Today’s consumers seek brands that create seamless experiences that feel less automated and more human, less generic and more personal, and less about the brand and more about them. With IBM Watson, Invoca is helping marketers across industries live up to and exceed these consumer expectations. By transforming phone conversations into a source of actionable data, Invoca is using IBM Watson to provide marketers the insights they need to deliver more personalized customer experiences.

Customer Experience is the New Battlefield

According to an IBM survey of over 700 CMOs, one of the top four priorities this year is to “inject data-driven insights into every marketing decision.” When effectively applied to the customer experience, data has the potential to improve the customer experience, and this applies well beyond workflow automation and customer service bots – it applies to every single customer interaction. Data gathered and leveraged with the help of machine learning can help marketers understand, meet, and even predict the subtlest of consumer needs and intents. In fact, Forrester predicts that in 2017, “investments in AI will triple as firms work to convert customer data into personalized experiences.”

Phone Calls are an Underutilized Source of Marketing Data

At Invoca, we know phone calls are an unparalleled source of data, yet one that has been left largely underutilized by digital marketers. A one-on-one conversation reveals insights about a consumer’s product interests, their concerns and objections, and their likelihood of making a purchase. The problem is that without sophisticated machine learning technology, there is not an efficient or scalable way for marketers to capture, analyze, or act on this kind of unstructured data.

Invoca’s Voice Marketing Cloud connects insights from phone conversations to the rest of the customer journey, and with Watson, we have an entirely new layer of data we can offer our customers to capture, analyze, and act on unstructured voice data efficiently and at scale. We use the Watson Speech to Text API to transcribe phone conversations into text, which we analyze to reveal any insight that might be relevant to a marketer or their business. During the conversation, audio streams through Watson in real-time, transcribing the conversation and documenting the time any word or phrase is spoken.

Invoca’s proprietary algorithm then identifies keywords and phrases that marketers classify as “signals” that indicate specific actions, such as intent to purchase. In addition, marketers are using this technology to identify call and lead quality, analyze sales agent performance, spot trends in customer behavior and preferences, and customize the caller experience.

Frontier Communications is using Invoca and Watson to identify spoken phrases in real-time that are taking place between the caller and the agent to determine the final outcome of the call, along with other caller intents. For example, Frontier is interested in understanding the different types of conversions that happen over the phone, so they’re defining specific intents in Invoca’s system such as whether the agent mentions “confirmation number,” or “installation date.” Frontier then uses this data to understand conversion rates across multiple channels and optimize their marketing spend.

Why We Chose Watson

Watson’s Speech to Text API was an easy choice to include in our platform for several reasons. First, the Watson STT API was easy to use. Watson’s Speech to Text API was very easy to integrate with Invoca’s Voice Marketing Cloud, and within a few weeks of implementation, we were up and running. Not only was the time to market quick, but with Watson we can offer our customers best-in-class speech recognition accuracy, powered by machine intelligence, that uses grammar and language structure to better understand natural speech and return the most accurate transcripts possible.

Second, given Invoca’s commitment to PCI DSS (Payment Credit Industry Data Security Standard) compliance, we wanted to make sure we were protecting sensitive data from our users first. When capturing information from a phone conversation, companies must ensure all personal identifying information such as a credit card number is safe and secure. With Watson, sensitive information is never stored anywhere and Invoca redacts it from all data and analytics – even in cases where calls are recorded.

IBM’s ecosystem will also make it easy for us to use more of IBM’s AI products to power new Invoca features that use AI to make predictive analytics possible. Marketers can expect a future where they will know the outcome of a phone call before it takes place, for example. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible, which is incredibly exciting for me and the entire Invoca team.

Colin Kelley

Posted by Colin Kelley

Prior to founding Invoca and RingRevenue, Colin was the Chief Technology Officer at CallWave, Inc. from 2000 to 2008 where he architected the company’s voice services platform to scale to over 10 million free and paid users. From 1989 – 1999, Colin was staff scientist and lead software architect at Unisys/Pulsepoint Communications, a supplier of highly scalable and reliable voicemail systems to major carriers and corporations such as Pacific Bell, Verizon, Motorola and 3M. Colin earned his BS degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Villanova University. While there he founded and co-wrote Gnuplot, an open source data visualization tool distributed with the Gnu project that remains widely in use today at universities and research organizations worldwide.

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