy task. We are using Watson as part of an integrated solution that enables self-service through a chatbot we call Martha.

What benefits are you seeing from your project?
Our main goal for implementing AI was to improve the customer service experience by connecting studentsto answers as efficiently as possibleand we’ve done that. We are now able to offer students the ability to make a service request by simply texting Martha--no human intervention required. And given the data gathered during the proof-of-concept phase, we are anticipating a 45% deflection of tier 1 tickets from our call center, creating a substantial savings that can be used to resolve higher level support issues.

What advice would you share with others who are considering using AI?
Understand your audience and its idiosyncrasies. People approach questions very differently. It is easy for humans to make conversation using all of their senses, but AI does not have that ability and relies on keywords and training to make those connections. If a chatbot is not trained to consider the various ways a question can be asked, then the value of the output goes down. In addition to slang, it is important to have a diverse testing committee to ensure that unconscious bias has not been inadvertently programmed into the chatbot.

Interested in more stories of women in AI?
View the 2019 list

Want to learn more about the AI behind this work?

Watson is IBM's suite of enterprise-ready AI services, applications, and tooling.