Experts have been claiming for years that AI would revolutionize the way we do business. Back in 2018, Harvard Business Review claimed AI could be crucial in helping us automate processes, analyze data and improve both CX and EX. However, it’s taken another six years for AI to reach what McKinsey describes as “an entirely new level.”
Generative AI and the new tool that you’ve probably already heard lots about, ChatGPT, exhibit originality and creativity — traits that were previously left up to the humans and considered too complex for AI. The response has been, in short, overwhelming, with millions testing ChatGPT’s functionalities since the product debuted. McKinsey predicts this generative AI could be used all across a company’s operations, from R&D to marketing and sales, legal to IT.
But is all the hype worth it?
In a recent episode of Unexpected Journey™, I spoke with Liz Tsai, founder and CEO of HiOperator. As HiOperator is a generative AI CX tool, this is a topic that Liz knows a lot about. An MIT graduate with years of experience in the AI space, Liz answered all my questions regarding AI and its evolving role in CX. You can listen to the entire conversation in just half an hour, but here are Liz’s top five predictions for the future of AI in the CX space.
1. AI will transform the customer service agent role.
A customer service agent’s role is often complex, filled with a mixture of human-facing tasks and more technical tasks. With AI, some of those tasks can be removed, particularly those that take humans a long amount of time compared to software that could complete the task in mere seconds. This leaves the customer service agent to focus their energies in the places that need it most.
As Liz said, “That’s where you really want to double down on using AI — to make humans better, faster and stronger.”
2. AI will give customer service agents more leverage.
As the customer service agent’s role changes, and they’re no longer completing the easy, AI-managed tasks and are, instead, focusing on logic-based tasks that require a human thought process, the agent’s value goes up.
Liz explained: “Customer service, right now, is a series of tasks. There’s, in a sense, a limit to how much leverage you can have in that.”
It’s only possible to make a certain amount of contact with customers each day, but in the future, what if you have robotic assistants? These bots can’t do everything, but they can take care of a lot of the work. Then, you, as the human customer service agent, can give the job the final touches. You’re not just accomplishing the work of one employee, you’re doing the job of ten with the use of automation and technology!
3. The AI space will need competition.
Currently, all the hype surrounds ChatGPT — but if there’s no additional AI tool that comes to market, we’ll find ourselves in a state of vendor lock-in. Businesses will have become reliant on a singular AI provider and, when that provider encounters unforeseen issues or simply lapses in quality, it could mean disaster for invested business’ bottom lines.
Luckily, Liz does hint at similar, potential, ChatGPT competitors under development, but there’s no sign of those products becoming available to the public at the moment.
4. Clients and businesses are still going to be results-focused, not AI-focused.
Even with all the power that AI will provide companies, allowing them to scale up, increase productivity and take laborious tasks off employee’s plates, it’s not like business leaders are going to become entirely AI-focused in their decision making. At the end of the day, Liz says, leaders are still focused on the same thing they’ve always focused on: results.
“We rarely have clients [at HiOperator] say, ‘I want to use AI and automation’,” says Liz. Clients don’t want to be deprived of a tool that can improve their company. They want to see progress. They require fast customer service, with quick initial response times, and that it is more budget-friendly.
5. Recent AI developments are exciting, but we still have a long way to go.
Liz compares the current state of AI to the first wave of 3D printing — worth celebrating, exciting and innovative, but no one’s printing a human heart just yet. While these AI tools aren’t capable of taking over at the moment (to the relief of some, and the disappointment of others), though, they are capable of making CX more efficient and effective.
As we look to 2023, AI offers a wealth of potential. The hard part will be applying it in the best way possible, to drive business results.
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