Windstream used a new approach in developing the WE Connect customer portal announced today, explained Windstream execs in an interview with Telecompetitor. Windstream WE Connect leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technology and serves as a “single pane of glass” to manage multiple services, including the company’s key unified communications and software-defined wide area network offerings, the execs explained.

At Windstream Enterprise today, in a departure with traditional organizational structure, “IT isn’t an internal organization,” explained Stephen Farkouh, Windstream chief information officer. DevOps personnel need to get feedback directly from customers, he said.

In developing Windstream WE Connect, Windstream made a “sizeable investment” in “UI and UX talent,” Farkouh explained, using acronyms for “user interface” and “user experience.” In addition, the company drew upon personnel from across the organization in developing the offering.

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The company has lofty ambitions for WE Connect. “We want to be transformational leaders [and] pathfinders,” said Joe Harding, Windstream executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Windstream WE Connect Portal
According to Farkouh, the WE Connect portal uses artificial intelligence to reach into the network and “resolve complex issues in real time without human intervention.”

He cited the example of a customer having a problem and using the portal to report it. As soon as the customer identifies the symptoms, “a chatbot pops out to say, ‘I think I can resolve your problem- would you like me to try?’”

The chatbot then can leverage microservices akin to what a back-office technician would do to solve the problem. If the problem can’t be resolved, the chatbot would ask if the customer would like to speak to a technician or create a trouble ticket.

The chatbot knows how to address problems based on information that technicians have reported to the company and based on the experiences of beta testers and will continue to “learn” as it continues to interact with customers, Farkouh said.

Windstream isn’t the only carrier embedding AI in its offerings. Just yesterday, Verizon announced Digital CX, an AI-based product designed to help enterprise offer better customer service.

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