Consumers may appreciate the perks of AI more when it is augmented by human-like features, but they appreciate them most when a genuine “human option” is also available. Yet even as consumers’ expectations regarding both the AI experience and how the data derived from it is used continue to rise, most organizations fail to take these expectations to heart, focusing instead on implementation costs and ROI. This is an oversight that could soon cost them dearly.
The secret to winning customers’ hearts with AI: Add human intelligence
Consumers are increasingly aware of and satisfied by AI-enabled experiences, but expect the human presence.
Global Head of Research, Capgemini
How consumers engage with businesses is evolving dramatically. Organizations are using this technology to achieve a range of business goals, such as: influencing sales, boosting operations, driving customer engagement, and generating insights. To understand AI’s impact on customer experience in particular, we have conducted this worldwide, cross-sector research to explore how consumers perceive AI and which interactions they believe could be better delivered by humans, which by AI, and which by a mix of humans and AI.
We found that consumers are increasingly more aware of when AI is being used by organizations; consumers like it, and they are becoming more prescriptive of when and how it is used alongside humans. In this report, we:
- Explore how consumers think about AI and their expectations from organizations while interacting via AI
- Assess how organizations use AI for customer experience and where they are missing the mark in terms of what consumers want and expect
- Recommend strategies for augmenting the customer experience in an AI world.
Download the report: https://www.capgemini.com/resources/ai-in-cx/
Why you shouldn’t ask Alexa to be your friend
Anthropomorphization is a powerful tool in improving user interaction with AI, but we shouldn’t be swayed by our tendency toward pareidolia. The more we design machines in our own image, the more we must remember that it is what sets them apart that makes them truly useful.
Expert in Application Management, Applied Innovation
Of the many hot topics at the moment, anything related to artificial intelligence is obviously right up there. Like the holy grail, AI has always been just beyond our reach. But technology is rapidly approaching the threshold beyond which it becomes easy to confuse artificial logic with human intelligence. This leads to ethical discussions about human rights for digital beings, but comes no closer to actually defining these digital beings. The Saudi Arabian government’s statement about giving a bot named Sophia human rights, is perhaps one of the most significant statements on this issue. But, what does that really mean?
Humans are good in seeing human faces and human traits based on the simplest features. We immediately attribute emotions and characteristics when see a human face. Two dots and a curved line is immediately recognized as an emoji and the direction of the curve is immediately recognized as happy or sad. Cars look friendly, aggressive, happy, or sad according to how their headlights and the grille are placed. Designers know this, and have been leveraging our human tendencies very effectively for a long time.
This anthropomorphization also applies to bots. Sophia is effectively a mechanized mannequin doll with a sophisticated chatbot behind it that runs somewhere in a cloud platform. This, in turn, calls on web-based services for whatever response is needed. So, who exactly in this contraption is the recipient of those rights: the physical doll, the machine code orchestrating the mechanic movements, the machine code calling the services, the services in general, or any service that Sophia provides in particular?
Read the complete post here: https://www.capgemini.com/2018/07/why-you-shouldnt-ask-alexa-to-be-your-friend/
Applying AI for next-gen conversational commerce
Conversational customer experience is the next big battlefield for the hearts and minds of consumers and AI is a key strategic weapon. Leaders in this space know that mobilizing the right team to design and implement the right next-generation platform at scale can make all the difference.
CTO – Digital Customer eXperience Global Practice
Customer experience is a combination of the perceptions, emotions, and reactions that a consumer has while using different channels to interact with a company’s environment, products, or employees.
Major brands aspire to deliver an engaging and compelling experience across all the touch points and “moments of now” they have with their individual customers. To deliver on their ambition, they build the ability to consistently support the entire customer experience lifecycle: from initial contact, through the process of acquisition, engagement, and into a long-term relationship – anywhere, anytime, any device, seamless, contextualized, personalized, and proactive.
Many of them have already started the transformation towards having a single, consistent customer platform that supports the end-to-end customer experience by interconnecting enterprise-wide sets of customer data and insights, customer engagement engines (such as marketing, CRM, commerce), and enabling processes through a digital architecture. This next-generation digital platform not only connects the whole client ecosystem of business and technology partners, but also the ecosystem of internet platforms, social networks and devices favored by the consumer.
And now, in this new experience era, most brands are now orienting their customer platform transformation journey towards the most human way of communicating with consumers: conversations.
Alexa, hack my business model. With AI.
Amazon may well be the ultimate example of an AI-first organization. From automating simple cognitive tasks to enabling the unthinkable, we would do well to learn from the best.
CTO – Insights & Data Global Practice
Expert in Strategy and Transformation, Artificial Intelligence, Applied Innovation, Big Data
“What would Amazon do?” If you happen to be caught in an innovation workshop, out of inspiration and at a loss for words, here’s the simple line that may break the inertia. We introduced this mantra years ago as part of our TechnoVision trend series and have been using it ever since with remarkable success.
And, it works for Artificial Intelligence as well; a topic every business and IT leader is fascinated by, and not just occasionally, followed by silence and procrastination, but regularly, because it turns out to be difficult to articulate next steps and tangible action.
Clearly, there are plenty of examples of AI applications that have a low complexity and deliver real benefits. Take a look at our recent report Turning AI into Concrete Value, which highlights dozens of these.
Still, having a look at how Amazon deals with the topic is quite instructional in itself. If you want to understand what an “AI-first” enterprise consists of, look no further: Amazon has convincingly infused literally all aspects of its business with AI.
Its recommendation engine becomes more and more spot-on, to the point that it will be able to identify products and services that you really, desperately, want before you know it yourself (psychic pizza, anyone?). Its warehouses are manned by autonomous, AI-driven robots. Its delivery drones completely rely on AI too. Amazon Alexa’s AI-based conversational system is getting better and better at understanding speech, and it does a pretty convincing job at generating it as well.
Read the complete post here: https://www.capgemini.com/2018/01/alexa-hack-my-business-model-with-ai/
A roadmap to boost your customer experience with conversational AI
AI is revolutionizing customer experience at a dizzying pace. Many companies want to embrace new technologies, but they simply don’t know where to begin. Your call center is a good place to start.
Global Growth Initiative Lead – Alliances
Expert in Big Data
When Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Google’s new human-like voice bot in May, was he showing us the future of customer experience, or just uncovering another creepy line that companies should not cross if they want to maintain customer confidence? As it appears based on the latest Capgemini research (Jan 2018, here), a quarter of customers already prefer a voice bot to a website – and that figure is expected to reach 40% in just three years!
So, customer experience is changing at an incredibly rapid pace because of AI. Companies are eager to embrace it, but often don’t know where to start. Here is a tentative roadmap to adopt conversational AI and boost your customer experience.
Start in call centers
Call centers are a great place to start because they have repeatability, scale, analytics, and a clear return on investment in addition to the customer experience benefits, which can at first appear more uncertain. Here is how I recommend going about implementing AI for your call center:
- A chatbot to provide product information and address the most common questions is a good place to start, carefully planning hand-offs to real agents over time based on real-life results and increasing the number of customer intents the bot can handle accordingly.
- Performance analytics. Once this is in place, it’s time for analytics. You now have a wealth of information that can be leveraged for analytics to improve your customer-service effectiveness.
- Know your customer. Analytics should not stop here. You can also automatically capture a lot of information on your customer. However, you need to make sure that you do this in compliance with the new GDPR regulation.
- Next best action. With that information and the help of machine learning, you will continuously increase the effectiveness of your bot and you can start understanding which products can be positioned based your customer profile and each specific circumstance he/she is facing, making your bot an extremely efficient up- or cross-sell engine.
Once you start your call center project, you will quickly be reminded that your customers are on other channels too, and want a consistent brand experience. Where you start among other channels will depend on the specifics of your business, but here are some pointers.
- Messaging apps. Messaging channels are the preferred channel for the younger generation, hence a must for businesses targeting them.
- Personalized online shopping. Help your clients find their way through your large or complex product catalog using a chatbot or natural language search capabilities. Northface has implemented this with IBM Watson to recommend the perfect jacket for your needs – here. Similarly, 1800Flowers provides customized product suggestions using AI.
- In-store assistant. An app or available devices in your store can help answer customer questions on the store, products location, and availability, etc. Macy’s, for instance has been successfully testing the concept.
- Loyalty applications and value-added services. A great way to strengthen a brand is to provide differentiated additional services. AI provides new ways to do this by allowing you to deliver personalized insights to customers by leveraging all kinds of data. Auto manufacturers frequently use this with location-based services and other apps to help drivers. For instance, BMW offers an AI-enabled maintenance guide, providing information on the meaning of each of the car parts without the need to browse through an extensive manual.
- Concierge and in-person assistants. Pepper the robot can help you make your next dinner reservation! This is what Hilton has been testing with a new concierge service delivered by the robot. Similarly, airlines are testing robots to help passengers in airports find their gate and other information.
- Voice bots. Voice bots can extend open hours of call lines and avoid waiting times. They are essentially the next generation of the answering services that are already the norm.
- Customer-experience analytics. And, of course, AI will enable a much better understanding of what drives customer experience. Data that has never been put together will help understand correlations that were not known.
There is no set list of ways in which AI will impact customer experience. The list above is a start based on what we already see emerging with our customers. It is safe to say that many more applications will follow to delight customers and help companies stay relevant. What’s important is to prioritize efforts, and the main recommendation there is to focus on ROI and on offering a consistent customer experience in alignment with the brand identity. Interestingly, these two aspects usually go hand in hand, since a good customer experience is streamlined, meaning less time, and therefore resources, are allocated to it. By following this simple recommendation, you will avoid the gimmicks that are unlikely to evolve beyond the proof of concept stage.
Can consumer goods companies use AI to influence a customer’s purchase?
Janika Parmar, Laura Campbell
Retail and consumer product goods companies are already using AI to build brand reputations and customer relationships. As we stand on the cusp of a new digital era, it will be riveting to see how they continue to empower their brands with this technology.
Senior Management Consultant, Capgemini Consulting
Management Consultant, Capgemini Consulting
AI – aka artificial intelligence. When I think of these two words, I always imagine the robot from iRobot working with Will Smith or Alicia Vikander in Ex-Machina and remember how she kills her designer at the end (oops spoiler!). However, for those of us who are familiar with the term in a business sense, you’re probably aware that an AI solution is not just a robot that might enslave or exterminate the human race – at least, not yet.
Artificial intelligence is an area of computer science that involves the creation of technologies that work like humans, but do not necessarily act like them. These are technologies that learn over time as they exposed to more data and typically fall under three categories:
- Natural language processing (e.g., chatbots/voicebots)
- Technology foundation (e.g., machine learning)
- Biometrics (e.g., image/video analysis, voice recognition)
Companies across all sectors have jumped on the bandwagon in using this technology, but what impact does this have on consumers? We’ve heard about the impact it has on retail consumers – but do retail and consumer product goods (CPG) companies also have the power to use AI to influence consumer purchases?
The answer is – yes. There are four areas where CPG companies are already using AI to build brand reputations and relationships directly with the customer:
- Tailored products
- Personalized services
- Pricing, promotions, and forecasting
- Customer service
Read the complete blog here: https://www.capgemini.com/consulting/2018/02/can-a-cpg-company-use-ai-to-directly-influence-a-consumers-purchase/
AI: How to avoid the ‘valley of death’
Although the benefits of chatbots in the customer relationship are very real, many companies languish in the so-called valley of death because they don’t implement them correctly. Having a focused approach and configuring your chatbot correctly from the start can help.
Managing Consultant, Capgemini Consulting
Expert in Digital Customer Experience
Whether text- or voice-enabled, the chatbot is the manifestation of artificial intelligence (AI) most often used in customer relations today. These automated conversational interfaces attract more and more businesses that want to spruce up their customer experience.
Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Skype are just some of the instant messaging platforms that boast easy access, rich content, and especially, attractiveness (1.2 billion active users on Facebook each month).
However, although numerous companies experimented with chatbots in recent months, many remain disappointed. A lack of customization, “looping” conversations, and limited natural language processing capabilities often result in an underwhelming experience. (Facebook admits to a 70 % failure rate in bots deployed on its messaging platform).
The disappointment is thus double – both for the customer, and for the company that instead of reaping benefits, descends into what we call the AI “valley of death.” This term describes the disillusionment of a company that has dabbled inconclusively with AI. Many businesses struggle to overcome this obstacle because they failed to put any real thought into implementing AI.
That said, the benefits of AI (particularly of chatbots) in the customer relationship are very real. First of all, they improve operational efficiency. A well designed chatbot can autonomously handle up to 40% of customer contacts and decrease average contact processing time by up to 15% across all channels.
Moreover, chatbots help improve customer satisfaction. They can respond to customer queries in a personalized way at any time of day, and offer increasingly relevant services – so much so that 44% of customers recommend them. For example, the chatbot developed by the start-up finn.ai interfaces with your banking data and provides value-added services, including balance information, expense optimization, and invoice payment.) The Babylon chatbot can carry out an initial medical diagnosis in order to redirect patients to a health professional if necessary.
Finally, a chatbot can significantly boost online sales if it is well positioned along the purchase path. Some brands, such as voyagesSNCF.com, have seen a 50% increase in conversion rates thanks to their chatbots. Placing AI at the heart of the customer relationship can be extremely beneficial– so how do we avoid the “valley of death”?
Mastering AI challenges in customer relations
Two conditions are necessary to fully take advantage of artificial intelligence and avoid this trap.
Despite the manifold benefits that AI can bring to the customer relationship, any organization must take a focused approach and identify the best use case to achieve its top priorities. If, for example, the top priority is to improve operational efficiencies and reduce customer relationship costs, a natural language voice chatbot should be adopted on the IVR (interactive voice response).
Given that over 70% of customer relationship flows still rely on the phone channel, a bot can potentially handle a number of simple calls (up to 50%, depending on the sector) and transfer complex conversations to an advisor. On the other hand, if the goal is to improve online sales, a chatbot positioned along the purchase path (customer support at key stages, personalized product suggestions, etc.) can generate up to 10% additional turnover.
Finally, in so far as customer experience is concerned, chatbots must feature omni-directional paths and coherent responses, regardless of the channel used. In addition, how well the bot is initially configured is critical, though we can rely on self-learning systems to improve efficiency.
Regardless of what the objectives and use cases may be, companies must consider the technological base in order to identify their needs in terms of investment. Often, some of the building blocks of an AI customer-relationship ecosystem, such as semantic analysis solutions, voice recognition, or knowledge bases, already exist. In such cases, it may be possible to assemble these components, enriching them if necessary with other tools, and develop a custom AI ecosystem that is fully adapted to the company’s needs.
This approach of aggregating solutions must include a flow orchestration software layer to provide the interface between the various components of the AI, the information system, and the customer relationship channels.