Andy Howard

Automated & Useful Customer Service (it’s possible!)

IBM powers online customer service for The North Face designed to be just like people.

Ibm Watson The North Face

Outdoor adventure company The North Face has launched a new online customer service tool, powered by conversation. The mission is to create a more useful way to shop online.

The online service dubbed ‘Expert Personal Shopper’ is designed to replicate the experience of speaking with expert salespeople in-store. Specifically, expert salespeople with an immense array of data at their fingertips. The platform asks shoppers a series of personalised questions to figure out what they’re looking for, using each answer to ask the best question next. It concludes by offering up a range of suitable, personalised products to meet the customer’s specific need. Answers to questions like “Where and when will you be using this jacket?” build the conversation around the customer’s needs, geography, climate and upcoming trips.

The entire conversation is automated. The technology is powered by Watson, IBM’s cognitive technology that thinks more like a person than a computer. During the month-long testing period (the platform is in beta today), customer engagement with the tool lasted about two minutes, and The North Face saw a 60% click-through rate to suggested products.

We love the idea of using technology to create a more useful and personalised online customer service experience. How can this be used in your business?

Related: We’ve previously blogged IBM’s Watson-powered food truck.

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