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News : Woolies Primes Olive AI for Call Centre Action


Sydney, Australia, Aug 27, 2019 -- Woolworths wants its virtual assistant dubbed 'Olive' to ease the workload of its customer contact centre by illuminating options to access information about orders or retail locations.

It's a pivot that will pit the new artificial intelligence bot against human call centre agents in a test it hopes will boost self navigation to boost satisfaction and drive down costs.

At a time of intense competition Woolies between retailing rivals, the grocery provider isn't exactly putting Olive's achievements up in lights. But it is talking behind the scenes.

iTnews first reported Woolworths was working on a large-scale conversational AI platform back in January, before revealing some of the architecture and use cases for Olive earlier this month.

Some of this was drawn from slides presented at the Google Cloud Next 19 conference in San Francisco in April.

iTnews has since obtained access to the presentation itself, providing a clearer picture on why Woolworths went down the path to create Olive, as well as the assistant’s architectural make-up.

Joshua Rogers, platform technology manager at the retailer’s digital arm WooliesX, told the conference that Olive exists in the first instance to ease pressure on what Woolworths calls its ‘Customer Hub’ - a contact centre staffed by about 400 agents.

"We started with a very simple task to make sure that we take a real customer impacting event as well as a real business impacting event and we married them together," Rogers said.

"Our customers call up our Customer Hub and they want to know specific information - information that's very readily available, but they don't have any other way to get it.

"Calling up our Customer Hub takes up time.

"There's a lot of other activities that our Customer Hub endeavours in that take up a lot more time than they probably need to."

Rogers said there are currently four ways to interact with Olive.

Customers can interact via a text-based chatbot on the Woolworths Online website, via a Google Home device, via the Hub’s IVR, or via Google Hangouts.

"Olive is able to analyse customer inquiries, align their intents with actionable workflows, and then take that data, package it up and present it back to the consumers in a consumable way," Rogers said.

"We have features like our store locator and hours of operation. We also have features to modify your lists, manage your shopping list, and answer any frequently asked questions that you might have."

The voice-based channels are enabled in part using a Google cloud-hosted service called Dialogflow, while the chat-based interface uses technology from a start-up, Inbenta.

The backend of Woolworths’ digital applications is largely microservices-based/containerised and "hosted within GKE" - Google Kubernetes Engine.

These then call on other services and sources of data to complete the customer’s request - a process facilitated with API gateway technology from Google-owned Apigee.

"We operate through Apigee to our backend services to find the data that we need to deliver the experience that we want, [and] funnel it back into applications in GKE which prepares it for delivery to the customer," Rogers said.

"The key factor there is we have backend services that have our data that the customers want to have access to, and they want to be comfortable accessing that data.

"They want to be able to interface with our business in the ways that they're most easily available to them."

Rogers demonstrated how different parts of a transaction could be completed in an integrated fashion using Olive and other Woolworths’ digital properties.

He used Google Home to talk to Olive to find location information and opening hours for his nearest Woolworths store.

He then used voice commands to add items to a "shopping list" - such as milk - before switching to Woolworths Online on his laptop to complete the order.

At a separate SAP conference in Sydney earlier this month, Olive was used to help customers arrange refunds for items that went missing or were damaged in transit.

The retailer has also previously discussed how Olive can be accessed by customers that hit the Customer Hub IVR seeking outage information about Woolworths’ digital services.

While much of the Olive experience is currently focused on Woolworths Online operations, the aim is for Olive to eventually handle information requests and customer problems from across its portfolio of retail brands.

"We want to make sure that it's not just our Woolworths Online experience that they have access to Olive but also our BWS, Big W, Dan Murphy's, our money and financial services," Rogers said.

"We also want [customers] to be comfortable and connect to us in any way that they would like - over Facebook Messenger, Alexa, and digital assistants of any kind."


Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

About Woolworths:
Company LogoWoolworths is a retail business selling food, Clothing and General merchandise to middle to upper class customers in the South african and African markets
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Today's Tip of the Day - Security Procedures

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2019

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2020 Buyers Guide Telecoms

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:


Cloudonix provides businesses with software development tools (APIs/SDKs) enabling contextual communications, using existing communications tools and workflows.
Connect your website or mobile APP directly to your call or contact center, keeping the context of who the caller is, why they are calling, and how they got to you as part of the call.

Connectica Solutions, LLC

PBX On The Cloud
We provide complete Cloud-based PBX/Phone Systems, including predictive and progressive dialers, phone lines in more than 75 countries and low cost international rates.
We specialize in the US and Latin American market.
PH: +1 (346) 444-3555

Layer One Technologies

Layer One Technologies provides information and communication technology (ICT) services to businesses in the greater Charlotte area. Whatever your cabling needs, we have you covered.
PH: (980) 288-4800


VOIP services
Stay in contact quickly and easily with your international offices through Megacall.

Megacall will fulfill all your telecommunication requirements and on top of that go the extra mile and surprise you with new possibilities for your business, speed to action your requests and keeping within your budget.

📞 Virtual Switchboard
🔌 SIP trunk
🔢 Virtual number
📠 Call Center Solutions
PH: +34 952 667 511


Our SNAPsolution – UC and Collaboration tools – can be quickly deployed so you can realize your ROI just as quick. netsapiens offers a comprehensive suite of unified communications (UC) & Contact Center (CC) feature-sets to service providers. Custom-built to provide our partners with unprecedented levels of flexibility, customization, and ease of use.

netsapiens allows you to control your margins in order to improve your ROI. As a provider of a facilities-based solution, you are able to personally choose your origination, termination, hardware costs, etc. to fit your budget. We also allow you to strategically price your product for a maximum return on your investment by charging on a conc...
(read more)
PH: 7608463385

Nuxiba Technologies

Build a strong business presence and improve customer relationships!

Offer custom-tailored solutions throughout your sales cycles and customer interactions and assess service levels and control corporate goal achievement through reports and statistics.

Obtain detailed reports based on relevant activity in your contact center, access our quality module to assess calls and performance, apply surveys, develop scripts, record conversations, and more!

Schedule a live demo or request a quote today!


Long Distance and Toll Free Specialists for Contact Centers
Televergence is a facilities based US Nationwide High volume/High Capacity Inbound and Outbound VoIP Carrier for Contact Centers. We specialize in termination (outbound) and origination (toll free and local DID) for the contact center. We have a technical staff that is up to date on the majority of platforms in use today, including asterisk and Vicci dial, as well as many of the currently in use software platforms.
Contact Centers generally see cost reduction and containment when using Televergence as their contact center telecom carrier. Televergence is the only active US VoIP carrier certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which enables our services to qualify for meeting corporations Supplier Diversity Needs.
PH: 213-943-2023

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