Let’s continue the journey I started in my first blog about Cisco, AI and automation. In it, I focused on our zero-touch RMA notification tool. Now we’ll explore Webex Chat Assistant, our AI-based conversational tool.

The Collective Intelligence of Webex Chat Assistant

I mentioned in ‘Machines as “Thinking” Partners’ that annually, Cisco has 16 million customer exchanges. That massive amount of information is fodder for our AI crucible. From it, we forged Webex Chat Assistant, merging technology and service innovations.

Connect with it for help, day or night. You get targeted answers and make it smarter and faster… for you. The question of real versus artificial intelligence is moot, as Heinlein’s rhetoric from The Number of the Beast highlights: “Who is more real? Homer or Ulysses? Shakespeare or Hamlet? Burroughs or Tarzan?” We’re the co-creators. This is our collective intelligence. There’s nothing “artificial” about that. Just an easy, different way to find fast answers.

 “AI, robots, and humans work better when they work together.”
—Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

Webex Chat Assistant was also the natural solution for customers who’ve told us that sometimes they’d rather fix a problem than open a support case. So, to create a customer service experience as superior as working with the Cisco TAC, we designed it with two themes in mind: reduce friction and fail fast.

Let me explain.

Reduce Friction and Fail Fast

To reduce friction, we focused on comprehension, speed, and relevancy. First, we looked at that AI crucible and asked ourselves your questions. Turnkey questions, such as, “How do I change my virtual background?” More involved questions, such as, “How do I enable single sign-on certificate expiration alert notifications?” We answered them in dozens of ways to bake the vagaries of human language, and comprehension, into your AI experience to create a “real” Cisco TAC experience. Today Webex Chat Assistant “speaks” in English. We’re now programming in additional languages. Our goal is to make Webex Chat Assistant as multi-lingual as the Cisco TAC.

Next is speed. Answers come fast, as fast as you can type. They’re also edited and optimized for chat, so they’re as quick to read as receive. Conversations with Webex Chat Assistant last about five minutes. The time saved compared to a traditional case can add up as you use it more and more.

Finally, there’s relevancy. In our last quarter, we delivered exact match answers for 35 percent of your queries using guided, follow-up questions that pinpoint precise responses. We launched with 50 guided question sets, and now we’ve authored hundreds and counting, adding more quarterly as you, our technology, and marketplace conditions evolve.

In our last quarter, we delivered exact match answers
for 35 percent of your queries.

“No employee makes the same mistake twice.”

Like Asimov’s robotics credo from“I, Robot”, Webex Chat Assistant is designed to fail fast. It “knows” when to step aside and connect you with a Cisco TAC engineer. And here’s a critical detail: None of your initial exchanges are lost in the ether. All details are logged and tagged so your engineer enters the conversation fully informed by an AI-to-human warm handoff in a seamless transition. Again, who or what part of that total experience was more, or less, real?

As my summer reading author Isaac Asimov said, “There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before.” Watch this space to discover, if you have not already, our Virtual TAC engineer. With it, we are doubling down on natural AI communication and collaboration on even more complex topics to help you better manage your IT, time, and bandwidth challenges.


Find out more about what we are doing with

Artificial Intelligence at Cisco



Rajan Panchanathan

Vice President, Product Management

Customer Experience (CX)