In the past 3 years, the AI space has become so noisy that even seasoned executives struggle to cut through the jargon, making it challenging to deliver against an AI strategy.
Support leaders face a series of roadblocks. The AI space overall isn’t accessible to the business stakeholders who want to leverage it for improved customer experience. AI-powered solutions are often difficult to configure, rely on data that is not yet available or is impossible to interpret, and require a heavy dependence on stretched IT resources. These factors make it hard to understand how to choose or roll out a solution, who should own and manage it, and what benefits an AI-powered solution should yield.
In an ideal world, every CX leader has the time and leeway to learn the jargon and test out all possible solutions. In reality, the CX space can be unforgiving. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2020, a vast majority (70%) of businesses aren’t meeting customers’ expectations regarding CX, so businesses advocate for change. The data also says that the stakes for failure are high - over 80% of customers will churn after a bad customer experience - so businesses are under intense pressure to get it right the first time.
The Zendesk CX Trends Report 2020 found that less than 30% of companies offer self-service, live chat, or other digital options, making AI-powered CX a powerful differentiator, especially for Gen Z and Millennial customers. In other words: the need for change is immediate, the opportunity is rare, and the stakes are high.
In order to empower business leaders to meet their goals, there needs to be an AI accessibility and usability revolution in CX. CX leaders can and should demand AI-powered CX solutions that are accessible to business stakeholders and non-technical users. The accessible AI revolution is about more than just jargon. Here are three ways companies can better leverage the benefits of AI, in a tangible sense:
1. Cut through the confusion and stay focused on your unique business goals.
There’s confusion surrounding every step of implementing AI-powered CX, from choosing a solution and determining how it will functionally add value.
Forrester surveyed CX leaders, and found that most start with revamping their digital channels, seeking technology platforms that empower both agents and consumers. Many organizations choose to implement chatbots, which take aim at this problem by adapting to multiple digital channels and catching the low-hanging fruit of efficiency and volume.
Not all chatbots are created equal - in fact many do not actually use AI - so do your research. Before settling on a chatbot, screen for personalization capabilities, proactive vs reactive engagement data insights, quality of machine learning, etc.
Once you’ve chosen an AI-powered solution, focus on strategy. Define where the new technology will sit in your tech stack - rather than tacking on automation as an after-thought, think critically about making automation an integrated part of your strategy or leading with an automation-first approach.
Identify the feedback loop between the data insights your bot or AI solution collects, and the teams who could benefit from that data. Your chatbot should be enriching how you view your customers, and what actions you can take to serve them better.
Once you’ve chosen a strategy, set business KPIs and put the plan in motion. Classic KPIs include CSAT and churn rates. When it comes to chatbots, track containment and handoff rates to learn more about how customers are interacting with your bot. Build towards tracking revenue - influenced revenue is great, but your bot should ultimately be generating revenue directly, in addition to lowering costs.
2. Choose AI that can swiftly deliver predictable, scalable results.
Accessible and practical AI means that, if your team does their part, the AI-powered solution will provide a swift time to value. Businesses invest shocking amounts of time and money into creating AI-powered products - and it can take a year or more before they realize any return on those investments. But there are ready-made solutions that deliver measurable value in under 30 days. You should not have to compromise time-to-value for a sophisticated, robust AI platform. You can have both.
Value goes beyond just retention and CSAT. Your AI-powered solution should act as an extension of your brand. For instance, your chatbot should speak in your company’s voice, have a distinguishable personality that resonates with customers, and engage customers at least as much as your marketing collateral.
The true test of value is when your AI-powered solution starts generating revenue directly and automatically. Use your chatbot to automate revenue-generating interactions like upsells, making purchases, etc.
3. Make sure the people who use the tech own the tech.
It’s time to move away from dependence on technical teams for business KPIs - even when it comes to AI.
Businesses across industries are stretching their IT teams to manage software and systems they are not familiar with and will not use day-to-day. It’s no surprise this strategy results in misalignment.
Focus on solutions that empower your business stakeholders and CX team, and will allow them to own the process. Involving end-users from the start ensures the solution or strategy meets their needs, which is crucial for driving adoption and ROI.
If your CX team can’t understand and build out the AI platform, move on and find a solution built for non-technical users.
The right AI-powered solution will empower business stakeholders to deliver on KPIs with dashboards and real-time insights. The solution should provide comprehensive training and continuous advice on how to understand, optimize, and implement these learnings.
The business case for practical and accessible AI is clear
Prioritizing practical accessibility in AI would empower non-technical users, who in turn would see better outcomes from being able to understand, own, and leverage the full potential of AI-powered technologies.
Seek out companies who understand the importance of accessibility for non-technical users. Don’t settle for companies obscured by jargon or IT dependence. The right AI-powered solution should be as committed to working with your agents, CX team, and business stakeholders as they are to making complicated software.