AI will impact Customer Experience (CX) in 2024 in at least three different ways. First, the call center will be transformed as AI plays a larger role in solving customer demands. Second, “citizen developers” in CX and elsewhere will transform their work with automation. And third, AI will impact the shopping experience, giving CX teams a mass of customer data they can use to inform the customer journey.
Prediction 1: AI improves the call center experience for customers
AI is revolutionizing customer service by enhancing both the agent and customer experiences, ensuring interactions are being tailored to specific needs. By eliminating guesswork in customer engagement, companies are transforming call centers, providing more options for workers, and delivering faster assistance to customers.
For instance, AT&T has seamlessly integrated AI into customer service operations, employing it to direct customers to agents, suggest technical solutions during calls, and generate transcripts. Similarly, Humana leverages IBM’s Watson to address a broader range of customer queries, directing more complex issues to human agents. Air Canada utilizes AI for streamlined solutions, such as issuing boarding passes through a voice assistant or confirming seat reservations promptly.
These companies harness AI to enrich human experiences, whether through AI-assisted responses or expedited routing to human agents for intricate inquiries. Regardless of the scenario, customers benefit from quicker and more effective resolutions.
Examining AI’s role in call centers reveals its diverse applications, from virtual assistants and chatbots to request routing, sentiment analysis, agent analytics, transcription, and customer journey orchestration. In each case, AI serves as a facilitator, paving the way for meaningful human interactions.
Looking ahead, the integration of AI is poised to offer companies expanded engagement options in contact centers. AI streamlines customer interactions by guiding them to the appropriate channels, liberating contact center agents from routine tasks, and presenting relevant information precisely when needed. As AI continues to evolve, expect an enhanced landscape where customer engagement is more dynamic, efficient, and personalized.
Prediction 2: Data Democratization empowers almost any team member to create and edit automations
Data democratization empowers CX teams to take control of their automations. Those responsible for shaping customer experiences are now in charge of how they engage with their audience, actively seeking platforms that democratize customer interaction capabilities.
No-code and low-code platforms serve as the catalyst for CX teams to create automations. This includes implementing additional surveys or initiating targeted customer communications at strategic points in the user journey.
The emergence of “citizen developers” marks a significant shift, providing teams overseeing customer or employee experiences with the ability to leverage data for informed decision-making. Importantly, this transformation doesn’t necessitate technical expertise or intervention from IT.
The trend is unfolding in real time, with no-code and low-code solutions making their way into environments like the Microsoft ecosystem. Users can now craft automated workflows directly within platforms such as Microsoft Teams. In another example, Alchemer Workflow, exemplifying data democratization, empowers CX and marketing teams to construct workflows and automations, effectively closing the feedback loop with both customers and employees.
The integration of AI and ML is poised to accelerate the evolution of these automations. In the coming year, anticipate witnessing data democratization in practice as teams independently build and launch their own automations.
Reflecting on the past five years, the transformation is remarkable. Individuals responsible for departmental engagements now possess capabilities that were once inconceivable in terms of automation. These platforms empower those who shape these experiences, providing them with the context and tools to take meaningful action.
Prediction 3: AI changes the shopping experience, giving CX teams more data about the customer journey
AI in retail is expected to reach $24.1 billion by 2028, growing at 24.4% annually. Both physical and digital retailers can utilize AI to enhance the shopping experience for customers in 2024.
Take virtual assistants and chatbots, for instance. Generative AI enhances natural language understanding and response generation, giving virtual assistants and chatbots the ability to converse more seamlessly and with more contextual awareness. This provides a wealth of data that can inform the customer journey.
One example of the transformative power of AI for shopping is the recommendation experience. Thanks to AI, brands can easily track and analyze past purchases and customer demographics to deliver a customized offering. For example, Sephora’s Color IQ scans the customer’s skin surface and recommends makeup products based on skin color.
In 2024, leaders need to go further than pushing the right product to the right person at the right time. Like Air Canada, you will need to find ways to use AI to predict and resolve service issues that arise as well. Leveraging AI to improve the intervention experience will lead to better customer satisfaction and help you continue to deliver on your brand promise.
Retailers are paying attention to the benefits of AI in the shopping experience. Nearly 50% of retail respondents to a recent Gartner study self-reported using AI technology and interest is growing exponentially. In 2024, expect to see CX teams take the information garnered from the shopping experience and apply it to the customer journey to make better-informed decisions.