IBM India develops customer service tool

IBM's new ProAct software technology uses math algorithms to extract business insights from the information gathered during customer service calls and other interactions

IBM's India Research Laboratory has developed software technology that uses math algorithms to extract and deliver business insights hidden within the large quantity of information gathered by companies during customer service calls and other interactions, according to an official at the lab.

Most customer service software simply asks a customer to rate their level of service at a call center, but a rating on a scale of say one to five does not provide the company a whole lot of information on the quality of its service. Instead there is a lot of unstructured information in the customer’s verbal interactions, email, and other communication that can be analyzed for a more accurate assessment of customer evaluation of a company call center, said Mukesh Mohania, head of information and knowledge management at IRL, in a telephone interview last week.

The new technology, called ProAct, provides an integrated, objective analysis of structured information such as agent and product databases, and unstructured data such as e-mail, call logs, and call transcripts to identify reasons for dissatisfaction, agent performance issues, and typical product problems, IBM said Monday.

ProAct was developed by IRL at IBM's own business process outsourcing (BPO) operations and is also being tested at third-party call centers, Mohania said. The technology will be offered by IBM's services business to customers for whom the company runs or supports call centers, he added.

IRL has done research earlier in the area of unstructured data. It developed and deployed technology about two years ago for a local Indian bank to help it better serve accounts by retrieving, integrating, and analyzing information from both structured and unstructured data.