Ever since IBM’s supercomputer “Deep Blue” beat the world’s reigning chess champion in 1997, the world has been mesmerized by the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Since AI’s initial boom in the 1980s, companies in all industries have adapted the technology to meet their unique business needs. From personalized ads, to virtual shopping, to automated chat, companies around the globe are realizing massive gains in efficiency and revenue from implementing AI.
While AI, machine learning, intelligent agents and chatbots have promising potential, implementing such advanced tools can be overwhelming and challenging to understand. Some deep learning machines mimic the human brain to generate intelligent solutions, but can lack clear explanations, creating “Black Box” issues. Despite these challenges, education on AI must continue, especially for optimizing customer experience across an organization, from backend support to purchase flow.
The perceived mystery behind AI can be overcome with intentional, educated conversations about the technology. A little preparation will go a long way when educating your CX team on how AI works and the tangible benefits it will bring to your organization. The purpose of preparing for these conversations is to ensure they are productive and lead to impactful implementation of up-to-date AI tools. AI has the potential to transform the way your company manages CX. Read on to learn more about how you can make a case for AI to improve your company’s CX.
Understanding the benefits of AI for customer experience
Today’s customers have high expectations when interacting with a company. They expect cohesive, personalized, quick, and courteous interactions with brands and their support teams. A recent report by Salesforce supports this trend with data, revealing 85% of customers expect a cohesive experience across departments and 56% expect all offers to be personalized. Meeting these, and other customer expectations can greatly affect your company’s brand reputation and loyalty. It can also influence product sales and even differentiate your company from competitors.
With increasing consumer expectations, it is critical to adopt and implement the best tools for anticipating and exceeding customer needs. The right tool can improve efficiency, personalization and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. Some of the latest, most effective tools for improving CX use AI. These tools process data, and fulfill customer needs at an accelerated pace; with increased accuracy in some cases. AI can help augment existing operations to keep up with growing customer needs. As more companies implement this technology, AI will no longer be optional to remain competitive but will be a requirement to stay in business.
Key takeaway: Companies must meet high customer expectations to establish brand reputation and loyalty. Utilizing the latest tools can aid in exceeding customer needs, such as AI for improved efficiency and personalization. As more adopt these technologies, they will be necessary for remaining competitive.
How to approach productive conversations around AI
Because many people may not fully understand AI, it’s crucial to have effective, foundational conversations with the right colleagues to discuss and educate one another on how it works and can benefit the company. This will help your team become more open to the idea of implementing and using this up-to-date technology.
Here are some tips for approaching the conversation in a way that is productive, educational, and inclusive.
1. Talking With the Right People: Before you begin conversations about AI implementation, identify the key stakeholders in your organization with the influence or decision-making power to make changes to the CX workflow. Once you have identified those people, involve them in the discussion from the beginning—no one likes to be the last one to a party.
Before even bringing up the topic of AI, ask them questions to understand their role and goals such as:
- What are their KPIs?
- How do they measure success?
- What are major pain points or operational challenges they face?
- What customer needs are they responsible for addressing?
Understanding their challenges and motivations will help you better show how AI can support their goals, make their jobs easier, and improve the company’s CX.
At SupportNinja, the introduction of a dedicated AI interest group has provided our team with a platform to exchange insights, knowledge, and innovations. Through this, we have been able to harness the power of AI to enhance efficiency and drive business growth. We even have an exclusive internal podcast devoted to sharing valuable insights!
2. Start with the basics: At the beginning of any conversation, take a moment to ask the other person or group what they already know about AI and how it can help with CX. Listen and politely address any misconceptions or gaps in foundational knowledge.
One thing you may want to help them understand is the three types of AI:
1- Process Automation: This is the most common form of AI according to Harvard Business Review. It includes the automation of both digital and physical tasks, typically using “robots” or code to process and input information.
Example: Taking information from email or call center activities and inputting it into an internal system or spreadsheet for record-keeping purposes.
2- Cognitive Insight: This is the second most common form of AI and it describes the process of using AI to detect patterns in massive amounts of data to deliver usable insights.
Example: Automating the process of evaluating customer data to deliver personalized digital ads to potential buyers.
3- Cognitive Engagement: While this kind of AI is least common, it is also a very powerful, useful technology when applied to the right project. This technology engages in conversation with people using machine learning.
Example: Using chatbots or intelligent agents to provide 24/7 customer service for an array of issues from password resets to billing questions—all using the customers natural language to communicate.
Helping your team understand the different kinds of AI will help narrow your conversation to the AI tools that make the most sense for your team. It will also help clarify any confusion or misconception your stakeholders may have about the technology and its varied uses.
3. Focus on the Benefits: AI has many benefits from optimization, to unique insights, to rapid customer responsiveness. Be sure to highlight these and the other many benefits of AI in any conversation with your team. It is important to introduce the topic of AI by describing its benefits in simple terms. Highlight how AI can help your specific business.
Here are some benefits of AI you may consider sharing with your team:
- Predict and anticipate customer needs
- Deliver personalized experiences
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Drive loyalty and retention rates
- Improve response times
- Increase efficiency
- Gather unique insights
Frame your AI conversations to focus on the benefits of AI technology so your stakeholders have a strong grasp on how AI tools will improve CX. This will help them better understand the value of AI and how to leverage it to benefit the customer and company.
4. Use Concrete Evidence: This is where understanding your stakeholders and their KPIs becomes really important. Once your team understands the basics of AI and how it can benefit business at a high-level, take a moment to connect the dots between the capabilities of AI tools and your organization's KPIs. This is a crucial link to convincing your stakeholders to implement AI as a strategy for improving your organization’s CX.
5. Address Ethical Considerations: It is important to address ethical considerations and AI concerns up front. While there may be specific concerns related to your unique line of business, two common concerns that may come up in conversations about AI are job displacement and privacy:
- Job Displacement: Identify if the AI tool you are proposing will have an impact on jobs at your company. For example, many cognitive insight AI tools only affect digital tools—not jobs. They improve performance of data processing functions that humans can’t and don’t do at scale. Other AI tools may have implications for jobs. Some tools that enable robotic automation may improve the speed or efficiency of existing jobs, especially offshore business functions, and can result in job loss. However, many of these robotic functions are necessary just to keep up with increasing customer demand and may be additive to existing staff. Some AI functions simply can’t replicate a human job. A number of machine learning tools have limited success with conversational customer interactions and will ultimately require a human to resolve the issue. Whatever the case is for your company, understand the impact AI may have on jobs and how you plan to address it at your company.
- Privacy: Many AI tools access and process massive amounts of company and customer data, making data security an important consideration in any AI conversation. Data breaches could harm customers and your company reputation so understand the tools you want to implement and the security measures necessary to keep data safe. Then tell your shareholders how data is protected and handled securely.
Key takeaway: Having effective conversations to educate colleagues on the benefits of AI is crucial for successful implementation of this advanced technology in businesses. Involve key stakeholders, start with basics, highlight benefits, use concrete evidence, and address ethical considerations.
Harnessing the power of AI to meet evolving customer needs
As customer needs evolve, so must our processes and tools for meeting those needs. To keep up with the pace of the current consumer market, CX professionals must stay up-to-date with the latest tools and resources, including AI, to drive business success. As a CX professional, it is your job to help advocate for the customer and educate your business on how to serve them. The best tools for doing that may use AI technology. Although it may feel new or overwhelming, having a focused, inclusive conversation about AI and how it supports your company's goals can lead to success. This productive exchange of ideas can ultimately prove to be fruitful for your organization.
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