The emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Chatbots, and others, are becoming an integral part of delivering a seamless Customer Experience. According to Gartner, an estimated 72% of the customer interactions will involve one or more emerging technologies by 2022 – a significant increase from 11% in 2017. Servion, the company that develops platforms and provides consulting for customer experience, has predicted that AI will be an integral element of 95% of all customer interactions by 2025. Juniper Research has predicted that chatbot conversations will be responsible for cost savings of over $8bn per year by 2022 – a huge increase from $20m in 2017.
It is a no-brainer then, that organizations are looking to automate the customer experience using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. This raises an interesting point – should all of the customer experience be automated using these emerging technologies? Micheal Maoz, VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner thinks that automating everything is not the answer to deliver seamless customer experience. According to him, instead of bots / AI replacing all of the human interactions in the future, these technologies should be used to facilitate humans to deliver great customer experience.
AI and chatbots are great for automating routine enquiries, improve response time, and provide personalized recommendations – where the process is more transactional and clear in nature. This will free up humans to build personal relationships with customers. However, it is difficult for AI to respond effectively to complicated questions that may involve critical thinking and / or human judgement, where there are no clear right and wrong answers. Also, in the initial stages, when one is trying to build the relationship, there may not be enough data for AI to be that effective. While AI may be perfectly able to ask for and capture data, it would be more beneficial to bring in human for the personal touch. Also, customers may be more open and answer freely to humans that can connect in a personal way rather than a bot that is just asking for information.
What follows is to have a blended approach – a combination of bots and human, where bots handle the routine enquiries and free up time for humans to build relationships and bring in the personal human experience wherever necessary. Also, humans will rely on the AI to get all the information they require on the customer to enhance the experience.
This is also reflected in CapGemini’s survey ‘The Secret to Winning Customers’ Hearts With Artificial Intelligence’. The survey of 10,000 consumers revealed that 73% of the consumers were aware of having interactions enabled by AI. Most of the surveyed consumers (55%) preferred the blended approach – to have interactions that involved a combination of AI and humans, as opposed to only AI or only human interactions. Consumers also want transparency in their interaction – 66% of the surveyed consumers wanted to be made aware of when the organizations are using AI for interactions – this is imperative to build trust with the customers. The survey confirms that while customers are warming up to the use of AI, the correct strategy should involve an integrated man-machine approach rather than relying completely on the technology.