AI Should Revolutionize Customer Experience
2023 was a tumultuous year for many businesses. Economies faced tough and confusing times, employment rates were up and down, while consumer and employee expectations continued to rise. At the same time, generative artificial intelligence (AI) captured the world’s attention, the cloud kept growing, technology improved, and companies made real efforts to enhance the customer experience (CX) and, to a lesser degree, the employee experience (EX).
There are always challenges to handle, but what’s exciting is that when it comes to enterprises (and smaller businesses, for that matter), there are virtually unlimited opportunities to improve the CX and EX. Artificial intelligence is changing the business landscape, and while guardrails and regulation are necessary, its possibilities are unbounded. It’s not a question of will your company apply it, only when you will start.
2024 is going to be the year of AI and automation for the CX world. The potential is amazing, and while some consider these to be tools to eliminate live agents (and will use these capabilities for this purpose), it’s not what they are for. When it comes to contact centers (sales, marketing, service, collections, HR, technical support, etc.), the purpose is to supplement, not replace, employees and to enable companies to scale when needed. In other words, to cost-effectively improve the CX. These technologies will also be magnificent for transforming self-service into systems that customers really like. But these are just some of the obvious ways in which AI and automation should be applied in your contact center.
The “real” power of AI is its ability to change your servicing paradigm and how your company approaches the CX. DMG recommends businesses reimagine what a great CX means in a world that is not constrained by traditional organizational structures and silos. Customers don’t care about how you’ve “always done things” or how you’re organized. All they want is to quickly and easily get issues resolved/fixed or purchase products. It’s well past time to look at things through your customers’ eyes, and AI will help you do that.
Here are five major strategy components that companies should include as they apply AI to enhance the CX:
- Use AI to improve self-service throughout the enterprise, not just the contact center – as self-service has become the preferred method of interacting with companies (when it works), automate all tasks not requiring complex human reasoning/judgment throughout the enterprise. This will free up employees to deliver more personalized service when it’s needed.
- Apply AI in the contact center – leading, and many contending, contact center as a service (CCaaS), workforce engagement management (WEM), and customer relationship management (CRM) vendors are leveraging AI throughout their platforms/solutions to augment and enhance agent performance and improve the overall CX.
- Embed AI in all customer-facing departments – use AI technology and appropriate best practices to provide visibility throughout all customer touchpoints; applying customer journey analytics is a great way to start.
- Institute a culture that prioritizes continuous improvement of the customer journey throughout the enterprise – encourage a cross-organizational and pro-customer approach that emphasizes the delivery of a great CX.
- Improve the employee experience – use AI-enabled tools (e.g., next-gen workforce management, knowledge management, real-time guidance, and more) to help you become an employer of choice.
AI is a game-changing technology that, when properly leveraged, will enhance both the CX and EX, which are undeniably tied together. There are great benefits of applying it in your contact centers and self-service environments throughout the enterprise. But if you take a broader approach and utilize it in all customer journey touchpoints, you will realize exponential benefits for your customers, employees, brand, and bottom line.