Piera is all about enacting the right kind of technological change to improve the customer experience. She believes so much in the transformational force of technology that she gives speeches about integrating AI into customer operations. She would know from experience: Last year, her team at the Italian telecom company Wind Tre S.p.A. turned to IBM to launch a virtual assistant. Supported by IBM Watson, two chatbots handle millions of interactions with customers, improving their experiences and giving customer service agents more time to spend on pressing matters.

What was the business opportunity you sought to address by using AI?
Our challenge is to improve the digital customer experience and increase internal efficiencies. We strongly believe in automation, and as a customer-oriented organization we always seek the highest-quality standard. We knew Watson could help us increase responsiveness and improve customer satisfaction. 

What has your company achieved with Watson?
Our multichannel virtual assistant launched in February 2019, and we’ve already seen tremendous gains. The voice bot uses natural language to automate responses to a portion of calls to the call center, keeping the experience the same as it is with our representatives. Another chatbot communicates with customers on our web portals, mobile apps and social media channels–also delivering “real-life” interactions. Through Watson, both bots are handling millions of interactions, allowing our agents to spend more time on complex issues.

What advice would you share with others who are considering using AI?
Go into production as soon as possible. After months and months of planning, business requirements, service design and development, we found out that customer interactions and dialogue with Watson were easier than what we had designed for. Now we are following a test-and-learn approach with all technology that echoes my favorite slogan: “Let's get started!”

What makes an AI project successful?
A close-knit group is most critical to making an AI project successful. An engaged and multidisciplinary team is able to immediately solve issues, accelerate changes, think differently, predict market needs and reactions, and improve economic investment. With a good team, you can break many molds and make your business different. 

Why should women be more involved in the creation and use of AI?
A female leader is brave, pragmatic, creative, strict, curious, innovative, empathetic, careful and hard-working. For an AI project to be successful, you need all of these qualities, don't you?

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