In her work with Vodafone, Tanja has helped the telecommunications company integrate AI into its customer service system. Watson Assistant powers a virtual assistant that answers customer queries across a variety of platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook and RCS. Tanja is now leading Vodafone into using Watson to build virtual agents that can speak to customers on the phone, reducing the time demands on liveagents while seamlessly integrating their skills.

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

How is Vodafone making use of Watson?
Watson is part of our central digital assistant framework that we are using in eleven markets to date. Our customer care chatbots support various channels, are linked to our customer care systems and integrated to relevant backend systems. To make the bot framework available in all markets and ensure reusability of components we use a digital abstraction layer. We started by using Watson to talk to customers via instant message, and we are now moving into voice interaction. Seamless handover to our agents is built into our system, making all the interaction histories available for agents. This helps us provide a better and more consistent customer experience in every interaction with our company, regardless of the channel our customer uses to approach us.

What advice would you share with others who are considering using AI?
Start small. Get your hands dirty by experimenting and scale only after you have a good grasp on the technology. Be clear from the beginning how you measure success: Start with a well-contained problem and don’t try immediately to save the world.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women as they enter the workforce?
Be yourself and build on your strengths. Believe in what you do, but at the same time, be open to advice. Invest your time in building networks and relationships.

Anything else you are passionate about, personally or professionally, that you would like to share?
When I’m not working, I love traveling, hiking and mountaineering. The highest mountain I’ve climbed is Acotango in Bolivia, which is 6,052 meters high. I love glacier tours in the Alps and also off-the-beaten-track trails in the UK, where I currently live.

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