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Jim Wheless
Global Head of Customer Experience Transformation
2 September 2019

It’s becoming more prevalent that Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Advanced Analytics are among the most powerful tools businesses are implementing today to improve the customer experience.

Companies everywhere are realizing benefits in operating cost-reductions by intelligently automating repetitive tasks, thereby freeing their people to perform new jobs that create greater value. Retailers, for whom the customer experience is paramount, are on board. A National Retail Federation study found that 80% of retailers will implement intelligent automation by 2021.

But companies that use such technology only to cut costs run the risk of failing to delight their customers and losing them to more agile and customer-focused competitors. That’s a risk they can’t afford, and to avoid it they must take a human-first approach to machine-first automation.

Improving the Customer Experience

AI, ML, and advanced analytics can supercharge the ways in which companies can personalize the customer experience – which is what customers want and have grown to expect. At Starbucks, an AI Algorithm recognizes customers through their smartphones. This allows its baristas to offer personalized recommendations based on what customers have ordered in the past. At Royal Caribbean International, the cruise line pipes personalized vacation music into its cabins, using an AI that interprets the feel of the photos travelers submit. Lyft and Uber both use ML and neural networks to dynamically price their fees, although in different ways to create different experiences.

The question, of course, is how does a company begin? How can it implement these customer-facing tools efficiently, effectively, and successfully?

The Machine-First Delivery

Companies must begin adopting AI, ML, and advanced analytics by taking a long, hard look at where they are now. What outcomes they want to achieve? What experiences they want to realize for their customers and employees? How they collect data? What metrics they use? And how they will realize value?

When it comes to the customer experience, the data businesses collect must start with ethnographic research: interviewing customers to understand their feelings, wants and beliefs. From this insight companies can envision innovative target customer experiences that can be realized with machine-first automation capabilities.

Jim Wheless, global managing partner at TCS, is co-author of the article “Using Advanced Technologies to Deliver an Uncommon Customer Experience Every Day,” in Volume 12 of the TCS Perspectives management journal.

About the author(s)
Jim Wheless
Global Head of Customer Experience Transformation

Jim Wheless is the Global Head of Customer Experience (CX) Transformation within our Consulting and Services Integration practice at TCS. Jim is a senior executive with 20+ years' experience delivering business outcomes in Customer Experience (CX) Strategy and Digital Transformation to premier clients across multiple industries.

Jim was a partner at another firm where he helped build their Digital Practice and where he led the offering development of a full suite of capabilities across Customer Experience, Advanced Analytics and AI, Digital Marketing, and mobility/IoT based solutions. Under his leadership, the Digital & CX business grew 25%+ annually and received award-winning innovation recognition. He broadened previous client relationships and broke into new accounts, advising and partnering with CXO's and their organizations.