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AI and the front runners

Artificial intelligence (AI) is giving customer experience a shot in the arm. 

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Organisations are increasingly adopting conversational chatbots for providing customer service - all the way to voice-assisted in-room controls at hotels. 

"Consumers know about and want AI - but they want one informed by human intelligence.”

The investment into these AI-driven experiences is being noticed by consumers and is starting to be embraced. Yet not pure AI: 58 per cent of Australian consumers prefer interactions enabled by a mix of AI and humans. They want an experience informed by human intelligence.

Given AI is no longer alien to most consumers, why are organisations struggling to provide AI experiences which solve customer pain points?

According to recent research, organisations are focusing on the costs and return-on-investment of AI instead of concentrating on solving potential consumer pain points.

Almost two thirds of organisations also ranked the cost of implementation as a key parameter in choosing whether to implement an AI use case. Impact on customer experience was ranked ninth. 

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However there are some clear front runners - organisations embracing the power of AI to solve consumer pain points such as in banking and financial services.

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These front runners differ in many ways; they discuss a set of key practices they should follow to differentiate themselves while building a customer experience strategy for an AI-driven environment. They aim for a holistic approach to deploying AI in customer experience. 

So how should organisations augment their customer experience processes for an AI world?

Concerns

Front runners keep their consumers at the centre of their AI initiatives, as opposed to other organisations more focused on factors such as cost and ROI. 

They are also more likely to focus on the impact on the customer experience and the applications consumers prefer.

AI-first

An AI-first approach makes AI a core part of a service rather than an afterthought.

This approach was integral part for front runner organisations with 78 per cent taking an AI-first approach when making organisational decisions and 69 per cent seeing AI as a business topic rather than a technical topic.

Thinking AI-first is paramount to ensure the organisational focus remains on how AI can be best leveraged. More often than not AI is thought of as a technology challenge rather than a business opportunity.

Organisations are taking note and focusing on existing offerings such as Google renaming their research arm to Google AI and OCBC bank in Singapore creating a dedicated AI unit to champion an AI-first mindset.

Scale up

A large proportion of front runners have scaled their AI-enabled interactions across consumer touchpoints; 42 per cent have globally scaled AI-enabled interactions for providing information during a purchase.

This scalability across multiple interactions allows AI to implement omni-channel experiences which increase the benefits of using AI as well as a more seamless experience for the customer.

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Informed

Front runners understand the nuances which matter to consumers when it comes to AI interactions: 92 per cent understand consumers want to be aware of instances when they are being targeted with products or services.

Alignment

Consumers expect organisations to offer incentives to them for sharing their personal data.

On average, more than seven out of 10 consumers expect incentives in the form of better deals or offers and priority services. These incentives are employed by 98 per cent of front runners.  

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There are a number of focus areas front runner organisations have when augmenting their customer experience process with AI; however, there is also the challenge of deploying these solutions.

For example, here at Capgemini we use an Applying AI to CX framework which supports the deployment of AI solutions. The key areas of this framework are employee augmentation, conversational interfaces, customer understanding and predictive personalisation. 

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Organisations everywhere are now presented with a huge opportunity to learn from these front runner organisations and tap into evolving consumer expectations.

This will allow them to make more customised and personalised AI-enabled customer interactions without losing human empathy and connection in the process.

By doing so, organisations may ensure the advent of AI does not mean human intelligence takes a back-seat; it just makes humans all the more critical in building world-class experiences.

Peter Meliniotis is Director Digital Services at Capgemini Australia 

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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