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IBM service scenarios begin with an incoming voice call to a call center.

Customer Support Reps (CSRs) most commonly worked from standard scripts, but lots of unique special instructions are required. A client organization may require a purchase order but the caller is unaware of that, there may be unusual directions to locate or access the machinery. An individual may be walked through a common solution by a CSR.

My assignment with IBM was manage integration of 12 regional Customer Service and Support databases covering North America from Lexington Kentucky, the main data science hub.

We ran extracts at each to the 12 regions, pulling Customer and Script flat files, and provided this to team leaders who were experts in their region’s call center database.

They came in for 10 days for data cleansing/scrubbing of every record for their region. I was tasked with handling the regional data for the South Central US region, based in Dallas.

These regions contained millions of Customer records, with large locations and businesses having more than a thousand entries for one facility.

Our job was to make sure the right script appeared on the CSR’s screen for every phone number.   so a script needs to appear on the such as ensuring a purchase order had been issued. 

For highly secure, classified locations like fabs for hardened missile guidance systems computer chips, calls needed to be specially routed by code words only.

Object Oriented design and programming principles were just beginning to revolutionize software architectures, and many of us hit on the same solution about the same time. It was a new way of doing things, with developers from the programming side at the main datacenter and the remote sites showing a lot of reluctance.

They had good reasons: this was an unknown methodology and initial progress on data structuring was much slower.

Midway through the project, the Lexington programming lead was onboard, recognizing how efficient this would be long term.

When our team was the only one to complete the work on schedule, it was just a matter of time for it to become the standard.

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Field Operative

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