74% Call Artificial Intelligence "Important" For Customer Management

Brian Cantor

Support for artificial intelligence may not be as universal as it is for endeavors like leveraging customer analytics, honoring channel preferences and reducing customer effort, but it is a legitimate priority for a great many organizations.

CCW Digital’s Fall Executive Report reveals that 74% of organizations believe artificial intelligence is “important" for customer management.  56% of organizations, moreover, have plans to introduce or continue using AI in their customer experience functions.

Indeed, enthusiasm for AI is fairly widespread among today’s customer management leaders.

But how will they use it?

The most popular application is on the self-service front.  38% are using – or plan to use – AI to help customers resolve simple, transactional matters on their own.

These organizations are aiming for a win-win scenario.  AI technology should yield self-service platforms that are more natural, more personalized and ultimately more capable of delivering easy, satisfying resolutions for customers.  By making self-service more effective, they will reduce the volume of interactions (particularly transactional ones) that reach live agents.  These agents will, in turn, be able to devote more attention and effort to more complex, higher-value conversations.

Other comparatively popular AI applications include predicting customer behavior and automating workflow.

The former is predicated on two key notions:  technology is uniquely capable of mining and interpreting the wealth of insights collected throughout the journey; it is also uniquely capable of detecting what is not said during interactions.  Humans can certainly react to what they are hearing, but AI can help an organization understand behavioral patterns that are not as overt or explicit.

Automating workflow is another way of ensuring agents focus on the highest-value task:  engaging in complex conversations with customers.  Technology cannot – at least not yet – perform those tasks as well as humans.  It can, however, handle the menial tasks that distract agents from the work they were truly hired to perform.

Agent accuracy and efficiency are top priorities for many organizations.  Over 15% believe AI can help achieve both goals.  These organizations believe AI can help agents better navigate the knowledgebase.  By anticipating needs and efficiently routing agents to the right information (almost as if it were a “GPS”), the technology will allow agents to provide customers with the right information as quickly as possible.

The joint calls for efficiency and productivity explain why 14% of organizations will use AI to improve training.  By monitoring and analyzing trends in agent performance, technology can tailor lessons (whether communicated through a learning management system or a live coach) to individual employees.  These agents will not need to spend as much time learning and can focus on actually performing their roles.  The time they do spend learning, moreover, will be more productive (and make them demonstrably better at their jobs).

Other planned AI applications include improving routing (13%), handling more complex matters in self-service (13%), and predicting interaction volume (13%).