Bridge International is the leading inside sales service provider in Japan. Keiko is the technical leader who introduced Watson into her company in the form of an AI-based system that helps salespeople navigate business-to-business sales calls via telephone and e-mail. The AI system helps enhance sales skills for newcomers and less experienced staff. As a result, the company can open up more employment opportunities for people who are interested in sales, but haven’t much sales experience.

What was the challenge you sought to address with AI?
We offer outsourcing, consulting and tools to B2B companies, including those in the IT, communication, distribution and manufacturing industries. In recent years, it has become difficult to hire and develop highly skilled salespeople due to labor shortages. Taking advantage of the AI technology, we can coach our salespeople to enhance their skills and better serve our clients.

Why did you choose Watson for your business?
Our AI-based call navigation system, Sales AI Navigator or SAIN, makes suggestions for what sales people should say to clients in real time during B2B outbound calls. We chose IBM Watson because of its speech-to-text engine and natural language classifier. Watson Speech to Text was the only AI that recognized client’s speech at an 80 to 90 percent accuracy rate. Outbound calls require the AI engine to be highly flexible, with a high learning capacity. Watson was the right choice.

What benefits are you realizing with your organization's use of AI?
AI can help our salespeople better serve our clients, which leads to the success of our clients’ business. Because AI SAIN has started helping our salespeople, our productivity has gone up by 47 percent. We believe that we will be able to expand sales employment opportunities for people who require flexible work styles, such as for childcare and elder care.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women as they enter the workforce?
I think women have more opportunities to play an active role in the area of cutting-edge technologies including AI. Look at business opportunities, be proud of yourself, and speak up actively. Our company gives equal opportunity regardless of gender and age—we give priority to those who are taking on new challenges in spite of fear of failure. By our products and challenges, we want to contribute to society, such as offering support for human resources and expanding the number of women employees.

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