5 companies transforming their customer experience with AI

How are five giants of the customer experience world using AI to stay one step ahead of the rapidly climbing curve?

 'Come with me if you want to live.'

When it comes to customer experience, artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the stuff of dated science fiction. It is a matter of life and death for today’s businesses. Adapt to survive or be left in the dust by industry disrupters and innovators of today.

So, how are five companies using AI to transform their customer experience? Reading on is essential to finding out. Doing so in the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger is not.

Google Duplex: ‘What would I do without your smart mouth?’

The biggest takeaway from Google's I/O conference this year was their focus on AI and by far the most exciting announcement was Google Duplex. In the not-to-distant future, the Google Assistant will be able to make actual phone calls for the customer. At the conference, Google Assistant was shown making a dinner reservation over the phone, umming and ahhing like a real person. The realism is truly astonishing. The implications for what AI can accomplish in the future are mind-boggling or, as John Legend would say, head spinning.

In the not-to-distant future, the Google Assistant will be able to make actual phone calls for the customer.

In fact, Google Assistant will be using the singer’s voice later this year. Consider the mind boggled.

KFC: ‘Nobody here but us chickens’

Meanwhile, Baidu, commonly known as 'China's Google’, has partnered with KFC to use an entirely automated facial recognition software to predict what a customer may order. The robot uses data like gender, facial expressions, and other visual features. Baidu says 'a male customer in his early 20s' would be offered 'a set meal of crispy chicken hamburger, roasted chicken wings and coke' and 'a female customer in her 50s' would be recommended a 'porridge and soybean milk for breakfast'. The robot also remembers individual customers and can make suggestions based on what they have ordered in the past. 

Spotify: The playlist that gets you

Spotify as a service is built entirely on data but the music-streaming titan is using AI to take that one step further. Spotify's robot measures patterns in customers' listening habits to curate a playlist based on what it thinks each customer will like. It takes a few weeks to understand a customers' taste, but when it does they can look forward to their personalised 'Discover Weekly' playlist on their home screen every Monday. Personally, I cannot wait for the gentle magnificence of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Moana soundtrack on my Monday morning commute.

Erica: How did they think of the name?

Bank of America this year began to roll out their virtual assistant, Erica. Customers will be able to interact with the chatbot via voice or text. Erica will be able to help them with accessing balance information, transferring and sending money. This comes alongside the perhaps surprising news that Bank of America is planning to open 400 new branches within the next four years, showing that AI does not have to mean the loss of the human touch in the customer experience.

Domino’s: Order a pizza with an emoji

'What deal can I get on my pizza today?'

It's a fair question. I myself have asked it at least three times this morning. Domino’s Pizza officials say it was one of the most common questions customers used to ask on Facebook. Now, 'Dom,' Domino's Messenger robot, allows customers to order pizzas by setting up 'Easy Order'. Customers need only send Dom the word, 'pizza', or the pizza emoji and their favourite pizza is on its way.

'The future's not set'

So, what do these changes mean for customer experience practitioners? It shows that the best are looking past the hype of AI and integrating it seamlessly into a bleeding edge process for their customers. Peter Norvig, director of research at Google and former head of computational sciences at NASA, said that the customer doesn’t really notice that AI plays a role. They simply see their results improving.

The best are looking past the hype of AI and integrating it seamlessly into a bleeding edge process for their customers.

Domino’s saw their revenue and earnings estimates smashed in the first quarter of 2018. President and Chief Executive Officer J. Patrick Doyle cited the fact that the business is on a path to take orders digitally allowing its store-level teams to focus all their efforts on making great pizzas and giving great service to its customers.

The success is there to be had, and for businesses that fail to jump on board, it’s, ‘Hasta la vista, baby’.

Want to hear more about how AI is changing the face of the business world? Read the AI 2020 Report from AiiA Network here.

Are you hooked on our weekly podcasts yet?

If not, check out this taster with Cheryl China, SVP Group Director, Contact Centre Escalation and Specialised Teams at Citizens Bank. She returns to the CX Network podcast hot seat with host Seth Adler in this interview to discuss building your personal brand, which begins with listening. Whether it's your boss, your direct reports or your colleagues you need to always be present…