Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the buzzword hitting the headlines for a fair few years now but what many don’t realize is that AI is already widely adopted today, working behind the scenes and adding incremental value to our lives.
With a new decade just around the corner, we’re set to see AI quietly find its way into nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives.
In some instances, it will augment an experience and at other times, be in full control.
It will be in our cars, our handheld devices and an integral part of interactions between customers and any companies that provide a service, including retailers, telecommunication companies, banks and airlines.
Advancements in AI are set to make engagements between humans and computers truly intelligent, enabling them to be more natural and satisfying, whether they are between person-to-technology, person-to-business or person-to-person.
It’s an exciting time to be thinking about the customer experience.
Here are some of our predictions around what 2020 will bring for AI in customer experience:
We’ve all gotten accustomed to seeing tailored ads on our Instagram feeds, and studies have shown they are quite effective in increasing engagement.
This is all driven by cultivated data that powers the system and creates an optimized experience for you.
In 2020, the world will begin to acknowledge that for AI to deliver on the promise of true personalization it needs access to relevant data.
Through increased collaborations, partnerships, and open platforms without silos, data can begin to move across industries and enable AI to cater to an individual’s needs.
This means that – with your permission – your data can be used to create a better, more convenient experience for you.
For example, data from your patient chart will sync with your pharmacy, and with the map function in your car to ensure that you are on the fastest route and can arrive in time to pick up your prescription before the shop closes.
Similarly, digital payment functionalities enabled by banks will be embedded in your car, eliminating the need for automated pay stations in parking garages and tolls, and with biometric authentication, you’ll be able to pay your bills with simple voice commands on your commute home.
With new tools democratizing access to powerful computing, we’ll see the knowledge gap on baseline AI start to close in 2020.
Researchers will move from focusing efforts on “common knowledge problems,” to “uncommon knowledge,” from large horizontal problems to deep, complex specializations, and this will spur the next wave of innovation in customer experience.
Empowering diverse workforces with varied and true perspectives will be necessary to combat top-down cultures that have an inflated understanding of their expertise, and will be imperative to building systems that are free from bias.
2019 kicked off with high hopes for the new, opportunistic conversational AI tools flooding the market that promised to change the heavily manual process of virtual assistant development.
Through the year many realized that, while conversations might be easy, conversational AI design is hard.
It takes expertise and experience solving difficult enterprise grade problems to deliver a great automated conversational experience.
In 2020, we’ll see organisations re-visit their approach, where they combine cutting-edge tools with expert services.
Conversational interfaces will begin to enable deeper interactions between human beings.
The conversational AI technology that makes it possible for humans to have a natural dialogue with computers will begin to understand how humans feel during an interaction and know when it is time to handoff to another human to take over.
Computers will understand what you want or need, talk back to you to ask for relevant details and then take action on your intent.
These developments will make interactions between humans and machines more effective and convenient and, as a result, we’ll see adoption continue to grow and more and more organisations gravitate toward AI-driven technology.
As we come through the trough of disillusionment with AI and move toward a cloud-first ecosystem, a new era will arise where industries and governing bodies will start to draw bolder lines around ethics and proper application of machine learning for problem solving.
Those looking to reap the benefits of AI will need to focus firmly on security, especially in industries where individuals’ information is being captured and stored for personalization.
While always a priority, as machine-led conversational experiences become more commonplace, it will be impossible to ignore the need to foster trust.
This pressure will open up investment and opportunity for innovative new ways of protection including through biometric and behavioral factors.
Today’s AI is like a child learning the very basics of engagement.
Therefore, replacement is not something to worry about. Instead, we should be realistic and consider AI as a tool enabling us to enhance our own capabilities.
For example, the call agent that relies on AI to help them assist a client and give that individual a positive experience will earn better client satisfaction scores and thereby generate more revenue.
The bank that relies on AI-based voice biometrics will have lower fraud rates and enable their customers to access their details without having to run through the same ten security questions each time, creating a better experience.
Essentially, the companies that embrace AI will rise above the companies that do not.
Joe Petro is Chief Technology Officer of Nuance Communications. He is responsible for overseeing research, platform development, application development, dev ops and cloud readiness for the company.
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