With the Watson supercomputer, IBM is at the forefront of adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) to business applications and society at large. Watson was named after IBM's first CEO Thomas J. Watson and applies advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) to business data. It learns and feeds new insights into business processes in an on-demand fashion.
We spoke with Jürgen Lurz, Business Development Executive for Technology Support Services at IBM, about the impact of AI on future business processes and how it could change the customer care experience.
B2X: New technological capabilities like Watson’s AI create new opportunities to innovate customer interaction processes and optimize cost. How will they impact customer care and help companies deliver better customer experiences?
Jürgen Lurz: Technology like Watson but also new applications such as Augmented Reality (AR) are clearly changing the services business. Just think about remote technical services and how complex delivering such a service is today. A significant part of that will be handled and supported by AI technology. We are expecting significant productivity gains by automating many processes – and this will also result in a significantly better customer experience.
B2X: How do you consider the relevance of customer service and a more product ownership centric approach for IBM in the future?
Jürgen Lurz: There are two very visible trends and I would expect these to be even more relevant in the future. On the one hand – and especially in the IT industry – hardware gets more and more stable. In addition, more and more customers buy computing power and storage out of the cloud. On the other hand, customer service is becoming even more relevant. In many cases I have seen customer care becoming one of the major criteria for a buying decision especially in the B2B space.
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B2X: Will this have an impact to your company’s customer service approach in the future?
Jürgen Lurz: Well, we all know how Millennials and Generation Z grow up: in a world full of technology. The technologies we discussed before nicely match with these developments. AI, as an example, even facilitates a higher degree of do-it-yourself capabilities appreciated and demanded especially in the case of Generation Z. It creates a great customer experience – and this is what counts in the end.