Four Challenges to Overcome For AI-Driven Customer Experience

Comments Off on Four Challenges to Overcome For AI-Driven Customer Experience
Four Challenges to Overcome For AI-Driven Customer Experience LoadingADD TO FAVORITES

The next big thing in terms of customer service capability is expected to be AI-based virtual agents. Whether your goals include creating a fully digital business, improving customer experience, or cutting costs, virtual agents and automation offers many benefits.  But, like any new technology, making the switch isn’t trivial.  In fact, as P.V. Kannan and Josh Bernoff explain in the Fall 2019 MIT Sloan Management Review, successfully launching an “AI-Driven Customer Experience project” requires a company to overcome four hurdles.

Consider the experience of Mark Baylis, vice president of customer service and digital customer engagement at Optus, Australia’s second-largest telecom operator.  He believed in the potential advantages of using virtual agents for customer service, but he needed to convince the company’s leadership team that the investment would make sense.

Baylis planned to have virtual chat agents handle half the incoming queries, which would cut costs by 50 percent.  But the cost savings alone weren’t enough to overcome corporate resistance.  Baylis recognized that this shift was not just about the customer service division but about the company’s larger digital transformation.  By positioning the switch as part of the larger transformation effort, the investment in virtual agents became more persuasive to management.  It also helped that virtual agents could handle more customer requests at peak hours and improve the quality and consistency of Optus’ customer experience.

By focusing on strategy, not just cost savings, Baylis was able to win over Optus’ CEO and other C-level decision-makers at a meeting in 2017.  One person at that meeting described it this way: “The general reaction was excitement. It was in line with trends in the market.” Leaders at the meeting recognized the need to adopt the new technology and master it to prepare for the future.

In many ways, what happened at Optus is typical for companies that are considering AI-enabled technologies for their customer experience strategy.  Proponents must overcome four types of hurdles: economic, technical, political, and cultural.

The economic hurdle involves demonstrating improvements to the bottom...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Business Briefings subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $135/year

  • Get 12 months of Business Briefings that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Business Briefings Research Library
  • Optional Business Briefings monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% pro-rata refund