AI technologies help brands meet customers with a human face
5 MINS READ
Enhance CX with AI
While AI is commonly seen as a way to cut costs by automating labor, it has a capacity to expand existing CX capabilities.
Improving customer experience in most industries will require humans not only stay involved but engage with customers in new ways. That’s where these new, intelligent technologies can be most useful: in enhancing, not replacing, the human face the enterprise turns toward its customers.
According to a National Retail Federation survey, about 40% of retailers are implementing some form of intelligent automation, and more than 80% plan to do so by 2021. A large majority is still focused on leveraging these technologies to automate labor and thereby reduce operating costs. And, whether they realize it or not, that’s a risky approach.
Extend capabilities of your workforce
Companies that successfully use advanced intelligent technologies to enhance human capabilities, do so with a human-centric, machine-first strategy focusing on transformation of business processes that impact the customer experience—marketing, sales, and post-sales customer services.
Take marketing. Leading firms have personalized offers to customers based on who they are, where they are, and what they like, based on past purchasing patterns.
In sales, AI-enabled systems can present the customer with products that would not be obvious to a retailer’s merchandizers. For example, Walmart is using AI to tailor its stock based on store location and its analysis of local area consumers’ shopping histories.
Royal Caribbean International rolled out its Ocean Medallion wearable devices that allow guests to unlock cabin doors, and pay for drinks and food, giving Royal Caribbean’s employees more time to respond personally to customer needs and desires.
In the customer service area, AI and machine learning systems can quickly route the highest-value customers to the most knowledgeable, capable people to resolve customer issues while providing enhanced insight to customer-service agents, shortening the time it takes to resolve problems.
The examples cut across industries. Swedish Bank SEB uses a virtual assistant to manage natural language conversations. In the 30% of cases where virtual assistant is unable to address an issue, it automatically turns the call over to a less-burdened, less time-constrained human call center representative.
New, intelligent technologies can be more useful enhancing, not replacing, the human face the enterprise turns towards its customers.
Human-centric, machine-first approach with smart technologies
Taking the Machine First approach requires assessment of data collection, data management, and analytics capabilities.
Smart systems need huge volumes of highest quality, accessible data. One valuable vehicle for retrieving this data is loyalty programs, in which customers share their purchasing data with companies in return for rewards.
Once a company understands where and how its customers’ experience can be improved, it should employ an agile approach, including the end-user feedback while using data to understand customer interactions with business, and design a customer journey.
This process will help companies evolve in real-time a process of continuous innovation and delivery (CI/CD) to ensure the customer experience is refreshed in real time.
Finally, the company must redesign jobs and train its people to provide a superior, AI- and analytics-enabled customer experience while making sure to meets its customers with a human face.
Duty now for the future
While these technologies help companies keep up with the rapid pace of change, only people, armed with human insights provided by machines, can provide a customer experience that will resonate with people even as it evolves to keep pace with their ever-changing needs and desires.
Set your purpose of projects experimenting with AI, machine learning, and analytics, to extend capabilities of your workforce so they in turn can help improve the customer experience.