Stop Ignoring the Impact AI Can Have on Your Business TODAY

With all the hype and promised potential of AI, how much of that will really come to life? And how will it impact our businesses? Will facial recognition play a part? Can phone or home assistants like Siri or Alexa become helpful office assistants or agents? Will “The Robots” take over completely by 2021, 2025, 2050?

The potential of AI – more so, the reality of artificial intelligence (AI) – becomes even more believable as we experience it ourselves. I recently upgraded my phone.  My new device is chockful of bleeding-edge features. A “smart” camera that let’s complete amateurs (like me!) capture fancy portrait pictures! And no more fingerprint login, no it’s facial recognition– amazing! … Except… my 5-year-old daughter was able to unlock my device! There she was, browsing my photos and playing videos. Maybe we do look alike!  Either way, it makes me wonder whether this technology is really perfected – yet. In my case, no worries! No family photos were lost. However, just a simple tap of her little fingers could have unintentionally wreaked some damage.

Setting Expectations

There is every perspective and opinion possible about how AI will impact our society. From robots taking over jobs, resulting implosion of the consumer economy (YIKES!) to a more naturally-occurring shift that enables us to focus on the human aspects in face-to-face fields like healthcare and environmental renewal programs (that doesn’t sound too bad).  Some future-tellers are even predicting that AI will be capable of “human levels” of intelligence… (hmmmm, robots with empathy? Not possible, right??)

Here’s what we know: At some point in their customer journey, people almost always need help – from a real person. With the advancement of self-service options and AI technology, customers are seeking that “human touch” later and later during their engagements. This means our front-line agents need to be more prepared; more skilled than ever to handle the more complex issues. Let’s set realistic expectations within our businesses and seek to harness AI to enhance the "human" element of the customer experience!

Where does AI fit?

Agents want to be important, respected and empowered. Businesses want to drive efficiency, lower cost, and increase customer retention and satisfaction.  Isn’t there a win-win that AI can bring us? It all begins with data… to learn.  Enter AI. Artificial intelligence helps us put a focus on understanding data, and then leverage that understanding to drive better human behaviors and experiences.

Imagine you are your customer. Do you have a personal in-home assistant, like Google Home? Do you use a Nest learning thermostat? Or Ring smart home security? Does that imply that you are becoming more and more willing to “test out” these new technologies in more and more aspects in your life?  As a customer and an employee?

In your business, it may start behind the scenes – (i.e. smarter forecasting OR omnichannel routing based on best personality match. Or maybe it’s more visible, such as chatbots and virtual assistants.

Art Schoeller, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, shares his perspectives about the influence of AI and the initial uses for CX - check it out.