Author: Mary Branscombe
Enhancing the customer experience is the most important business issue that boards want IT to work on, for more than half of the CIOs in the recent KPMG CIO Survey. And 91 percent of CIOs believe the way they manage and use customer data will become just as important as products and services for attracting customers.
In fact, customer experience might matter more than price or even the product, says Rajnish Sharma, executive vice president at Teleperformance. “Consumers are looking for frictionless, hassle-free and personalised customer experiences. Businesses need to be available to provide round-the-clock, real-time service — at the consumer’s convenience.”
Customer experience (CX) technology can help with that. Gartner estimates that by 2020, a quarter of customer service interactions will involve some form of AI, John Crossan, EMEA vice president at Zendesk, told CIO.com. “Organizations are already embracing next-generation technologies such as this; those utilising APIs, apps, and integrations are driving efficiency with reduced waiting times by 35 percent.” So far, he notes, only 15 percent of enterprises are using AI for customer experience.
But, as always, you need to focus on the benefits rather than the technologies, warns Forrester principal analyst Jennifer Wise. “Tech-led initiatives can result in pilots that are solutions in search of a problem. Most customers today don’t need a VR application from a brand. Most customers aren’t yet disappointed when a company doesn’t have a voice-experience today. Conversational interfaces help customers who increasingly don’t want to pick up the phone or want to avoid your site’s navigation and shortcut to the answer. Chatbots can deliver fast resolution in these instances, and voice has some hurdles to overcome — but if the R&D budget allows, it’s time to start testing that interaction.”