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AI: transforming the 21st century

A great article appeared in Forbes Magazine recently looking at the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) could have on the way in which organisations engage with their customers.

What stood out was the research that it quoted that in the future: “89% of all businesses will compete primarily on customer experience”.  This is incredibly high even when you consider that consumers are becoming less price sensitive in an increasingly homogenous market.

Focusing on delivering a superior and frictionless customer experience is a strategy that is likely to pay off in the long run for most companies.  Digital Transformation has been gathering more momentum over the last 18 months as organisations look to convert more processes to digital processes and thus benefit from lower costs, improved service and in some cases a combination of the two.

Big Data is another buzz word that has been around for longer than Digital Transformation.  Essentially it is all about making use of the vast amounts of data generated every day in our businesses.  If you can be effective at analysing and leveraging Big Data it facilitates improvements in customer service and product development, often in real time.

Applying automation to your Big Data will be vital to help you to sort, process and otherwise make sense of the data so that you can respond faster and more efficiently.

The advances in AI and chatbots could have a big impact on your customer interactions.  In fact, an article in the Guardian claimed that AI is likely to prove ‘the most transformative technology of the 21st century’.

It is not difficult to see where this can be applied in practice.  I recently had the pleasure of waiting 20 minutes to be connected to an online chat advisor to discuss renewing a contract for my landline.  Imagine the same company had an intelligent chatbot that could discuss my issue.  It might have been able to diagnose and route the enquiry and ultimately help me to resolve it in less time than it took to wait to be connected.

AI is area that ServiceNow has recently invested in with its acquisition of DXContinuum, a machine learning company.  The goal will be for ServiceNow to accelerate further automation of manual work requests in the enterprise, adding more intelligence to the company’s cloud-based platform.

The reason companies like ServiceNow are investing in this type of technology is explained by another piece of research that shows that within five years consumers will manage 85% of relationships with an enterprise without interacting with a human.

How you manage your customer relationships will remain critical to your overall business success.  This will increasingly apply across the lifetime of the customer and across all of their interactions with your business rather than just at the point of sale.

The Forbes article argues that by applying ‘emotional intelligence’ to chatbots and voice responders, you can nurture and grow your customer relationships.

The ServiceNow press release stated: “By applying DxContinuum’s machine-learning algorithms to each customer’s unique data set, ServiceNow can train machines on how to route IT, HR, customer service or other requests with a high level of accuracy

For example, the models could set the category of the inquiry and assign the ticket to the right team, as well as calculate associated risks. When enterprises better predict outcomes and automate actions, they can reduce costs dramatically and speed time-to-resolution.”

If ServiceNow can deliver on this promise then ultimately their customers will benefit from an enhanced ability to deliver services both internally and externally.

What do you think?  Is AI just the next big hyped up thing or will it have a measurable impact on your business, let me know what you think below.