June 15, 2015
Verizon showed Rep Guidance, software that provides its FiOS sales and support representatives with individualized data designed to improve customer service and experience, at a recent NY Meetup event. According to a Verizon representative, “It’s about streamlining and simplifying the conversation, fostering a more intelligent, better-informed experience with customers rather than having a back and forth exchange and having the rep ask the customer questions that, frankly, they expect we should know anyway.”
Mahmoud El Assir, SVP and CIO of Global Technology Services at Verizon, delivered the presentation. The program — hosted by Data Driven NYC, a community of big data, data technology and data-driven product enthusiasts — included Jake Porway, founder and executive director of DataKind (using data science for social good), David Luan, co-founder of Dextro (photo and video analysis) and Sameer Maskey, founder and CEO of Fusemachines (using machine learning and data science to improve customer experience).
According to Data Driven’s summary of the evening, El Assir “talked in very general terms about how Verizon [is] leveraging data analysis to improve customer experience. He talked about [how] information about the various channels and services can be used to better match the advertising and advice to the customer needs.”
Nonetheless, the presentation drew some controversy when a post on Quartz suggested that “The American television and Internet provider is now closely tracking exactly what you watch, what devices you use, and how much data you consume.”
In response, a Verizon representative told Ars Technica, “The goal is to determine the right level of service for the subscriber. For example, Verizon representatives are able to use these tools to see what channels customers watch but in no way do we monitor the specific programs.”
Ars Technica further observed, “…it isn’t surprising that the technology exists… Verizon also delivers what it calls ‘Relevant TV Advertising’ based on ‘program viewing data.’ Comcast likewise tracks TV customers’ viewing habits to deliver personalized ads.”