Artificial intelligence: Genuine experience

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CX Network

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a major opportunity for organisations at large. It is defined as the development of computer systems to perform tasks normally undertaken by humans. This movement of tasks from one group to another is not unusual. Tasks have been shifted from groups through the use of outsourcing for many years.

Outsourcing has pros and cons, and key tactics that make a difference to success. Similarly, there are advantages and disadvantages of implementing artificial intelligence within the organisation, and key tactics are emerging as differentiators in the road to success.

Here we analyse the insights from the 2018 Global State of Customer Experience report, to understand how the artificial intelligence trend is growing.

The stages of the AI journey

The Global CX report divides the AI journey into seven stages:

  • No plans to start,
  • Want to learn more,
  • Beginning stages
  • Sourcing vendor information,
  • Pre-deployment,
  • Early implementation
  • and established.

Compared to the 2017 report, there has been a nine percent increase in activity in the final two stages, and a 14% decrease in activity in the lowest three stages. This shows overall progress in the AI journey; an overall climbing of the ladder towards an established AI strategy. The major increase for 2018 is in the stage of early implementation, with a quarter of practitioners now active at this stage. This fits with the ambitions and targets that the practitioners have as 72% want to be at the established stage within three years.

As an overall trend in the customer experience world, AI is also climbing, taking fourth place for practitioners and commentators in the overall 2018 top trends for CX. This is remarkable because AI did not feature in the top ten at all for those groups in 2017.

Artificial intelligence is a growing priority customer experience, now the important aspects to understand are what major hurdles must be overcome and how it can be best deployed to have the greatest impact on the organisation.

See also: Lessons learned from artificial intelligence projects

Customer Data

The biggest hurdles; the biggest opportunities

The key smart CX trends highlighted by experts in the 2018 report include self-servicing model, personalisation, security, block chain and multi-model chat bot. These are all complementary, or competitive to an AI strategy, depending on the overall approach taken.

Data privacy and big data management are the major hurdles in the way of AI deployments. As regulatory requirements are integrated into organisations and systems, and consumer behaviour adapts to the new environment, it will become clearer how AI can be fully optimised within the business.

Finding the right place for artificial intelligence in the business

Commentators agree that the benefits of AI can depend greatly on how and where it is being used within the organisation. Mark Gubbins, Business Performance & Insight Manager, British Airways, explains that automation should not be applied blindly in a brand strategy: “Automation is great, but some of our customers only fly once a year and they choose BA because they want reassurance and expect to be looked after with personal service. Therefore, while a level of automation may suit regular business customers, we need to retain the ability to provide the personal touch to the people who need it.” In this case customer-facing interactions that are purely automated would be damaging to the brand and to the customers’ experience.

AI for the customer experience advantage

The statistics from the 2018 Global State of Customer Experience report provide the evidence that AI is gaining more attention and becoming more widespread within the organisation. When existing hurdles, such as data privacy, become more manageable, it will become even easier for AI to proliferate and deliver value to the business. And finally, it is essential that AI is applied to the most relevant business units so that customers benefit in a way that truly makes a difference to their experience.

Interested in empowering customer experience with AI systems? Check out this podcast: