A lot of customer experience pundits are talking about AI.
They say it is ushering in a new age, a Customer Experience 3.0. OK.
As a notorious heckler, I thought I would have my team research the market, as it stands, in the closing weeks of 2018. My question was: Who cares about promises; I am exhausted by all this thought leadership; I want specific examples; what are AI-driven solutions capable of achieving for customer experience, right now?
So that is exactly what they did. Then we discussed how these solutions change or do not change the game. We put them into context, trying to understand how big a deal they really are.
Why Are AI Solutions a Big Deal Now When They Weren’t Last Year?
Considering that the inspiration for this survey boils down to a bunch of content marketing, I thought I would start there. Maybe, we thought, we were just hearing about AI-Driven stuff because people are just talking about it. Maybe it’s all just hype.
Indeed, Google Trends revealed an upward trend in queries on artificial intelligence.
My team also threw in a comparison to “customer experience,” just to see how much more the world cares about robots than they do relationships between businesses and customers. It is no competition.
We discovered that people care way more, and I mean, WAY more, about robot intelligence than relationships with customers. There’s some refreshing humility for us all!
But more importantly, this increase does not really explain the massive influx of content regarding AI. We had to dig deeper.
However, when we look at market growth, we can see where the “hype” is coming from. It turns out that the content is not hype at all; it is based on real exchange of AI services for cash. According to Gartner, the business value derived from AI is expected to grow by 70% in 2018. According to Tractica, actual sales of AI-specific solutions increased from $643 million in 2016 to $5.4 billion in 2017, an increase of almost an entire order of magnitude in a single year (10x).
We had established that real AI-driven solutions are being deployed rapidly. Our next question was, are any of these solutions solving CX problems.
We found plenty of compelling offerings.
Five AI-Driven Solutions for Customer Experience
First, a disclaimer.
We recognize that we are pointing attention to specific brand names. We are not promoting any of these solutions, but we do recognize that Artificial Intelligence is an unwieldy concept to understand. So it was important to us that we shy away from the high-level and jump into specifics. This strategy is intended as an educational tool, not a marketing one.
If any of the below are of interest to you, then simply google the product category, and you will in most cases discover an entire array of competitors that accomplish similar objectives with AI.
Now to the fun part.
1. IBM Watson Tone Analyzer
Sentiment analysis of text messages from your customers
Customer experience has historically been driven by market research, so these two offerings by Watson have the potential to significantly increase the efficacy of customer experience by automating a historically challenging process.
IBM Watson Personality Insights
A high-level integration of sentiment analysis, driving segmentation and personalization
Although many businesses have attempted personalization, most have failed to add value, in large part because the level of specificity and customization required to help customers has been difficult to achieve. Watson Personality Insights promises it can automate analysis and drive increasingly personal suggestions based on customer behavior.
2. Salesforce: Einstein
Sales, Marketing and Service
No AI survey would be complete without Salesforce Einstein. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) covers some of the most important touchstones of customer experience in terms of customer loyalty and satisfaction. Einstein is Salesforce’s AI engine, and in addition to core offerings in sales and marketing analytics, offers chatbots and personalized recommendations.
3. Dynatrace: AI-driven root cause analysis for customer experience
Holistic customer satisfaction solution
Dynatrace connects root cause analysis to business impact analysis, notifying mid-level managers of anomalies across digital customer experience touchpoints, as well as the impact on customers. This allows IT staff to prioritize and troubleshoot problems more efficiently while decreasing dissatisfying experiences.
4. Pointillist: Customer Journey Analytics
Holistic customer experience
Pointillist expedites customer journey analytics by automating schema definition, customer identifier matching, and fixed field mappings, helping businesses create unified customer profiles without much more easily. Powerful visualization tools also help to create customer journeys from actual micro-journeys.
I will definitely write more about this tool, as it helps effectuate my personal view that mapping should start with micro-journeys, building the high level from the ground, up.
5. AI Customer Service: Aivo
Chatbots for text, voice, and self-service content search
In addition to Salesforce Einstein, there are a la carte customer service solutions. Aivo uses AI to develop numerous tools that help customers find the answers they need at any stage in the customer journey.
Artificial Intelligence Improves Customer Experience after All
I am prepared to throw in my heckler’s towel — insofar as this artificial intelligence mumbo jumbo goes. If half of these products do what they say they can do, these solutions will make customer experience much easier to practice — for enterprise and ultimately for smaller businesses.
Keep in mind that Google released TensorFlow to the public in 2015, only three years ago. So we can expect this market to continue its exponential increase in the years to come, also, hopefully, expanding the influence of customer experience with it.