Harry & David Embarks on Cognitive Journey with IBM Watson Customer Engagement

Last week, IBM announced that Harry & David is adopting a full suite of Watson Customer Engagement solutions to help customers find that perfect gift. This includes a Watson-powered concierge called GWYN which stands for “Gifts When You Need.” Harry & David’s parent company, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, already uses this service for its company’s namesake e-commerce site. GWYN has been a success so far, as 80% of customers surveyed were satisfied with the service and said they would use it again.

Leveraging Technology to Create a “Human” Connection

The company is hoping to see the same results for Harry & David to help customers find that perfect gift. For instance, a customer can type “I’m looking to send a thank you gift,” and GWYN will follow up with relevant questions to help a customer find what they’re looking for, and even remember a customer’s preferences over time. “A brand can only meet its true potential if it’s able to deliver exceptional service to customers along each step in their journey with the company,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson Customer Engagement in a company statement. “That’s why cognitive is so imperative. Cognitive is not about isolated moments, but understanding customers on a human level and learning about them over time so each interaction delivers them precisely what they need at that moment.”

Although IBM Watson is mostly thought of as a B2B service, this is one example of how companies can leverage artificial intelligence technology to deliver a great customer experience for those in the B2C space. While the internet has made it easier for companies to reach their target customer, it has also made it harder to establish one-on-one connections with their customers. Using services like GWYN can ensure that customers feel important, as long as it doesn’t feel like they are talking to a computer.