Cognitive Computing

Adopting Cognitive for Better One-to-One Customer Engagement

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With increasing frequency, cognitive technologies are helping businesses operate in the past, present and the future all at the same time.

Marketing, commerce and supply chain professionals are leveraging cognitive solutions to understand what’s happening across their businesses for specific insights about real-time activity. These “in-the-moment” snap shots are just as critical as historical data.

By analyzing past performance we can understand what occurred, reason why they occurred, and learn from them to create future campaigns that achieve even better performance.

This is something traditional “mom & pop” shops used to excel at, and it earned them loyal customers. These businesses would invest the time with customers, listening to them and over time getting to know them in order to create experiences that were rewarding and enduring. Take the local coffee shop. They knew which coffees you liked, those you didn’t as well as how your preferences varied by the time of day or the season. Best of all, they had what you wanted ready when you entered the store.

Harry & David, gourmet food and gift retailer, is doing this right now. The company understands that in today’s digital era, businesses need to create this one-to-one interaction on entirely new levels and with customers who could reside anywhere in the world. With cognitive capabilities, businesses can create deep connections with customers while delivering them the levels of speed and service that they demand.

Harry & David offers so many products that finding the one to match the right occasion can be a challenge. That’s why the company created an online cognitive assistant powered by Watson called GWYN. Now rather than endless searches, customers can simply type, “I’m looking to send a thank you gift to my neighbor.”

The service interprets the question, including the word choice, asks a series of qualifying questions about the occasion, ties in what its learned about the person’s unique gifting needs and wants and after searching through thousands of options, shares only the gifts that are most appropriate.

The road to enduring success will be powered by cognitive technologies which are making it possible to not only live in the moment but understand the moment and all that came before to help teams plan for better moments in the future, just like in the good old days.

Former CEO & Chair of IBM Asia Pacific

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