By now you have heard the hype about IBM’s Watson and its platform for artificial intelligence integration into a variety of business applications. You have also likely heard the commotion from Facebook about chatbots and the many ways to capitalize on these bot companies. Revamping voice as a new user interface, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Echo have both brought intelligence into everyday life bringing a new family member into many households.
With the explosion of artificial intelligence, we have really only begun to see the beginning of it’s capabilities and one specific area AI can make more than a spark of a difference is in customer experience.
Even with the wealth of new technology that has arisen over the last several decades providing businesses the ability to scale and automate customer engagement, businesses still struggle with customer satisfaction. But why?
Ask yourself honestly when the last time was that you enjoyed contacting customer service. Or when was it that you were transferred between agents who were already plugged into your account and knew the exact reason you were calling? The sad reality it that the answer to these questions is likely… never.
Too many facets of the customer journey are disconnected which is merely an indicator of dated business models. Important touchpoints are independently run across the enterprise and most of them don’t have the ability to connect or talk with each other as a customer would expect given this day and age. Even more interesting is that some touchpoints actually conflict with each other making the customer journey more of a customer nightmare.
Most businesses have not paid much attention to their dated systems and mostly because they’re viewed as money pits rather than investments. AI can rescue these rusty, ancient contraptions and introduce intelligent, scalable engagement that provides a personalized experience to help customers easily achieve what it was they were calling for in the first place. What a concept!
In order for AI to be fully implemented and break new ground, businesses need to first recognize the value of customer experience and see it’s impact beyond it’s novelty.
AI provides a blank slate to upgrade and polish customer experiences. And with the right planning and design, intelligent AI can put your business on the fast track to customer centricity.
Ways AI is being applied:
Chatbots: Refer to the Facebook hype above, chatbots are virtual conversation agents that are really very “smart”. In other words, they are intelligent computer programs formulated to have conversations with humans online.
Virtual Concierge: Based in either messaging platforms or hardware devices, these are bots designed to provide personalized services and in some instances, they are paired with human counterparts to help people buy or find unique gifts, book travel, coordinate events, etc.
Virtual assistants/attendants: Not to be confused with the virtual concierge, virtual assistants use AI to help users with questions or commands. Examples include Amazon Echo, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, and many others.
Cognitive Computing: In simple terms, this is the simulation of the human thought process to supplement human engagement. Cognitive computing involves self-learning from millions upon millions of pieces of data. The more data the system has to analyze, the smarter the decisions it can make. One of the most popular platforms in this space is the IBM’s Watson.
So how does AI help to improve customer experience?
- Customer self-service
- Pre-emptive routing
- Task performance/management
- Augmented engagement
- Product/service innovation
- Predictive service/sale
- Digital concierge/assistant collaboration
AI helps to facilitate intelligent, informed, and accurate responses across all of these platforms at any point in the customer journey. Instead of solving the broken touchpoints, AI helps companies to weave together a natural and complete journey to improve customer experiences.
Customer engagement is not a cost center, it’s an investment in customer relationships which in turn means more loyalty and wallet share. AI will not only enhance customer experiences, it will improve every aspect of business.
If you’d like to find out how you can implement AI into your existing platform, please contact us today!