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How AI pumps up the customer experience

But smart technology is only as good as an integrated office

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Ram Chatty

Leader in Digital, Artificial Intelligence and Automation

June 20, 2018 - As AI becomes more commonplace, inevitably a question arises: What can it do for the customer experience? To answer that, Genpact and the Fortune Knowledge Group surveyed 300 C-suite executives. We learned about the challenges they face with AI and how far along they are in their AI journey.

In the survey, many executives said that integrating front, middle, and back offices was key. Yet our research also found that firms still typically attribute customer experience to the front office. True, that's where their customers have more – and where companies introduce mobile apps and other user-experience-focused technologies. But it also suggests enterprises aren't taking end-to-end processes into account when applying AI. That's unfortunate, because it's essential to look beyond the front office to ensure that processes are efficient and that you're delivering the highest level of customer experience – one of the key reasons to adopt AI.

Driving customer experience with AI

AI helps companies reduce operating costs and reap more profits. For example, a consumer banking and credit card operator can use an end-to-end solution that combines AI, analytics, and process-specific expertise to eliminate fraud. At the same time, however, banks must think critically about how applying the tools they need will impact customer service. If controls are too intrusive, customers making purchases may experience a high number of false alerts and other inconveniences – to their dissatisfaction. On the other hand, if controls aren't robust enough, fraud risk increases, which leads to greater operational costs.

AI-based solutions can help enterprises find the right balance in such cases. Natural language processing and machine learning can reduce fraud loss and drive top-line growth, while still cutting false positives and maintaining the security and integrity of the process.

Adopting AI in enterprises

Enterprises are adopting many strategies to take advantage of AI, given the prediction that organizations will invest more more than $57 billion in these technologies in the next three or four years. Analysts also predict a 300% increase in AI investments in the next year.

But as companies adopt AI, they should consider the three types of stakeholders involved. First, the people who put the solution in place. Second, those knowledge workers who must adapt to machines that take over some tasks. And third, the customers that these solutions affect, either directly or indirectly. Younger people will likely find it easier to adapt to AI, but older staff and consumers will need to learn to be more comfortable with these systems.

And as AI adoption grows across industries, many consumers will want regulation in the way companies use data. The European Union is leading the charge with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), establishing laws over how organizations use consumer data. We can expect similar regulations to emerge worldwide.

Collaborating with AI 

The Genpact/Fortune Knowledge Group survey found that partnerships between machines and humans drive effective outcomes in all enterprises. Firms today are increasingly comfortable with the idea of working with robots and intelligent machines. Of course, AI might call for some retraining and re-skilling of employees and reconfiguring of careers. But only humans possess domain knowledge of their industry, business, and customers. We can apply that knowledge to collaborate with, manage, and govern these machines.

One way that people and machines are collaborating is by using natural language processing and computational linguistics to improve customer experience. These tools help us understand and analyze interactions between consumers and agents to identify complaints and areas for improvement. With machine learning, the system gets smarter and better at pinpointing issues as it reviews more conversations over time.

Exploring opportunities

Another key finding that came out of the survey: Respondents said it was critical for AI systems to include human-centric design in customer journey mapping. Because Genpact is constantly strategizing over how to apply AI solutions to different industries, including banking, we're keeping that in mind. And because we're always staying abreast of advances in AI, we're looking for opportunities within our customer base to go to market with fresh solutions. We're using customer journey mapping as an effective tool to identify specific areas where we can apply AI to front-, middle-, and back-office functions. That's how we'll help our clients improve customer experience and achieve better business outcomes.

Learn more on how to reimagine your processes, from front to back, and deliver superior customer experiences.