According to IDC White Paper, by 2021, AI-powered CRM activities could increase global business revenues by $1.1 trillion and create 800,000 net-new jobs. “The year 2018 will be a landmark year for AI adoption. More than 40 percent of companies said they will adopt AI within the next two years,”the paper added.
New jobs associated with the boost in global business revenues could reach more than 800,000 by 2021, surpassing those jobs lost to automation from AI. (CXOtoday)
Although in absolute terms, the aforesaid market traction looks okay but the spill over economic and social losses accruing from AI are much higher. Machine learning lacks creativity, human sensitivity to problems, ethics, judgement ability or experiential learning. There is a lot of anxiety over automation apart from unemployment alone. To offer a mundane example, there has been many cases when due to an natural calamity or political strike suddenly Uber or other on-demand cab services have increased surcharge due to machine learning based on high demand of cab, ruling out the need for ethical concerns.
No doubt, AI is the compelling technological need and is soon to become a great market shaper.
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence (AI), the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience (Britannica). Machine learnings, voice recognition, text or numerical analysis are its popular manifestations.
Come IOT and everything generates customer data- mobile device, refrigerator, wifi modem, etc. million times a day. There is a need to plunge into this ocean of data and streamline them to analyze and project about meaning customer trends which will empower marketing, sales or other operations as well as the customer themselves.
All these and more may be achieved by implementing AI in customer centric operations.
Do we use AI? How often
People are so used to AI that they use it all the time without even realizing it. How delighted a customer becomes when Facebook detects face and comes up with tagging options or Amazon suggests products during a customer’s consideration phase with the website.
Customers are so accustomed to AI that once they visit a mortar and brick store, they expect the salesperson to know their size, favourite colour, budget and the like just as they experience as digital buyers.
AI is irreplaceable in offering unique tailor-made experiences throughout their brand engagement. Today’s hyper informed customers are aware that every business is fed with enormous customer data and hence, they wish them to render personalized product or service- be it at retail or enterprise levels.
How does AI benefit operations?
Sales- AI can calculate lead score and may push a suspect faster through sales funnel and ascertain more conversion by capturing, nurturing and qualifying leads. Chat bots are newest rendition aiding customers 24X7 with their product queries or service issues, relieving agents to focus on more serious problems and facilitating automation.
Marketing- Customer awareness starts taking shape often with the digital experience which is the foundation on which conversion rests. With AI’s text/number analytics, modern marketers have endless options to elevate digital experience of customers.
Support: AI may predict many customer issues and enable to evade them before they actually take place.
Inventory/Strategy making: AI’s predictive capacity may alarm high/low season, weather, economic tractions aiding stocking up facility or making futuristic market decisions.
While AI facilitates all operations on board, it will not replace salespeople or agents by any means. Although much headway is made by machines to understand human emotions and sentiments, it is nowhere close to substitute the need of human interaction across customer touch points. The idea is to supplement humans, sparing them a lot of mundane clerical tasks. It may be construed that the challenge is to humanize AI to make it more customer friendly.
‘It’s all about helping humans do their jobs better, it’s man plus machine being greater than man or machine’, opined Paul Ryan, head of Watson Artificial Intelligence, IBM UK (Metro)
Talking about customer faced operations, customer inputs are fed into system through multiple channel (social, email, chat, phone, etc.) which require unique actions by bringing different process teams on board. Here scope of routine task is minimum and innovative ideas which are sentiment sensitive are called for, leaving little room for AI. Therefore, machine learning has to complement human intervention for superior customer experience management.
Do enterprise solutions need AI?
While individual customer experience may be enriched by leaps and bounds through AI, it is no exception for enterprise owners too. Global enterprise data is experiencing an exponential growth: 4300 % rise in annual data generation by 2021 is the claim of many analysts (DXC technologies). There is a need to sift this data to get the important insights to convert them into business actionables.
Enterprise level developers will be able to cull out professional or personal attributes of customers , make models, embed in them projections and make the whole business platform smarter with AI integration.
What lies in future?
In a global survey conducted by eMarketer, 83% of respondents have adopted AI in business and 66% of who have not adopted, likewise felt that they have or will be using AI for marketing or sales operations. Customer Experience is set to soar higher with the advent of AI. The two are propellant and fulfiller of each other.
It is for fast performing companies to go for well humanized AI adopted enterprise systems or their competitors are sure to pull ahead of them.