When John called customer service he was already in a bit of a state. He had tried self service on the web and because that failed, resigned himself to pick up the phone. Since his problem was complex he quickly became frustrated with the customer service agent. Unbeknownst to John, the agent had a secret weapon to turn the call around: an automated service bot, powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, was silently listening to the conversation and feeding the service agent content, suggestions and options for dealing not just with John’s core service issue but also his rising anger.
“There is tremendous opportunity for enterprises to use artificial intelligence now to reinvent how business is done by cultivating and using intelligence,” said Mike Rollings, Gartner research vice president, during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Orlando, Florida.
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Data, and the ability to analyze and apply it using techniques and technologies such as AI, is central to how firms compete and collaborate. Gartner predicts that by 2021, AI augmentation will create $2.9 trillion of business value. Yet most organizations struggle to understand how to deploy AI to get the most value out of their investment.
Based on research from Gartner Research Circle clients, most organizations have not incorporated AI into their strategies with 59% of organizations just beginning their AI journey by gathering information and investigating the technology.
Rollings pointed out, “The value you receive from AI is proportional to how much you rethink your business.”
- Uncover business model innovations
Start your AI journey by dissecting your business model to clearly understand the dynamics of your business ecosystem. Who are your customers? What kind of relationships do you have those customers, partners, suppliers, etc.? Once you understand the dynamics, take that model and make it data driven. What data can we capture and analyze in the customer or supplier area to improve the ecosystem? Explore using AI to fundamentally change how you work.
- Pursue AI innovations for customer experience
When GartnerCircle respondents were asked what type of AI applications they had integrated or planned to integrate, customer engagement was the top focus area. “AI is very good at helping you get situational awareness and pick up on contextual cues,” said Rollings. Use data, and insights from the customer journey to figure out how to improve the customer experience. A chemical company used data and AI-fueled insights to learn that a full 60% to 70% of a prospect’s customer journey was completed before she had any interaction with anybody in the company. Use AI to look not just at first contact but more broadly at the journey before contact.
- Explore ways to transform decision making
Look for “insight development opportunities.” A bank that redesigned its payment platform used predictive and prescriptive analytics about the types of payments likely to come in along with the probability of the payment actually processing (or the payment being diverted into an exception handling cue which incurs additional costs to process), layered with global staffing data and weather patterns to get detailed insight into how payments are processed. The bank’s manager now knows within the first 30 seconds of the day how successful or not their payment processing will be at the end of the day.
For customers like John who finally had his issue resolved because the bot provided the agent with the right answer at the right time so she could calm his nerves, data-driven, AI-powered business intelligence can make all the difference.
“You have to fundamentally rethink how we are going to work,” said Rollings.