Cabot’s partners with Microsoft and Insight to transform its customer support for DIY woodcare projects using Generative AI

The premium woodcare brand’s chatbot prototype paves the way for AI-driven innovation across the broader DuluxGroup

Cabot’s, part of DuluxGroup, has developed an innovative AI-powered chatbot prototype to provide automated, scalable customer support for DIY woodcare projects. Named the Cabot’s Project Assistant, the company built the breakthrough solution as part of Microsoft’s AI First Movers Program and in collaboration with Microsoft partner Insight Enterprises.

The chatbot prototype uses Microsoft’s advanced AI and cloud technologies – including Azure OpenAI Service and Azure Cosmos DB – to answer the most frequently asked questions about Cabot’s’ premium wood care products. It can provide customers with product recommendations, advice on product application and maintenance, and solutions to problems they encounter during DIY woodcare projects. These responses are based on the company’s extensive product knowledge and customer interaction history, which have been used to train the chatbot.

As the project assistant can operate 24/7, it will also free up the company’s help and advice teams to focus on more complex queries – boosting customer satisfaction and engagement.

“With 25 per cent of consumers seeking woodcare advice from the Cabot’s website before visiting a retailer, we recognised the significant benefits of scaling our online customer support,” said Thomas Buruma, Cabot’s Marketing Manager. “The chatbot prototype we have developed with Microsoft and Insight will enable our customers to navigate a complex category, get 24/7 support with their projects, and buy with confidence.”

Following a successful prototype demonstration to DuluxGroup executives in November2023, Cabot’s will pilot the chatbot internally before moving it into production in 2024.

It also plans to scale the solution across other business units within DuluxGroup and add new capabilities. These include an option to upload photos for the chatbot to analyse and provide colour advice based on the images.

Angela Anthony, Executive General Manager IT & Digital Enablement at DuluxGroup, said: “This project demonstrates DuluxGroup’s commitment to serving our customers in the best possible way and bringing them closer to our products by leveraging cutting-edge technologies.

Importantly, the Cabot’s solution provides a scalable framework in our generative AI capability for brands across our business.

Microsoft’s AI First Movers Program was instrumental in guiding Cabot’s through the complexities of Generative AI integration. The program involved envisioning and architecture design sessions, co-led by Microsoft and Insight, which helped shape the system architecture for the chatbot. DuluxGroup also developed their Responsible AI Principles in collaboration with Microsoft to ensure ethical development and use of Generative AI.

“The AI First Movers Program is designed to empower organisations like Cabot’s to harness the significant potential of AI,” said Sarah Carney, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Australia and New Zealand. “Our collaboration with Cabot’s and Insight showcases how AI can be used responsibly to create innovative solutions that resonate with customers and drive digital transformation.”

Insight Enterprises played a crucial role in developing the chatbot prototype, providing technical expertise to ensure it met the specific requirements of Cabot’s and the broader DuluxGroup.

“Our partnership with Cabot’s and Microsoft exemplifies the perfect blend of technology and business acumen,” said  Veli-Matti, Vanamo, CTO, Insight Enterprises, APAC. “We are proud to have contributed to a solution that not only meets Cabot’s’ immediate needs but also provides a scalable model for the entire DuluxGroup.”