Artificial Intelligence (AI) and why it matters for customer service/ experience?

From the book-The Digital Event Horizon

As AI capabilities mature, I see a lot of human interaction currently handled by the customer service reps, moving to the AI-enabled voice and chatbots.

Over the next few articles, I will explore AI used cases and imperatives in while deciding the business strategy across industries. In this one, I explore a few customer service experiences that can be taken over by AI.

There is something interesting happening in AI. The influence of AI and robotics is expanding into work domains which were once considered strictly for humans.

According to 2019 data from the National Venture Capital Association, 1,356 AI-related companies in the U.S. raised $18.457 billion. That topped the 1,281 companies that raised $16.8 billion in 2018, according to the Q4 2019 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor.

According to CB Insights, AI startups raised a record $26.6 billion in 2019, spanning more than 2,200 deals worldwide. That’s compared to roughly 1,900 deals totaling $22.1 billion in 2018 and about 1,700 deals totaling $16.8 billion in 2017.

It was once thought that robotics and AI can only takeover:

  1. Linear Tasks- Little or no multitasking is involved.
  2. Repetitive Tasks- The same steps are to be followed.
  3. Programmed Tasks- Feed an algorithm in the robot and it will follow the task list.

This was the reason why they were never really perceived as a threat by the white-collar workers. However, technological advancements over the last few years have shaken this belief to the core. There are no “safe jobs” as AI is chartering into three new domains:

  1. Complex Tasks. AI can now help us sit relaxed in the passenger seat of a self-driven car. Google and Uber are already conducting tests around the future of self-driven cars and taxis. Domino’s experimented with Nuro for pizza delivery via autonomous vehicles

Creative Tasks. A robot playing a violin or a guitar shows the invasion into the art territory. Likewise designing and games that required right-brain thinking is also being done through robotics.

Microsoft recently taught its XiaoIce chatbot, a Chinese language conversational AI, how to interpret pictures as poems.

Metaprogramming Tasks. AI can now take programming to the level of metaprogramming, meaning that efficiencies can be maximized and inefficiencies can be minimized by studying data points

As per Asian Nikkei, Medical information provider M3 has tapped Alibaba artificial intelligence technology to develop a diagnostic system that can quickly identify COVID-19 pneumonia in CT scan images.

In addition, there are a few big trends and opportunities which all businesses, employees, and consumers must keep track of:

  1. Repetitive Monotonous Tasks- A robot can work without emotions- All monotonous tasks which are highly repetitive in nature can be taken over by robots.
  2. Permanent Companions- Imagine the possibility of having a loyal friend and companion who does all your household chores and gives you the best advice — based on data intelligence? And all it needs from you is more data and maybe regular charging? A sensible machine that moves and does physical work too can easily become an essential part of our homes like computers, tablets, and smartphones have.
  3. Substitute for Physical Labor- The physical workforce may be completely replaced once the robotics and artificial intelligence interaction and precision gets better. Machines that communicate effortlessly and accurately with humans is just a matter of time.
  4. Changing Talent Dynamics- A lot of old jobs will become obsolete but at the same time a lot of new jobs related to AI, robotics, and machine learning will be in huge demand.

A lot of chaotic disruption will take place over the next few years before a new normal is reached. Artificial intelligence is not the product of evolution, it is an outcome of human imagination. Human imagination has no limits. Human intelligence has limits but artificial intelligence has no limits.

Why AI matters in customer service/experience?

In 2018, when Google Sunder Pichai, gave a demo of Google Duplex- he changed the AI in the customer service landscape forever.

The tech/platform is still getting perfected, and will produce desired outcomes over the next 3–5 years followed by widespread adoption.

Disruption starts very slow, but post a tipping point it moves very fast.

Artificial intelligence as a concept is growing quickly. It has become very powerful and popular too. Several industries and sectors are using AI, but its effects on customer services have been encouragingly phenomenal. Businesses in all fields use artificial intelligence to augment human customer services.

  1. LIVE CHATS: All industries need a medium for feedback and providing services to the customers. Manually done by agents in the past decades, live chats are now AI-driven and have proven to be better than any of the agent-driven chats. This has been a huge change in this sector.
  2. PERSONALIZES CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: Almost every customer wants their problem to be dealt with in a way that precisely suits them. Insights of the customer’s request along with machine learning provide just what the customer wants. This is also helped by the previous call records and requests that the customer has made to the business
  3. BIG DATA IS NOW MORE ACCESSIBLE: AI has brought one big change in most businesses and that is transparency, due to which customers can access data that instills value and trust in the company.
  4. RELIABLE SERVICE IS GUARANTEED 24*7: Unlike people, machines don’t take sick leaves or breaks. Reliable service is delivered to customers whenever and wherever they ask for it. This has been helpful in building a bond of loyalty between the companies and their customers.
  5. SELF SERVICE OPTIONS: Today’s generation is more independent and smart than any of their ancestors. They are more self-reliant and want services to be given on their specific terms, thus increasing the demand for self-service options. AI has provided them with just what they required, building different apps for the purpose.
  6. TRAIN YOUR BOT JUST ONCE: The need to constantly update your software and technology ceases with AI. You only need to train your bot once after which it will keep on learning new things and updating itself, all on its own.
  7. AI ALONG WITH SPEECH ANALYTICS IMPROVES AGENT PERFORMANCE: AI not only reduces manual effort, but also teaches agents how to interact better with the customers. With the help of speech analytics, a customer’s mood, state of urgency, needs, and other such things can be understood and AI provides the best possible solution for the situation.
  8. MONITORS CALLS: AI also helps in monitoring calls for quality control and sees to it that the customer’s requests and problems are well dealt with.
  9. PRE-EMPTIVE ACTION: The response rate of AI is much quicker than any human response and thus deals with the need for speed.
  10. INNOVATION WITH COST SAVINGS: AI is not just innovative with development and technology but also cost-effective as it reduces the requirement of manual labor.

KEY QUESTIONS

  • Is AI customer service secure and immune to hacking?
  • How can a standard service be set up for all customers if the procedure is personalized for each customer?
  • Is it possible that AI chatbots can completely eradicate the requirement of live agent calls?
  • What all customer-interactions do we see moving to AI-domain?

Best regards,

Sidhartha Sharma

Author and Digital Expert

Connect with me on Linkedin or Twitter- https://twitter.com/Siddhartha_monk

~15yrs Consulting- McKinsey & BCG-Digital Strategy, Ecosystems & Ventures | Start-Up Mentor | Platforms | Digital-First | Author & TEDx Speaker. Views Personal